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How to build remote teams?

Avishek Kedia

A man cannot build a house alone. Teams are the basic building blocks of successful organisations.

Even within teamwork, there is always a higher level. We believe that you can get to that higher level by embracing the idea of remote-friendly hybrid teams.

Remote teams are trending in 2018. More and more in-person meetings are being replaced by video calls over the internet. In fact, as virtual reality technology pushes towards mainstream adoption, even video calls will be superseded by virtual meetings in mixed reality environments. This will certainly bring about new and fun ways of interacting with your team.

The growth of SAAS has given a much needed boost to team based collaboration software. Productivity and collaboration tools are hot on product hunt. Have a look at station.io to see what I mean. Product companies now price their products on a per user per month basis. They know that as your business grows, your team size will grow and consequently their revenue.

This per user per month model was inspired by startups coming out of silicon valley who popularised a very ruthless culture (at times toxic) of building for exponential revenue and team growth with a focus on rapid iterative development. Soon, word spread and startups globally started adopting the silicon valley model of growth. Today, this has attitude has led companies towards placing a huge emphasis on good talent, cultural growth and teamwork.

Growth has now become the most important metric of success.

The pinnacle however is lean growth. Lean growth is deceptively hard. Our society does not really understand to build for lean growth. Just look at the global multinational organisations who have salaried workforces in the thousands and huge glass buildings to house these workforces. If you end up becoming up an employee, you get allotted a table, a chair, a cubicle and off you go to the races! Classic dominate and control mindset — a byproduct of the industrial economy.

The industrial economy is out though. Gone! We are now in the digital economy, the information economy. In this new economy, remote-friendly hybrid teams are a terrific way to grow.

Embracing hybrid teams gives you more choice, flexibility and leanness. If you look closely into the nuances of modern tooling and software, you will find that they favour hybrid, remote first teams. Modern day computing powered by internet and free flowing exchange of data has obviously fueled the growth of collaborative environments. Improved software is a big factor driving the rise in remote work. In fact, modern tools that enhance collaboration will only soar in demand. Statistics say that 1.2 billion new consumers are coming online within the next 5 years. Most of this explosion will be coming from third world countries. Users that will be thirsty and hungry to deploy their ideas into the world. These users may not have the necessary infrastructure and capital to setup up expensive offices, hire lots of people and start building a solid business. This is where hybrid teams will shine, with the speed, scalability and flexibility that they afford to new businesses.

What is a hybrid team?

A hybrid team is one that has a combination of onsite and offsite talent that works together to achieve a desired result. To make the shift from a purely in-house team to a hybrid team, one needs to shift from a control and ownership based mindset to a co-operative and crowd sourced mindset. A classic example is Uber. They embraced crowd sourcing and collective intelligence and built a set of tools which allowed people to use cars as a service rather than outright owning them. Personally, I don’t see the need to own a car when I can use cars as a service for all my transportation needs. This kind of thinking brings us a step closer to crowd sourced teams which rely on collective imagination and intelligence. Hybrid teams effectively widen your reach and talent pool by giving you access to talent that is located in different parts of your world. Additionally, they gave you 24/7 round the clock access to your team…

At GitStart, the vision of making hybrid remote friendly teams a global reality inspires us.

It spawns the development of our product geared towards making this idea a reality. We are creating an automated development engine that is available 24/7 to customers and is self managed. Companies who had never even heard about remote friendly, hybrid teams are now raving customers. They love the idea of having an automated development engine handle all their software development needs. As long as the customers have a CTO in their team, and maybe a couple of senior devs, they don’t need to hire a large number of in house developers anymore. GitStart will supply all the development capacity, scale adaptively and boost the team productivity multiple fold. Having an engine which does not take days off (as opposed to onsite human developers) and works 24/7 is a huge value add to tech companies scrambling to stay on top of the latest technologies and ship something quickly.

Remember what I wrote earlier about the rise of Car as a Service. Just imagine! What could you do if Siri or Cortana was not just a basic digital assistant but could actually perform tasks such as writing code, fixing bugs and building apps for you, by leveraging on an engine based on collective intelligence. Such a future is not too far. We are building it. If you had an existing team already building apps, Siri would complement your team and push them even further.

At the end of the day, you don’t really want to hire a huge pool of engineers and own their time and manage them all, at the same time. It gets tedious after a while and you start looking for managers. All you really want is to turn your idea into reality and build a beautiful app to delight your users. Hybrid teams can be leveraged to reduce costs and management overhead and run a tight knit operation.

Our belief is that hybrid, remote friendly teams have a better chance of success than traditional, fully on site teams. But this style of work is not for everyone. Some teams work well in a fully onsite setup and others work well in a hybrid setup. You need to experiment and find the right point of balance. The latest research however is unanimous in proclaiming that remote workers are happier, more productive and lead more balanced lives. Just ask the folks at GitLab and Buffer, two of the leading fully remote software companies in 2018. Hence, we feel that hybrid teams are not only conducive to improving business productivity but also the overall health of the company.

GitStart needs your help to generate this subtle shift towards hybrid teams in the mindset of leaders, business owners and the tech community.

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