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I'm in the unenviable position of creating a team that will be distributed for a minimum of 3 months and up to a year. The team includes 4 now, but may increase to up to 7 before we manage to relocate together. We will be working on a single project over time rather than several projects on a contract basis. The work is largely mobile and web development.

We have been using Asana for basic assignments and note taking, but that doesn't cover the actual work collaboration side. Can you recommend resources to facilitate effective collaboration for a consistently remote team?

I'd be happy to update with any further details if my question is too broad. I've checked some of the other threads, and they seem largely about resources directed towards workflow and management for teams that have the opportunity to physically work together, but I could be wrong.

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    Hello Hannah. Welcome to the PM StackExchange community. Are there any difficulties that you're currently experiencing or expect to that we may be able to direct out answer at a little more? I've seen a number of teams handle the situation a number of different ways, but the 'right' answer is largely dependent on the team. – Daniel Mar 8 '15 at 18:17
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Getting started with a distributed software development team

Welcome to PMSE! You said your team will be doing web and mobile development. Even though your question is very broad, I am taking a shot at an answer. If you have follow-on questions, please feel free to post them here as new questions.

  1. Pick a development process - here is the super-short version:

    • Waterfall: Document the full requirements upfront and wait for the development team to deliver the completed product at the end of the cycle in one go.
    • Agile: Incremental delivery every two weeks (typically) with opportunity to tweak the requirements based on progress and feedback. The leading agile process is Scrum. I recommend that you go with Scrum.
  2. Get familiar with the basics of the selected process.

  3. Assign roles: Assign roles as to who is going to do what. If you choose Scrum, you need to designate a Product Owner and a Scrum Master. For a small team, these can be part-time roles.

  4. Choose a tool: For a distributed team, you need a web-based Scrum tool that can keep all team members on the same page.

  5. For a distributed team, communication is key: Communication is most effective (hot) face-to-face. However, for a distributed team you can try and keep the communication channels as warm as possible with text chat, video conferencing and other such means. See some previous threads here for more insight:

Are you more efficient leading your project virtually or in person?

How do I manage/oversee multiple agile teams around the world?

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