10 Questions We know You Have About Our Remote Development Model

By Hugo Hemmen

What does it take to build a remote software team? Here you find answers to frequently asked questions about our model.

I am often asked what it is like working with our remote software engineers. Whether they can help to scale up, how we offer the quality required and where the whole process begins.

I understand where these questions are coming from. Remote software teams are notorious for being no more than a few extra hands, offering a lack of quality and difficult communication. At Gapstars however, we do things differently. Our model is aimed at smart and sustainable growth, by integrating remote teams into our partner’s organizations as strategic units, rather than just some extra manpower.

In this blog, I answer questions I am asked most frequently about setting up, working with and managing a remote software team with Gapstars. So I can show you what sets Gapstars apart from the archetypical remote software outsourcing company.

1. What does Gapstars do?

At Gapstars, we recruit, build, and support dedicated remote software development teams for ambitious scale-ups looking to accelerate their growth.

You will join us in every step while creating a dedicated team of tech talent that fits you. This way, your team will be a true extension of your company and its DNA. You will personally interview the software engineers to guarantee the desired fit. The teams we build follow the scrum format. We offer agile coaching and additional training to maximize efficiency and performance.

We have developed a campus-like set-up in Sri Lanka, where companies can ‘plugin’ and build their offshore development center within our walls. Our membership model means you employ your developers through us and work with them directly, while they become a member of the Gapstars community. This allows your team to enjoy all the benefits of working within our environment, which is regarded (and awarded) one of Sri Lanka’s best places to work. Gapstars received the Great Place to Work Award two years in a row.

2. How do I get started?

By now, you have probably encountered the difficulty of finding tech talent in the Netherlands. So, the first step is deciding you want a new solution to hire talent that can help you grow in the long run. Once you have committed to this idea, we can set you up with a winning team of developers that will help you reach your business goals.

We start with a recruitment kick-off meeting, where we discuss your company and its scaling plans and gather the requirements based on these plans.

Our Growth Team is specialized in finding people within our 4000+ talent pool that fit your company and its DNA. Next, we pre-screen a list of potential candidates. After that, you can personally interview and assess the best candidates.

The final personal interviews take place in our office in Sri Lanka. You will travel to Sri Lanka with us to experience its culture and its people, which is essential for creating a long and lasting relationship between employer and employee.

3. How long does it take for my team to get to work?

Time to market is one of our priorities. That is why we aim at a 3-month time slot from recruitment kick-off to a fully assembled team. This may vary depending on the number and type of developers you are looking for. In the end, we always prioritize quality over quantity and want to make sure there is a strong fit between you and your new team members. During the recruitment kick-off, we will together determine a detailed timeline.

4. What kind of support do you provide?

Our mission is to provide your team with everything they need to work smoothly and efficiently, so you don’t have any hassle.

  • Your team will work from a dedicated, fully equipped office space. 
  • A dedicated Support Team takes care of all IT or administrative issues, including payroll, travel arrangements and managing leave. You will be kept up-to-date by periodical reporting and you get viewing access to our software tools
  • Our Support Team works in the same office as your team and is available for any queries, updates, and requests from your team
  • We provide your team with the flexibility to build and grow. Our Growth Team is ready when you are to start recruiting new team members, or replacements if necessary. 
  • We organize regular meetups and other events for developers, such as knowledge sharing initiatives every month to keep everyone on par.

But maybe the most important part: culture is at the heart of everything we do. We invest in our people and stand for our values. We organize monthly fun sessions, sports events, fitness programs, wellness days for stress relief (we have a masseuse in the office), family trips, parties and more. We help employees with paperwork for, for instance, their mortgage or lease contract. We support employees far beyond their office duties to grow as a human being and a professional, so together we can help your company grow.

5. Which programming languages/technologies do you offer?

In the past ten years, the Sri Lankan tech industry has expanded by 300% and employs more than 80,000 professionals. Gapstars’ influence in Sri Lanka can be traced back to the founding of Sri Lanka’s PHP Meetup – the largest in the country today. We are still the number 1 place to work for PHP developers in Sri Lanka, but nowadays we have teams working in many languages, such as NodeJS, .NET, Java, C#, C++, JavaScript, and Python.

6. What kind of software development methodology do you recommend?

We firmly believe in the Agile philosophy when it comes to building dedicated scrum teams and SaaS platforms. Within the Agile framework, teams have the freedom to organize themselves and manage their own work. On a daily basis, we enable teams to deliver products with the best time-to-market and the highest possible quality. As a result, our partners gain a competitive business advantage, which in turn enhances their customer’s satisfaction.

We also offer Agile Coaching and training as an additional service. Read more about how Agile is helping clients build engaging teams.

7. How do I effectively communicate with a remote team?

Smooth and frequent communication is essential when working with a remote team. Our in-house Agile Coach helps you and your team with setting up a seamless line of communication. We recommend the following:

  • Hold daily 15-minute scrum meetings to plan the day’s work
  • Set up clear overall goals
  • Get everyone to contribute 
  • Break down tasks 
  • Pre-schedule meetings

Simple practices like these will optimize team collaboration. They also help you keep track of the work completed since the last meeting while forecasting upcoming sprint work.

8. How does the remote team integrate into my team and company?

For a remote team to be a successful strategic extension, it is essential to build a bond of trust between The Netherlands and Sri Lanka. This is why I always stress the importance of personal interaction. We include a team visit to The Netherlands as part of the onboarding process and highly encourage our partners to visit their teams in Sri Lanka, and to bring them over to The Netherlands multiple times per year.

To make this easy, Gapstars will arrange everything for you. Whether you want your developers to visit your HQ or you prefer visiting Sri Lanka, our Support Team will take care of all travel needs including visa arrangements, transportation, and accommodation.

9. What are the best practices in building and managing remote teams?

Going remote is easier than ever before. However, remote benefits such as flexibility and continuous connectivity bring new challenges. Learn all about it from our 3 best practices and read the points below to get started:

  • Define the scope & key milestones – From day one, be clear about your expectations from your developers.
  • Work in an Agile way – This way your team members are aligned to have the same understanding and expectations when developing a product.
  • Never underestimate the importance of culture – Encourage teamwork and engagement. 
  • Invest in facetime – Get to know your developers and meet them in person. It’s a great way to start your cooperation.

Also check out CTO of Temper, Jeroen Jochems sharing his experience on managing remote developers.

10. What are the costs associated with setting up a team?

You will save an average of 40% in costs compared to setting up a team in The Netherlands. This includes all extra costs such as travelling and other factors to be taken into account. However, more importantly, you will save a lot of time. We will have your key positions filled, and up and running within three months so you and your team can focus on delivering on your roadmap, create happy customers and shareholders.

If you have any further questions, just contact me: hugo@gapstars.net. I’ll be happy to provide more info.