Remote Team Collaboration

Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved. Mattie Stepanek

Having two children, we have tried to instill them the importance of working together. Last spring we had some leaves to rake that had blown in over the winter. My son and I started to get the equipment out. He mentioned how long this would take. So I said to him to enlist the help of his mother and sister.

A few minutes later they all came out and began raking and helping to bag the leaves. In a short time, we had most of complete. My son was quite happy with the help and how the speed of work had increased.


Working on a remote team does not have to be a solitary activity. It can be engaging and collaborative.  Even as I work on my own business with no employees I collaborate with many contract workers and services online.

Working in pairs

One simple way to create collaboration is to pair employees up. This can help people get to know each other and learn new systems and processes. In the work of software development, they will pair two developers for “pair programming”.

Many other tasks can be worked this way. Some educators have students work together as they learn new subjects. Working in pairs brings different backgrounds and knowledge to a problem. Also, it is helpful to switch the pairs up periodically to build new relationships.

Share learning

Working together allows us to learn together. One the key parts I have learned in doing agile development is the retrospective. The value is looking back and seeing what we have done and where it has brought about key lessons.

As the team succeeds, we must come together and share the success and celebrate it. There have been studies that show many of us value recognition in front of our peers more than a raise. So go out and catch someone doing something right. Then celebrate their hard work.

When individuals or teams fail we want to share the learning lessons with everyone. This can amplify the growth of the team and the company. You don’t want other parts of the company to repeat the same mistakes you have made.

Managing the work

There are many alternatives to managing work. With remote teams, you just need to ensure the communication is clear. Usually, this done with some supporting software. Make sure your system supports you. Don’t have the software dictate the system. I learned this from Brandon Carlson of Lean Techniques.

For instance, people buy Jira and set up their workflows the default way Jira has it. Brandon recommends companies establish a workflow outside of the technology and then find a system that supports your workflow.

There are many methodologies to use in controlling your work. Kanban, Lean, and Scrum are quite popular. Feel free to create your own that may use parts of other systems. Experiment until you find something that works. By all means feel free to keep tinkering with it.

Technologies to use is a big question. There are so many options. Trello can give you a nice Kanban board. Asana can help you track tasks. Jira and VersionOne give you so many options they tend to overwhelm people. Find what are the main things you need for managing your workflow and start to narrow it down from there.



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