The story about our distributed team connecting Skopje and Tbilisi
kype calls and Slack channels are great way to connect the members of a distributed team. But nothing is better than the sound of clinking glasses mixed with laughter. At least when it comes to building trust and team-spirit.
Singular has two main development bases, one in Tbilisi, the other one in Skopje. The product teams are dispersed between these two locations and their daily tasks are most often interdependent. To make this possible we use various communication and project management tools that enable a seamless workflow.
Nevertheless, distributed teams are not without challenges.
Different culture, lack of in-person communication alongside imbalanced accountability are the most common challenges of distributed teams. Distance can also build up the us-versus-them situation which can shatter the team spirit. — says Martin Trajkovski, Project Manager.
What can you do?
Take the time and meet with the people you work with face-to-face. Shake their hands. Have lunch together. Exchange ideas outside your day-to-day work activities. Learn something more than their job skills. Find similar interests, recognize the differences and meet half way.
For that last two and a half months, the Front-End (FE) developers from Tbilisi stayed in Skopje Office.
During the visit, the team revised their work for the passing 2017. Highlighted the good stuff. Pinpointed the bottlenecks. Summarized the lessons learned and reorganized the goals for the upcoming year.
The team also got a polished structure aiming to streamline our processes even further. Namely, we have divided the FE team into two groups. First one focuses on maintenance of the existing solution. The other one focuses on the creation and implementation of the new version. We believe this will provide the ultimate stability of the solution. At the same time, creating space and time to innovate our product. — explains Dejan Dimitrovski, Product Owner.
The two groups will be again dispersed between Skopje and Tbilisi. At least one member will be working from a different location than the rest of the team. Otari Lolua a.k.a Oto will be the Team Lead for the group working on the new version of Sportsbook. He feels very confident that location will not hinder the successful delivery.
I have been working with the new teammates that have recently joined Singular Skopje. These two months have proven quite useful to get to know them and also set the baseline for our workflow. I don’t expect any hurdles location-vise. Slack and Jira have proven quite useful for keeping constant communication and overview of our progress. — Otari Lolua, FE Team Lead.
The stay has proven quite productive on team level. But, I also asked the members how they experienced the visit personally. We talked about the things they loved, and the things they disliked, but adapted to. The list is not long, but few things may surprise you. 😊
The BIGGEST DIFFERENCE between MK and GE office…
Definetely the noise… more precisely the lack of it. Our office in Tbilisi is an open space and there is always more than one conversation happening at the same time. In order to stay focused we have our headphones constantly on. — says Giorgi Parunov, FE Developer.
We are not used to such a quite atmosphere. Here, we have our headphones on to create some noise. — jokes Giga Gelashvili, FE Developer.
The MOST CHALLENGING thing…
Not the the most challenging thing, but the most awful thing was coming to the office as early as 9am. OMG, I don’t think I would ever get used to that. In Tbilisi, we have flexible working hours. We can arrive at the office between 9 and 11am as long as we have 8 hours in total. These flexible working hours are very common in Tbilisi where the rush our is usually at 7 pm, in contrast to 5pm in Skopje. — explains Giorgi.
The day simply starts and ends later in Tbilisi. For example, bars are open after midnight, even restaurants work till 2–3 am. — adds Giga.
The FAVORITE PART of the stay in Skopje Office…
The Birthday Party — Oto, Giga, and Giorgi unanimously.
It was a great chance to chat with people that you don’t work with closely and maybe haven’t had the chance to get to know them. Gives you a better understanding of the company as a whole, not only your product team. — Giorgi Avsajanishvili a.k.a Mox, UI/UX Designer.
Singular celebrates its 3rd birthday
Overall, having the opportunity to bring all people at one place is definitely great for teamwork. Firstly, meeting and getting to know each creates better trust. This also builds respect and helps in overcoming unaware barriers. Sharing the same office is certainly the best way to easily explain the ‘bigger picture’ and organize cleaner workflow with common vision. — concludes Martin.