Crafting a developer toolkit is essential for managing globally distributed teams.
With the right toolkit, you can effectively manage a remote group from anywhere, and at whatever time is convenient for you. The new way of working knows no geographical boundaries, either within your company or with its partners around the world.
The key to success in this global environment is managing your organization’s communications and workflow.
In the past, people did business with each other locally, where the managers and employees of each team could meet with each other face-to-face easily whenever they needed. Sometimes, they might do business with other non-local companies over telephone and mail. But for the most part, the only firms with an international focus were those involved in import and export.
Things changed as the world got smaller. Inventions like the fax machine, long distance calling, better international transportation, and the internet made it possible for businesses anywhere to work with each other with ease and to tap into a global customer base without jumping on a plane.
Now, remote working is changing the way teams do business and how software is built.
With cloud-based technology platforms, organizations are no longer restricted to one physical office space. Employees and management can literally take their work on the road with them wherever they want to go. This feeds into an overall trend of globalization that we’re still in the midst of.
But global organizations have very different needs. Some large enterprises created their own custom solutions, while others outsourced it. But today, there are turnkey solutions that you can and should implement to keep your remote teams in check.
Here are some tools for your developer toolkit to help you sustain a modern organization:
- Slack + Integrations -- Slack is a communications tool that every business should be using. It’s great on desktop and mobile. Now, your teams can keep the same channels of communication open and centralized wherever they are regardless of what device they have with them. Plus, Slack integrates with almost any tool you need, including everything I’ve listed below.
- Github -- Github is the code repository. It has Slack integrations, so you can see who’s changing the code base when and why. Plus it’s got amazing version control. It’s a must in any organization.
- Trello -- Trello is one of a few collaborative organization tools. There are others, like Asana, that people love. But Trello is my favorite. Within it, you use lists and cards to organize tasks. It’s a great way for your team to visualize what everyone’s working on and what’s up next. Plus, no surprise, it integrates with Slack. That allows you to keep even more of your group’s activity centralized.
- Video Chatting and Screen Sharing with Hangouts and ScreenHero -- Google Hangouts lets you video chat on-demand and ScreenHero lets you share your computer screen with others. Once again, they have great Slack integrations so you can do all this without leaving your communication hub. Suddenly, your overseas development counterparts can engage with you on a personal level you likely couldn’t achieve so easily before.
One other thing you should include in your toolkit is something that encourages transparency and collaboration: daily management standups.
My preferred standup software solution is IDoneThis.
IDoneThis enforces accountability and makes sure tasks are getting done. Through the app, employees receive an evening email reminder every night asking them to report on what they worked during that day (projects, ongoing development, whatever). The next day, management gets email with a list of what everyone on the team accomplished yesterday. It is an excellent team management tool, especially for distributed teams.
Let be clear: there’s nothing quite like sitting down with your colleagues and a white board to solve whatever urgent issues are plaguing you today.
But by using the right tools, you can achieve much of that same collaborative power and turn your remote organization into a powerhouse.
One of the next hugely successful breakout companies is going to built around remote organizations.
That’s because they’ll have identified the right tools, right communication paradigms, and the right processes to leverage talent globally in a way we’ve never truly seen before. The trend will only explode from there.
But for now, take a cue from me and start implementing these solutions today.