Ever since we started working on Webbynode in 2008, all our work has been long-distance. We’re a distributed team across 3 continents. Working remotely has its advantages and disadvantages, but as any self funded startup we’ve had to do our best with what we got.
- Carlos – Miami
- Felipe – Brasil
- Chris – Austria
- Travis – Knoxville
- Paul – Sacramento
- John – SF
- Ben – NY
About 3 months ago we decided to make a change. Felipe would move to Miami so that we could work closer together, and really push hard to get things done more efficiently. This was a dream come true.
Lets get cranking
Fast forward a few months later, we were very motivated to get started. The first few days we were so happy about working together, we talked and decompressed more than anything. We were not able to get much done. A few days went on like this; not really productive at all -when it finally hit me. We weren’t used to it! We’d grown accustomed to having our private spaces where we could ‘zone-in’ and focus on what we had to do.
For this reason, we decided to try to work from our independent home offices once again. Felipe got himself a nice little office setup, and immediately, we could tell we were being a lot more productive by having a full 5-6 hours of uninterrupted time to get through our daily tasks, plus tasks from the projects we’re working on. However, there was something missing. After moving from Brasil all the way to the US, and still work remotely? Seriously? I mean, we live in the same city now, this is what we had always wished for, wth!?
So one day we were discussing that we should have certain sessions, in order to get through certain parts of projects that needed both of us involved. So, we played to our strengths.
Nightly 2-3 hour sessions
I personally like to work at night. There’s even times, I grab a project and I can easily stay until 6-7AM at it. I simply like it. There’s no girlfriend txting or calling, there’s no phone ringing, and hopefully no tickets are coming in. So, with this in mind, we decided to take daily 3 hour sessions, from about 7pm to 10pm max where interruptions would be minimal – and wow. We really felt this boosted our gsd tremendously. But we had to find a way to channel all our focus into these short sessions.
Since we’ve gotten accustomed to working with such tools as Basecamp, where you can setup a to-do list and add single tasks to each list, I decided to make our sessions to try to go through a whole todo-list, now dubbed a ‘mini-project’. A mini project, doesn’t mean the whole project will get done in one night, a mini project is simply a large project divided into very little mini ones, this way we can get a sense of gsd every single night.
For example, one of the projects we’re working on, is streamlining the Webbynode Manager user experience. In general, we want to have even less steps for a web app to be deployed onto Webbynode. Firstly, we decided which components need to be streamlined, but that’s still too general. So we decided to go for the initial signup process. We then divided the initial signup process into different mini-projects, such as work to be done in the front-end, changes to the backend is another one, automation is another mini-project, etc – you get the deal.
This allows us to work on each single mini-project per night or even making it a whole week project. But the feeling of gsd, is there every single night. It simply feels like this is the only way to work.
In the end, Felipe’s move to Miami has been greatly beneficial for us. It has allowed us to work in much more sync than we used to, but it also allows us to have enough uninterrupted time where we can tackle the majority of the daily-work. But even though we are not working 100% together, it has actually made the time that we work together much more valuable, therefore making it exponentially more productive.
How do you do it?
How do you do it? Whether its your startup, your consulting firm. How do you GSD? Leave your comments.