There may be different formats of remote cooperation – very often, the client and the development team are in different locations. Or, the team itself may be distributed to team members working on the same project from different places.

 

Role distribution

In a remote or near-shore team, it is critical to distribute properly the roles and tasks.

Another crucial organizational issue is deciding how the team is going to communicate.

This means discussing all specifics – how often the team should meet, which services are going to be used, whether the communication should be in the chat format or via voice or video conferences.

There may be cases when some team members work in-house while others work remotely.

Here, the flows should be set up as if the whole team is remote. If it results in over-communication for the in-house members, it is OK.

This way, all critical decisions will be appropriately recorded and available to everyone.

For project-related communication, we use GitHub (for source code management),Jira (for project management), and Slack (for team communication).

These tools can be rather effective for remote work, as they provide asynchronous communication, thus ensuring that every team member is informed of all significant matters.

Team members also use communication channels to connect person-to-person. This way, we discuss various work-related matters, share updates and also socialize.

Our chat space is open to everyone, and no one feels excluded, which primarily concerns remote team’s members.

When part of the team is remote, all members should accept that sometimes a person is not available immediately.

Also, in remote communication, non-verbal signals, such as facial expressions, body language or voice tone, have no effect, and this fact should also be taken into account.

While communicating remotely, everyone should, on the one hand, focus on expressing their opinions clearly and, on the other hand, use polite and proper language.

To be on the same page, we hold daily team meetings.

They only take 10-15 minutes and are always at the same time – 10 AM.

Both in-house and remote team members should be present at these meetings, as this is when we discuss what everybody is doing, what we are planning to do next and whether there are any problems.

We use Slack voice chat to hold our daily meetings, as this is an effective tool for real-time discussions. Getting together for such daily sync-ups increases accountability helps to identify problems early and allows exchanging ideas.

 

Remote members involvement

People working remotely can quickly fall out of the routines associated with teamwork. They can forget what is to work with other people and can start feeling lonely.

Regular video calls help them to feel more involved. Also, we invite our remote colleagues to the office from time to time and encourage working from co-working spaces.

 

Working hours

Even though team members can be in different time zones, we try to schedule our working time so that we have 4-6 hours every day when everyone is available.

This is the time when we hold our meetings and conferences.

For people working from home, it may be difficult to stop working for the day and “go home,” mainly when they work non-traditional hours.

Everyone should maintain a healthy balance between work and private life and take enough breaks.

 

Tools

We use tmate remote pair programming. We chose this tool for its efficiency and little resource consumption.

For voice and video chats, we use Slack or GoToMeeting. These apps are especially convenient for its screen sharing functionality that allows quick real-time demonstrations.

We chose these tools for their efficiency and low resource consumption.

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