Remote working diversity and inclusion

From Nordics to China: Effective Practices for Diversity in Teams

7 min read
September 1, 2023

In today’s interconnected world, the landscape of the tech field transcends geographical, cultural, and other boundaries, transforming how teams operate and ushering in a new era of diversity in teams and collaboration.

So, why are diverse teams shaping the future of the tech industry? And how can businesses leverage the power of working with them? For starters, companies that draw talent from different cultures, backgrounds, and experiences can approach challenges from many angles and fuel innovation thanks to many fresh perspectives. Besides, intercultural remote teams are highly effective in anticipating and addressing the varied expectations of global customers and finding solutions that resonate across cultures. 

Managing diverse remote teams, however, can be challenging. The intricate dynamics of varied backgrounds, viewpoints, cultural nuances, and online-only communication can present collaboration challenges. In this article, we delve into our experience working with diverse remote teams and the strategies we found compelling for maintaining quality, high performance, and client satisfaction.

Building a Custom Factory Management Software for a ClimateTech Client

magine a Nordic company embracing diversity in teams with manufacturing facilities in China, Chinese production workers, on-site European supervisors — and a dedicated team of Ukrainian developers from Beetroot working on an automation solution for them all. This case seemed perfect for sharing our experience building a product for diverse remote teams.

Working in the Climate Tech field, our Hydrogen pro manufactures electrolyzers (equipment for hydrogen production) and runs factories in China with over 150 people working there. As the facilities grew, the company decided to develop a software manufacturing management system enabling the on-site team to automate production processes and make them more efficient and transparent. That’s where Beetroot came in. 

Vitalii Huliai, Beetroot’s tech lead and senior Python developer, explains: 

When we got to work on this project, the manufacturing process was already in motion. However, the team there was sort of blindfolded since they didn’t have a system to track the equipment elements, validate production processes, document and analyze data properly, and do other operations. At the same time, they had to deal with customer inquiries, provide production estimates, and make strategic decisions.

Before Beetroot started working on the system, the on-site employees used Microsoft Forms to input, submit, and analyze the information. However, this method led to many errors due to a lack of validation and analytics mechanisms. After working and testing a few prototypes, Vitalii developed a Django-based solution, which proved effective. 

Now, the system covers the whole manufacturing history, meaning each process, backed by photo reports, is recorded and stored in a centralized database. It helped us increase traceability, allowing the manufacturer to locate and solve production problems quickly.

Remote working diversity and inclusion

Lessons on Diversity in Teams: Insights from Beetroot’s Experience

The development process posed several challenges, which we viewed as learning opportunities applicable to future projects. Here are the most challenging tasks our development team had to tackle and the lessons we learned from them. Understanding and emphasizing diversity in teams is instrumental in overcoming such challenges and driving innovative solutions.

Dealing with the Specifics of the Chinese Digital Market

Since we were developing the software system for China-based users, our team had to ensure our procedure would be accessible and compliant within the regional limitations. Sometimes, this meant we couldn’t use the development tools we typically turn to and had to get creative and find a universal solution that would work in the region. 

Luckily, our expertise allowed us to quickly find alternatives to the development services unavailable in the country and deliver results that satisfied the client.

The Importance of Easy UI/UX Design

The common component of working with diverse teams is considering diverse backgrounds, meaning one has to acknowledge different gender, cultural, socioeconomic, educational, and experiential perspectives that team members bring to the table. In the case of this particular project, Beetroot developers had to ensure a universally intuitive interface by recognizing and capitalizing on the unique perspectives and skills of Chinese employees and European supervisors.

Vitalii explains: 

Every software has to be intuitive and easy to use, but it was imperative in this case. Here, when the system gets complicated, people simply start avoiding it. They track the information in previously used forms, which disrupts centralized data collection.

Ievgenii Svyryd, Beetroot’s full-stack developer who works on this project, adds: 

Our solution is easy to use for an average production worker. It offers a simple PDA (personal digital assistant) functionality so that no matter the tech proficiency, everyone using it can do the job thanks to a step-by-step plan and clear guidelines.

Localization of the Software

Since the program we developed was meant to serve Chinese workers and the on-site European managers, our team had to build a system supporting English and Chinese.

Additionally, we found it crucial to apply cultural awareness and sensitivity, which involves understanding, respecting, and adapting to the beliefs, customs, and practices when facing teamwork diversity. With this particular software system, a vivid cultural awareness example was taking into consideration specific cultural differences, like the fact that in China, red color is not used for warnings but marks something positive.

Tackling Unique Industry-Specific Tasks

Electrolyzers that our client’s company produces are incredibly complex devices with approximately 700 elements. Moreover, they are built to use electrical energy and facilitate a chemical reaction that produces hydrogen and oxygen from water. Consequently, the process bears some explosion risks, and the manufacturing facilities have extremely high safety and quality control requirements, keeping all functions under 24/7 monitoring. Our software solution helps with this as well.

We had to ensure the system would always be up and running to meet our client’s expectations. For this, we involved several developers who would be able to cross-support one another in case someone on the team couldn’t do the job.

We also knew that the company and its team would gradually expand, so we developed a management system that would be easy to scale for ClimateTech business growth.

Navigating Around Diverse Expectations and Approaches

Beetroot is no stranger to remote work and diversity within teams. Over the years, our consultants from Sweden, Ukraine, Bulgaria, Moldova, and other countries got to work with clients from all over the world, building impactful products together. Based on this experience, we were highly sensitive to considering the expectations and requirements of multiple stakeholders involved in the abovementioned project.

Throughout the development process, our team had to:

  • Meet the expectations of our Nordic client working in ClimateTech regarding traceability of the production process and impeccable safety and quality control
  • Build a tool tailored for international teams with different backgrounds, including language, education, tech proficiency level, thought processes, etc.
  • Facilitate seamless collaboration between the stakeholders, including on-site European supervisors and Chinese teams

Given Beetroot’s background, our Eastern European developers were able to navigate these diverse expectations. Close communication with the stakeholders and an in-depth understanding of their requirements allowed us to ensure smooth cooperation and achieve the results our clients and end-users expected.

Remote working diversity and inclusion

Diversity in Teams: Actionable Strategies for Shared Success

Achieving excellence in diverse remote software teams requires a combination of strategies that promote seamless collaboration, foster growth, and align with a shared mission. Here, we delve into five actionable approaches that empower teams to flourish across continents and cultures while driving positive change with technology.

Setting Up Seamless Communication Methods

Clear and efficient communication forms the foundation of successful remote teamwork. Leveraging various communication tools, from video conferencing to instant messaging platforms, ensures team members can easily connect and share ideas regardless of location. Regular check-ins, stand-up meetings, and virtual collaboration spaces create an environment that encourages open dialogue, idea exchange, and problem-solving.

Navigating Time Zone Differences Effectively

Time zone disparities can pose certain challenges but can also become an advantage when viewed differently. For example, overlapping work hours for colleagues in different time zones and asynchronous communication through documentation and task-tracking enable effective collaboration.

Moreover, companies with remote teams can test the “follow-the-sun” approach, which involves strategically organizing work tasks and responsibilities to take advantage of the different time zones. For instance, tasks can be handed off from one team in a specific time zone to another in a different time zone as their workday begins, ensuring continuous progress. Such an approach can lead to 24/7 productivity and reduced project timelines.

Onboarding Practices that Unify and Integrate Team Members

A comprehensive and mindful onboarding process helps ensure that everybody on the team is aligned with project goals. This process can become a solid foundation for smooth project execution, enabling cross-support among team members, no matter whether they work in the office or remotely.

To implement this strategy, companies can initiate interactive orientation sessions, team-building activities, mentorship programs pairing new hires with experienced team members, and cross-functional training to foster a deeper understanding of various roles. For Beetroot, this strategy was especially beneficial when working on the project discussed in this article.

Promoting a Growth Mindset: The Role of Diversity in Teams

Fostering a development-oriented mindset helps build a workplace where team members are encouraged to develop their skills, share their knowledge, and thus collaborate effectively. Adequate leadership also plays a pivotal role, emphasizing the importance of continuous learning and improvement. 

Empowering team members to take ownership of their growth journey, supporting their skills development, and involving them in the decision-making process cultivates a sense of responsibility and unity that transcends all kinds of boundaries.

Discover the Power of Diversity in Remote Teams for Climate Tech Innovation

This strategy has become Beetroot’s mission since our company focuses on working with impactful industries like GreenTech and ClimateTech. Experience in these fields has shown us that the goal to make a meaningful change can be a solid binding element that unites diverse teams with different backgrounds but shared vision and values. As a result, they feel empowered to find common ground and collaborate to build impactful tech products.

Just as Beetroot partners with clients dedicated to creating technology that makes a difference, we encourage you to collaborate with companies that commit to positively impacting your focus industry. Besides, being on the same page regarding strategic goals makes working with diverse teams much more effective and seamless.

Every project is unique and might require a blend of different approaches to make the partnership successful. Yet our experience working with diverse teams in impactful fields allows us to vouch for these actionable strategies that help bridge gaps, unlock potential, and build thriving tech products.

Another thing we noticed is that the cultural backgrounds and living environments often influence the stakeholders’ expectations. For instance, some prioritize quick decision-making, while others focus on long-term goals and take time to make decisions. And that’s where having diverse teams also comes in handy since they can be more efficient at adapting to different stakeholders’ cultural differences and thus achieve a deeper level of stakeholder satisfaction.

Taking all this into account, a business’s ability to recognize the advantages of diversity within teams and celebrate each employee’s unique strengths does help it succeed in the long run.

If our approach to climate software development or managing diversity in teams and multicultural collaborations strikes a chord with you, don’t hesitate to connect with our team for software development services.

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