Working in a remote web development team can be a lot of fun. Besides the fact of working in your pyjamas in your home office, there are some greater benefits for employees and enterprises as well.
On the other hand it can be difficult as well. Here at Usersnap we are a small team of doers distributed over the world. Here are 11 awesome productivity boosts which will keep you and your remote web development team more efficient.
Know your colleagues’ time zone!
This sound like an easy one, but trust me: it isn’t.
If your colleagues, clients and other people you’re working with are spread all over the world, it’s difficult to keep track of the current time in different cities. Time zones can be incredibly confusing.
Every Time Zone is a great tool which solves that. You can check your time and see where this lands in everyone else’s day.
Grab a chat tool like Slack
Recently, I published this piece on how you can be more productive in your web development with Slack.
Slack is a great productivity booster for us when it comes to communicating and collaborating. I guess Slack completely abolish all internal emails and it quickly became our company’s home and place to be. It’s always on and it’s the place where we hang out together all day long.
It works perfect for distributed web development teams, since it allows us to chat asynchronous as well as synchronous. No information is lost and with it’s various channels, projects can be discussed with everyone involved.
Also make sure to check out these awesome Slack integrations for developers!
GitHub – your code collaboration platform
GitHub doesn’t need any further explanation. It’s the software that helps developers build great software. Besides publically shared projects, GitHub enables you to set up private projects, only shared with your developers in charge.
We use GitHub for some side projects – such as bugtrackers.io or checktag.io and it helps us to keep our development cycles as lean as possible.
We basically use GitHub for version control and as our primary git repository. By integrating it with Codeship and divshot, we try to ship high quality code at the fastest pace possible.
There are many more great things you can do with GitHub for your remote web development teams. Check them out here. If you want to know in detail, how we use GitHub, make sure to check out our learnings on launching bugtrackers.io.
All files in one place
Well, Google Drive is really a no-brainer. It’s basically a must-have when working remotely. I guess Dropbox or any other cloud storage service works great too. In our case, it’s Google Drive, which let’s us collaborate on any file.
Stay up-to-date on your team’s to dos with iDoneThis
If you and your co-workers aren’t in the same location, a daily or weekly standup isn’t that easy to handle (think about time zones arrrggg!!). We recently switched to iDoneThis for keeping everybody synced and documenting our achievements.
PS: iDoneThis integrates well with Slack and your task is just a /done away 😉
Usersnap – all your tasks & bugs in one place
I know. It might sound like a self-promotion. But we eat our own dog food. Because it’s great and helps us to stay productive as a remote team of web developers & designers.
Whether we are discussing new product ideas or improvements, filing and fixing bugs in our web app, or collecting customer feedback. Everything will be stored and saved in Usersnap.
With the recently introduced real-time features, the project dashboard has become the place for chats and discussions.
Faster design feedback with InVision
Discussing mockups, design drafts or website prototypes can be easy if everyone is in the same place. Working in different time zones can slow down feedback cycles when not having a clear process and setup for that.
With InVision & Usersnap we have installed a pretty efficient workflow for that. New design drafts are stored and discussed inside InVision. InVision is a great place for designers, as well as developers and project managers, since it enables us to keep track of design drafts and ensures that nothing gets lost.
Web development in the cloud with Cloud9
Cloud9 does an amazing job. Basically, it’s your development environment in the cloud. It allows you and your developers, to code, share and collaborate on the same project. And it even offers you a full Ubuntu development environment with no need for a physical workstation.
Get a coding buddy
As someone working in remote web development teams, you might experience only little face-to-face interaction with other co-working developers. Especially if you and your team are spread all over the world.
This is why I not only recommend to join local meetups, but also get a coding buddy yourself. The principle of pair programming is basically an agile software development technique where two developers work on the same workstation (= code) at the same time.
There’s one so-called drive, who writes the code, whereas the other one is the observer, who reviews the code. There are great services out there, like pairprogramwith.me, which let’s you find a coding buddy.
Screen sharing with Screenhero – a must have
Working in distributed web development teams, there will definitely be situations where screenshots, gifs or any other kind of visual explanations isn’t enough. Then it’s time to jump on a video call with screen sharing options.
Screen sharing is definitely a must-have when it comes to working on the same project. With Screenhero you can easily share your screen with colleagues and friends.
Screenhero works great for remote developers since it offers voice chat as well as multiple mouse cursors, which enables everyone to be in control. And it works great with most text editors and IDEs.https://screenhero.com/
Sqwiggle & Hangouts
Working remotely has a bit of a drawback. Chances are high that you’re often alone and you have little face-to-face interactions with your co-workers.
Sqwiggle might help, since it takes a snapshot with your team member’s webcam at a certain interval. This makes Sqwiggle a powerful tool to unite your team across different time zones.
For real face-to-face interaction, Google Hangouts or regular Skype sessions are great. I’d recommend to set regular dates with your co-workers and get some small talk.
Get (remote) work done.
There are a lot of advantages of remote web development teams. For both, companies and employees. Whether you can enjoy the freedom of working from home or having a greater access to more and better talents.
On the other hand, you have to be quite careful when it comes to organizational culture and collaboration. Especially if you’re growing fast as a company.
I hope our experience, know how and tool kit I’ve presented you help you and your remote web development team to be more productive and get more work done while having a great time.
Are you working as a remote developer? What’s your must-have tool you don’t want to miss?
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