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Lessons from a distributed team

We have been working as a distributed team since 2010. We’ve learnt valuable lessons and been rewarded along the way. The question I most frequently get asked (apart from, ‘but why would you get out of your pyjamas?’) is about communication. Here are a few lessons that we have learnt. 1. Physical presence does not equal better communication A physical office makes communication easy, you would think. However, when sitting together in your own task bubbles communication can sometimes be slow or you can make assumptions. When we’re not in the same office, not even in the same time zone, we have to communicate as well as possible. Far from it being a burden we work better together, and we have more knowledge of what each of us is doing as we have a greater understanding of the processes of each of our roles and tasks. 2. Open communication channels help teams learn more about each others work and increases productivity Our communication changes have ironed out frustrations and increased each of our learning curves. For example, I’m not a developer, but our communication channels have meant that I see step-by-step processes and am able to witness, or later read, discussions on the development process, something that I was tuned out of on a day-to-day basis in the office. This means smarter working for me to the team, as vague feature requests have evolved to a somewhat more solid presentation that then gives the team a firmer basis to work from. 3. Communicating well beats communicating more We use a variety of tools to communicate. Mostly, it is chat...