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Becoming a Great Remote Developer

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Although working with distributed team members is gaining traction at companies, it is not easy to work from remote location. Stephane Kasriel, SVP, Product & Engineering at Elance-oDesk, explained best practices for being a successful remote developer in his blog. He mentions that the key is to have discipline in work.

Working remotely requires special discipline and unique habits. Learn them to really contribute to the project.

Ryan Chartrand, CEO of X-Team says that having trust in all team members is most important while working remotely, in his blog.

Contribute trust every day- remote teams, however, live and die by their trust. Every day you should be focused on asking yourself:

“How can I contribute trust to my team today?”

What all of these secrets share is that their primary purpose is to contribute small packets of trust into your team to instill confidence and keep things moving. If you can discipline yourself to do these things consistently, trust will remain high and the team will be stronger than any physical team could ever hope to be.

Working remotely requires usage of good tools. Stephane says that programmers can use use Slack, HipChat, Skype, and Google Hangouts etc. Programmers can also rely on some internal tracking systems like JIRA.

Ryan says that video chat seems like an obvious ‘must-have’ for any remote team.

As per Ryan one of the best practices for remote developer is to have proper communication. Rather than relying solely on email, inspire each other and grow together. Execute the best code possible together. It is always good to learn simple phrases of the languages that other team members speak. From each of those languages, programmers can build incredible trust with the teammates. And it’s not just about saying “Hello” every day. It’s about:

  • When you step away from your desk, you let your team know.
  • When you realize you’re not going to hit a deadline, you let your team know.
  • When you have some free time, you let your team know you’re there to help.
  • When you learn about some awesome new framework, you let your team know.
  • When you see your team falling behind or bad code getting committed, you let your team know.

Ryan mentions that having the attitude of helping others, is also a secret of becoming a great remote developer.

At X-Team, we have a culture of #sleepcanwait, which means our team doesn’t sleep until they’ve said: “Hey team, how can I help?”

And this is a very common phrase you’ll see in our chat rooms in the middle of a project, because as I mentioned before about communication, you want to have an attitude that makes your team believe they can trust you, that you’ll be there for them, and that everything will get done as a team.

As per Stephane there are some practices which makes a good remote developer:

  • Get to Know the Culture of the Organization
  • Be Complete When Asking or Answering Questions
  • Be Complete When Asking or Answering Questions
  • Be Reliable

Ryan shared his final thoughts as:

The future of development is about remote teams, and it’s going to empower people in every corner of the world.... Remote teams are changing the very definition of a developer, and we have to recognize that and adapt how we work. We have to change how we work if we want to change the world.

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Community comments

  • #sleepcanwait, are you serious

    by Andy Newman,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    This is possibly the worst idea I have ever read. Regardless of the countless studies showing productivity drops when we work crazy long hours, this just seems like a terrible idea. The premise that work is all-consuming, and that we can't stop at the end of the day, or separate our personal life from work. That's crazy.

    If my employer ever told me that every night, I could not stop work until everyone else was satisfied, depriving me of sleep, and time with my family, I would quite right there.

    This shows an utter lack of respect for the employees and their families.

  • Re: #sleepcanwait, are you serious

    by Ryan R,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Yeah I rolled my eyes when I read that. An organization that builds it's culture around #sleepcanwait that sounds pretty awful.

  • Remote Slavery

    by Fernando Hualpa,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    Nice and romantic way of presenting Remote Slavery 2.0. I prefer to work as a garbage collector than developing software for any of these organizations.

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