I will be speaking on working and designing with distributed teams at this year’s IA Summit in Baltimore, MD.
As the author of a book on collaboration – a book that touts the benefits of collocated teams – the reality of distributed teams is not lost on me. In fact one of the main questions I get asked each time I present on Lean UX is how to make it work with remote teams. While the benefits of in-person collaboration and communication are clear, it doesn’t mean they can’t be achieved with remote colleagues.
There’s been no shortage of coverage lately about the different strategies companies employ when it comes to their distributed work force. Certain companies, like Automattic – makers of WordPress, have an entirely remote workforce and swear it’s the only way to work. Other companies, like Yahoo!, have made headlines recently when CEO Marissa Mayer demanded all remote employees come back to the office. LivingSocial has promoted a distributed team environment under the leadership of now-departed SVP of Technology Chad Fowler. The poster children for distributed teams, 37 Signals, swear by this approach to the point that they’ve written a book on the topic. What has been missing from the conversation to date is context – the context of the work these companies are doing and the context of their current environments.
Let’s look a little deeper.