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How to Make a Newcomer’s Guide for Remote Software Developer More Effective

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You must make the position appealing to the best software developer if you hope to employ them. This lucrative career is expected to rise by 25% between 2021 and 2031. Compared to typical projections for other professions, that is significantly faster. Companies are under intense pressure to provide a welcoming workplace for freshly recruited developers.

Making remote employees or contractors feel like a member of the company’s community is much more challenging. A strong employee handbook may make them fit more quickly and effectively. They will receive the necessary training without having to be physically present in the offices because it will cover all pertinent information regarding their employment.

The Value of a Manual in the Onboarding Process for Remote Developers

Information on particular task specifics, such as the company’s main procedures, tools, protocols, and rules for getting things done, is required for both internal and remote software engineers and contractors. More information regarding the onboarding procedure may be found in our last blog post, but now we want to concentrate on the guides and tutorials that will make life simpler for remote engineers.

A number of tutorials and electronic periodicals are offered by several businesses. We advise compiling all of that knowledge into a manual that the engineer may use at any moment in the future. They will find it simpler to explore a single manual than to look for the appropriate movie and wait for the appropriate moment to find the solution to their problem.

The manual has to be routinely updated if you want it to remain useful in the long run.

An employee handbook is crucial for the onboarding procedure for a number of reasons:

It lessens the possibility of inadvertent misunderstanding between the business and the distant contractor.

The duties of the employment are fully explained to the new recruit.

The manual offers documentation guidelines, hardware and software specifications, and other information to expedite the training process.

10 Things a Handbook for Contract or Remote Software Developer Should Contain

Information about the team’s values

The introduction to your manual has to include a kind greeting to the new contractor or developer. Mention how each team member is valued as a vital component of the working process. Daily communication will take place between the team members and the remote software engineers. Despite not directly experiencing the office culture, people will feel like they are a part of something greater if they accept the team’s ideals. Remote engineers will concentrate on producing superior end solutions rather than just finishing tasks.

Team values serve as a motivational catalyst, resulting in more effective remote work.

There is no need to modify this section of the manual expressly for software developers. It is simple to incorporate it into all of the team members’ onboarding materials.

For the team members and managers that remote software engineers are most likely to interact with, you may also provide a brief bio (with a photo).

One excellent example of an effective onboarding manual is GitLab. The document’s initial section, which contains details on the business and its culture, is spread out over several pages.

The obligations and responsibility of the developer

What part of the organization’s values does the distant software developer play? What duties will they be responsible for in the department? Miscommunication is quite likely if daily and long-term expectations are not clearly stated. Although they try their best to do their jobs effectively and on schedule, contractors are unable to read minds. The requirements must be unambiguous.

Several queries that the new recruit has should be answered in this portion of the manual:

What exactly is the job description and what duties are involved?

Do they have to work within set business hours, or are they free to plan their own schedule?

Do they need to be accessible and responsive online at all times, or do they have some flexibility?

How will their effectiveness be evaluated. Are they required to utilise software that monitors productivity and working hours?

Will they have to go to training courses?

They must communicate with the rest of the team, but how and how often?

In essence, this section should establish the standards for the software developer’s performance and conduct.

Requirements for hardware and software

Remote software engineers may operate from a home office using their own hardware. You might anticipate difficulties along the road if their machine is obsolete or they are using an OS that is incompatible.

Newly recruited remote engineers will have to abide by that restriction if the entire team utilises macOS. The manual should also provide instructions on how to code on the OS that your business utilises. Here are some excellent suggestions for fixing macOS issues. That serves as an excellent illustration of how this portion of your manual should be laid up.

Repository instructions for source code

It is expected of a new software developer to integrate into active projects when they join the company. In order to view what the other developers have already accomplished, they require access to the code repository.

The real code repository shouldn’t be included in the manual. Instructions on how to access the code and what degree of access they will have, nevertheless, ought to be included. Include information on the repository hosting service your business uses and how it recognises workflow.

Applied development tools

All significant hardware and software that the team use must be disclosed to remote developer. To familiarise them with the instruments, you might need to provide a real training procedure. However, a list of the necessary software should be included in the manual. Just ask them to install those tools and give them a try before the training session; there’s no need to go into specifics.

Ideally, you may include thorough instructions on how to utilise the tools (separately from the handbook). The learning process might begin in this way even before the first day of employment.

Coding conventions and guidelines

Every development team uses coding techniques in a different way. Coding style is a personal topic, which is why it can be difficult to discuss in a group context. Organizations typically establish style rules for their developers to adhere to in order to prevent disputes about “messy” and “proper” code.

The handbook need to provide instructions on how the team typically creates code. As a result of their own contributions, the new employee will be able to read and comprehend the source code in this stage and comply to the necessary standard.

Documentation requirements

All phases of a project’s life cycle must be documented, and this is the responsibility of software developer. Your company has to establish documentation standards. The documents will describe the functionality of the product and serve as a starting point for talks between stakeholders and developers about important issues.

Your team may choose to document using an agile method or a waterfall strategy. You should include a description of your company’s documentation procedures in the handbook, regardless of what they are.

Information about the deployment procedure

The majority of IT businesses deliver software upgrades, thus the new developers must be aware with such procedures.

Details on how the team oversees the release, installation, testing, deployment, and performance monitoring of its software products should be included in the handbook.

The techniques your engineers employ while creating, testing, and delivering new code have an influence on how responsively the product reacts to shifting client demands and preferences. Do you host apps in the cloud or on your company’s own IT infrastructure? What kinds of quick and frequent deployment procedures have your software engineers developed? Include information about your procedures in the team handbook so that new recruits are aware of them before starting work.

Issue and support management procedure

It is inevitable that there would be problems when working. Who should developers get in touch with? Should they approach the manager instead of the supervisor if they have specific issues at work?

Along with problems at work, remote software engineers may also run into problems with the code of behaviour, the employment agreement, conflicts of interest with other team members, and sexual harassment. Whom should they speak with in the situation?

The manual ought to provide all available routes of contact for various circumstances. Do you do daily video conference sessions with your team? Do you send encouraging emails on a daily or weekly basis to keep up team morale? The manual for Basecamp contains a helpful section that addresses that issue.

Final Reflections

The company’s remote software developer guide can improve the efficiency of its onboarding procedure. It involves new developer, makes the working procedure clear, and addresses probable problems and their fixes. The developer will feel sure that the organisation values its employees if the handbook is excellent. Contractors frequently fail to make such connections, which reduces production and causes communication problems.

Despite the fact that contractors often operate remotely, the handbook should emphasise how to make them feel like a member of the internal team. That’s the first step in bringing on engineers who will be productive and have a sense of the brand’s culture.

Most importantly, it’s simpler for the new team member to absorb as much information as possible from a single manual than through a series of emails.

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