It’s Strategies and Tools That Make Remote Team Collaboration Work

June 25, 2010 by  

Although many people feel remote collaboration is all about technology – the truth is virtual team work is a human endeavor – it’s about people working with people. Sure the tech is important as it enables people to work together while apart – but the strategy behind which tools you choose and how you use them is easily just as critical.

As Jason and I often say it’s about “the right tools thoughtfully applied”. Yesterday I came across a great blog post by Isaac Gube (@IAMTHEGUBE) about the tools and strategies he and his brother put into place when they launched their latest venture DesignInstruct.com – a regularly updated web magazine for designers and digital artists where you can find and learn design tips and tricks. The Brothers Gube clearly share the same philosophy as the Brothers Montero:

Design Instruct is our first real venture together. It is the first time my brother and I sought to actually build something of our own (unless of course you count all the make-believe forts we built when we were kids).

There are many challenges associated with working with someone over a long distance. However, we found that there are solutions to those challenges, and so far, we’ve managed to make it work.

via How to Make Remote Team Collaboration Work.

I love the way the post breaks down the 5 main challenges they had and describes the solutions they came up with.  When technology was needed they used free or low cost tools that can be embraced by any small business owner, solo professional, or entrepreneur.

The important thing is they did their own workflow analysis, tooks a step back, and developed a structure and approach that worked for them. The spirit and philosophy they brought to this approach echoes my own:

Working on the Internet over a long distance is definitely different than working together in the same physical location. But being different doesn’t mean that it’s a worse way to work.

Of course, it’s a different way to work, but it’s also a very effective way to work once you acknowledge the challenges and are willing to adapt.

Just think, a few years ago, working from such great distances would have been quite an ordeal, and today it is done with such great ease and effectiveness.

I strongly encourage you to read their blog post and please share some comments below about the tools and strategies you’ve found to help you collaborate and work across the web.

  • Dana Larson

    My entire company is virtual. We collaborate with team members, customers and vendors across the web using our own collaboration solution we designed. But like you said, it's not the tool that makes us great, it's the strategy behind the collaboration and the people themselves. We never bring on team members who we think have a hard time managing their own work and their own time. We always hire new people who know how to use online software and have a deep understanding in its benefits to bring a team together. The people you choose for a virtual workforce is incredibly important, just as the tools you choose are important.

  • You are correct Dana – choosing the right members of a virtual team is critical. Not everyone is cut out for remote collaboration. The tools you use are important and the ability to use them – if someone is not up to speed they can get training and learn. It's important for the team to set common guidelines and make sure everyone feels a part of the team.

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  • Great post. Now a days online tools are essential for remote team members. These tools helps teams to collaborate with their managers, clients and members easily. For online collaboration, I would like to recommend online tools – Basecamp.com, proofhub.com, asana.com, etc.