Building a Distributed Agile Development Team for a Startup: Pros and Cons

Andrew Zola
Andrew Zola on Linkedin

Building a distributed Agile development team is a great way to get some of the talent you need onboard to get the job done. Some entrepreneurs even claim that it’s the best way to build a successful startup.

This approach also suits startups in particular because they receive investments from various SEEDs who push them to build an MVP rapidly.

There are many more pros which I will dive into below, but there are also some cons.


What are the pros of a building a distributed Agile development team?


Access Top Talent

As there is a huge shortage when it comes to top senior engineering talent, a remote Agile development team can be the perfect solution. This is because you can cast your net worldwide without being limited to your own borders and immigration regulations.

There are great pools of talent all over the world waiting to work on the next great idea. As a result, it provides a great opportunity for startups (to hire them before the next entrepreneur comes along with a good idea).

A remote team can also help you achieve your startup goals much faster as you won’t have to spend too much time looking for talent within your city or country. These days even developing countries have great internet access (for the most part), so you might be surprised at the amount of talent that’s available.


Enhanced Productivity

When you hire developers from geographically diverse locations, it will feel like work on your project never stops. When this process is managed right (by taking advantage of platforms like TeamWork and Slack), it really can work seamlessly as everyone will be on the same page focused on the same goal.

Furthermore, when a development team is working from an environment that they are pleased with, you will benefit from happier team members working with significantly improved productivity.


Highly Cost-Effective

While the cost of labor can be cheaper based on geographic location, it can also be cheaper for everyone involved as they don’t have to make that (sometimes stressful) regular commute to work.

Further, as you’re not moving people to your location, you won’t incur any additional costs associated with relocating a new hire. If your new hire is relocating from another country, you will also have to pay whatever legal fees and travel costs related to switching countries (for the whole family).

Then you get things like lower overheads as you don’t have a bunch of people in-house burning up a lot of energy.


What are the cons of a building a remote Agile development team?


Team management

The time it takes to get to know your employee in a remote setting can be significantly longer than it would take in-house. As a result, it can become difficult at times to manage various personalities remotely.

Further, you also have to factor in different time zones and how it will impact your management style. If you’re not up to do some work outside of your regular nine to five, then it can quickly become a problem.



Communication can also become an issue as English might not be your team’s first language. As a result, there can be a lot of room for confusion and misunderstandings.

However, this can be overcome with a little effort and patience. By avoiding your own cultural lingo and learning about the cultures where your developers hail from, you can find ways to better connect with each other and get over the communications barrier.

There are other minor pros and cons to building a distributed an Agile development team, but these will be key when considering the remote option for your startup.