Remote Native

Up to this point, almost all interpretations of the agile Manifesto endorse collocation as the only prescribed method of Team organization. Notice I said interpretations. That’s because we don’t dispute the exact wording of the six principal the agile Manifesto which is:

“The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.”

What we do dispute is it it’s necessary to be co-located to engage in maximally effective face-to-face conversation. Things have changed a lot since 2007. And far from being a disadvantage or even in neutral point the advantages a remote organization has come to so far outweigh the insistence on co-location that we feel it’s a crime to not leverage them.

Talent Pool

By what order of magnitude would you imagine the difference to be between the highest qualified and experienced experts within a 30 min drive of a particular location compared to a 45 hour? People frequently speak about the difference in talent pool when they talk about being remote but the actual difference in size between the two is truly recognized. Especially when one considers the highly specialized nature of the work of software development. To limit an organization’s talent pool to a very limited geographical region when you really think about the consequences of it seems highly irresponsible and old fashioned. 

Commute and Work-Life Ballance

Statistics show that human beings are spending years of their life and unnecessary commutes. These commutes are costly from my fuel and automobile maintenance standpoint. They’re costly from an insurance and increasing the chance of accidents standpoint. They’re costly from an environmental and storage (parking) standpoint. A dramatic way in which employees can be compensated is in removing this overhead altogether. 

Speed and Flexibility

Faster delivery. By organizing into time-shifted teams, an organization has the ability to dramatically increase its productivity and rate of delivery. It does this by employing a continuous flow of delivery. There are several advantages to this. One of them is it any blockers can employ the help of the team picking up the next sunrise shift. Some have described this is like having a friend in the future because you end your day with a thorny problem and wake up with a solution in the morning and all the teams get to experience the same advantage. Another advantage is being able to provide around-the-clock support to your customers and rapid responses to critical issues.

Teams as Timeshifted Cells

One of the largest criticisms targeted at distributed teams is it there frequently in different time zones and this results in high lag time and throw it over the wall mentality. While we recognize the challenges associated with this and the cost we feel it’s false dichotomy 2 then say that collocation is the only way to work. We strongly feel did all the advantages of a distributed team can be achieved while avoiding the disadvantages can be avoided by simply adopting a cellular approach to team organization. What we mean by this is rather than saying any person on any team can be for many time zone we encourage and promote whole teams composed of by persons within a general time zone but no constraints on time zones between teams. This preserves the advantages of being 100% remote and at the same time provides at high-availability bandwidth of similar working hours within a single team (or cell). This means that various teams can be staggered throughout the world in such a way that the delivery of features and different parts of an application is totally continuous. 

Relating to all that has been said above, once again, GitLab has shown itself to be a thought leader in a pioneer in this area as well. We would highly encourage you to explore its remote Manifesto.