At AwesomeAPI, we don’t just operate on the cutting edge of software technology, we are also employing modern concepts in how our business is structured and how our team members work together. One of the ways we do that is by working with a distributed team. A distributed team is a strange concept to some, a new concept to others, and to a few (like us) it’s the only way to build a team in tech. Learn how AwesomeAPI works with a distributed team.
What is a Distributed Team?
Before we can talk about how we operate and build with a distributed team, let’s step back for a moment and look at what a distributed team actually is. In simple terms, a distributed team is a team composed of people who don’t work in the same location. There are a lot of potential models that could all be considered a distributed team. Each team member could be working from home, in coffee shops, or even in co-working spaces or remote offices.
This allows for a better work-life balance, and it also means that your talent pool isn’t limited to where people live or where they are willing to move. In short, you get better talent and a happier team. For AwesomeAPI, it wasn’t even a question. We knew from day 1 that we would have a distributed team.
What Does the AwesomeAPI Team Look Like?
We so strongly believe in the idea of a distributed team, that many of our team members have never met each other in person. In fact, instead of just hiring across state lines, we hire across country lines and oceans too!
Currently, some of our team works out of an office in Oshkosh, Wisconsin—where they often work from home or even from the downstairs coffee shop—but we also have leadership in Utah, Dallas, and others working across the country in summer and vacation homes.
We didn’t stop there though. Many of our developers actually work out of Eastern European countries like Uzbekistan, Georgia, and more. We pride ourselves on not just being a distributed team, but also a global team. It’s that blending of knowledge and culture that truly makes us Awesome.
How Do We Make a Distributed Team Work?
How does any team work together? Communication, understanding, culture, and—at least these days—technology. We think each of these is worth talking about as they relate to our distributed team.
- Communication—What team can survive without communication? In an office setting, a lot of communication happens in meetings, and those meetings can still happen remotely. However, in an office, there’s also a large amount of communication that happens incidentally. Giving everyone space to talk in meetings and ensuring that you provide avenues for that incidental conversation to still happen will keep that communication alive.
- Understanding—We all have stories of the big storm or the unexpected power outage that shut down the whole office. You may think a distributed team solves this, but it doesn’t. When you’re working with people from across the nation or across the globe, everyone is going to face their own issues at different times. The upside is that instead of one big incident that disrupts your whole business for a day or more, you’ll instead have more isolated incidents that affect just a few team members or even just one. Remember to be understanding when these types of things happen.
- Culture—Corporate culture is a big deal in any positive working environment. This still has to be fostered when you are working with a distributed team. In fact, it’s even more important. Find ways to let that culture shine through and don’t forget about the individual culture of your team members too, especially if you go global. For example, make sure that the holidays for your international team members are just as important to your internal corporate identity as your own holidays.
- Technology—Let’s be honest, the idea of a distributed team wouldn’t work without technology. Utilizing chat, video, collaboration software, and more are all essential to operating a distributed team. This may look like a barrier to other companies looking to try the distributed team idea for themselves, but it’s really not. Chances are, you already have most if not all of these things covered by tech that you already use in your day-to-day.
The key to our success with our distributed team is that we love the people we work with, not just for the work they produce but for who they are, and no matter how many borders or miles separate us, that isn’t going to change. They are what makes us Awesome.
Read More: AwesomeAPI Building in Public