How To Work With Remote Java Developers

JAVA | 19 Feb 2020

Java remains among the top-3 most popular programming languages in the development community and is widely used in a great number of applications. On top of that, Java is often used in trending technologies including reactive programming and machine learning, so it’s no wonder there is a high demand for Java developers.

Fortunately, thanks to the advancement of technology, clients now have an option to hire reliable and experienced Java developers worldwide, without necessarily assembling an in-house development team. Working with remote Java developers has numerous benefits but also hides several pitfalls that may cause issues in the future. In order to minimize the risks and ensure a high quality end-product, it is recommended to follow these best practices when working with a remote Java team.

Do Background Work and Choose the Most Suitable Java Developers

When working with remote developers, you won’t be able to approach them at any time you need or receive the answer to a question immediately. This means the workflow management will be more complex compared to the management of an in-house team. In addition, collaboration with a remote development team always implies a risk of poor code quality.

Therefore, before hiring remote Java developers, some background work is required. Here is what you can do to ensure the team’s expertise:

  • Request a portfolio and contact past clients
  • Arrange a meeting or a call with the team
  • Give the team a test task
  • Conduct a technical interview
  • See the reviews and testimonials

One more important thing to consider is the availability of Java certificates among the team members. To ensure a consistently high quality of work, Java recommends developers pass the following certifications:

  • Certified Master Java SE Developer
  • Certified Professional Java EE Business Component Developer
  • Certified Professional Java ME Mobile Application Developer
  • Certified Professional Java EE Web Component Developer

These certifications serve as indicators of the developer’s knowledge and skill, ensuring that the developer’s work corresponds to the standards set by Java. Therefore, certified developers are guaranteed experts that can be trusted.

Organize a Seamless Communication Process

Communication is the biggest issue that clients face when working with remote teams. Thus, it is an absolute must to organize a clear and transparent communication process.

First, negotiate on the frequency of meetings and/or calls. Regular reporting helps clients always stay informed about the project status and it also helps developers stay focused on the goals while remaining on track with the project. On top of that, regular and frequent reporting allows both parties to discuss important issues, resolve and prevent conflicts and discuss the next steps.

Second, choose the means of communication. Some people prefer Slack while others prefer using Skype or emails. Discuss it with your Java team and choose a communication method that suits everyone.

Both parties should understand the importance of professional and regular communication and behave correspondingly. If there are any misunderstandings, a client or a team manager should invest time into explaining the importance of internal communication to team members.

Make Full Use of Managerial and Tracking Tools

There are many available collaboration tools on the Internet that significantly facilitate and optimize the work process for both the client and the remote Java team. The tools can be divided into the following categories:

  • Task management: Trello, Jira, Asana, TeamGantt, Confluence,
  • Collaboration on documents: Google Drive, TipHive, Dropbox,
  • Communication management: Slack, Skype, Google Hangouts.

These tools help to keep all processes in one place, keep team members up to date and store the information in a format that is available and convenient for everyone.

Perform Regular Tests to Check Code Quality

Even though some Java developers hesitate to conduct regular testing, others state that regular unit tests help to identify the potential vulnerabilities and problem areas in the code and help prevent them.

Unit testing means testing single units (modules) and evaluating their performance. Such pinpoint testing is great as it provides a deeper insight into the software product and certain issues that otherwise may be missed. JUnit is the most popular tool for unit testing in the Java community. Other tools used include Robot Framework, Mockito, and PowerMock. 

In addition to unit testing, it is also necessary to perform other types of testing such as system testing, acceptance testing, integration testing. Such a comprehensive approach allows developers to detect possible bugs or product vulnerabilities and eliminate them.

Build a Solid Management Strategy for Your Java Developers

Another common challenge when working with remote development teams is the managerial approach. The strategy and managerial method will heavily depend on the type of development team.

If you work with remote freelance developers, you will be responsible for organizing the work process, coming up with the communication and reporting strategy, setting, and alignment of the business goals and monitoring of the compliance with deadlines. On the other hand, freelancers are usually very flexible in terms of work so you will be able to implement the needed changes at any time.

There is also an option to hire an outsourced development agency. In this case, you will not have to worry about management as such agencies have well-established processes that all employees strictly follow. Such an organized approach frees the clients from mundane managerial processes and allows them to focus on other tasks that demand attention.

Working with remote Java developers has its pros and cons that every client needs to consider. The benefits include access to a wide talent pool and flexibility of work but the cons imply possible communication issues and strong demand for well-organized management. On the other hand, if you find a reliable and experienced development team, you will be rewarded with a high-quality product that will bring tangible benefits to your business.

Editor's Note: This is a guest post by Alex Zubel at Digital Knights partner SoftTeco. SoftTeco has successfully completed over 200 custom software development projects using a highly professional team of software engineers to clients from the USA, Europe, UK and Canada. They use the latest and most efficient technologies to adhere to high industry standards and ensure seamless quality and performance.

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