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BLOG: Cornerstones to creating a successful distributed development team

Jason Smale | March 12, 2013
Four core principals to follow to help make it a success.

To keep things running smoothly, it is good practice to have everyone check in daily. A quick meeting, no matter where the team lives, makes for clear communication. It also helps you, the manager, to run a tight ship. The baton gets passed smoothly throughout the team and around the clock. It also means there is accountability. If the baton gets dropped then there is no excuse for it and everyone in the team should support that ethos.

4. Break bread and drink beer

Of course, sitting at the centre and trying to orchestrate a multi-faceted, multi-cultural team is fine in theory. But in practice, global cultures are built on local turf. So if you want to build the kind of bonds that will see your team motivated and desperate to deliver the best they can for the business then you need to get your passport out and travel. Go as far as you need to and take the whole team with you - sales, marketing and customer service. Take them far and wide and build some solid business relationships face-to-face.

Don't forget to build personal relationships too. Take your development team out socially and gain a deeper understanding about their culture, background, personalities, motivations - in and out of work. Because the strongest bonds and most spectacular business results are often best built and sealed enjoying a beer and a laugh with friends who also happen to be colleagues.

Jason Smale is APAC Engineering Director at cloud based customer service software provider Zendesk.



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