Companies dedicated to create web based projects have the advantage, above other markets, of using services or building apps in a remote way.

Remote teams really work. Wikipedia was created with users collaboration and it’s one of the most successful projects on the web; it is also a good example of how technology gives us tools to create something incredible, no matter the distance.

Google embraced the idea of collaboration by launching Android as Open Source and creating The Android Open Source Project (AOSP).

The company guides developers to work in their platform, without overly restricting their creative process while motivating them to overcome challenges.

How to build a remote team

Zapier, a web automation app, on their Guide To Remote Work, shares the experience of how their project was built, since the beginning, with a remote team.

In their own experience, they identified three main points to achieve success working this way:

  1. To build the perfect team, work with people you can trust so you don’t have to worry whether they will do a good job or not, people who don’t need social interactions and people with good writing skills, because you’ll have a written communication primarily.
  2. Choose the perfect tools to maintain a good communication and to follow the process of each team member.
  3. Determine processes is important to measure the team progress. It’s not necessary to create rigid processes, but it is important that each team member is aware of what the others are doing and their advances.

Wade Foster, Zapier founder, said “there is definitely something unique that happens when teammates can work on something in person”, so they decided to bring everyone together at an incredible place, twice a year.

Tools for building an app in a remote team

Once you have built a remote team, and you have the specific task of develop an app, there are several tools, besides Github, to help you accomplish that goal:

  • Beanstalk: A tool that allows you to create a workflow to write, review and deploy code. One advantage of integrating this system is that you can trace the tasks to be done and it provides you the results of your team’s performance.
  • Bitbucket: This is a hosting service that allows you, as they say, “to approve code review efficiently with pull requests”. It also has the option to hold discussions right in the source code with inline comments. The service is free for teams of 5 persons with unlimited private repositories.
  • Cloud9: Offers a development environment, one of its main goals is to unlock the benefits of writing software in the cloud. Cloud9 supports more than 40 programming languages and it’s free for one private workspace.

Communication and productivity tools are also useful to develop projects with a remote team, some of them are:

  • Videoconferences: Try to schedule online sessions once or twice per month to evaluate the progress of your team, it will be very productive. Services like Google Hangouts or Skype, are free and easy to use for this matter.

Remember, one of the main aspects of working in a remote team is trust. Each member must commit with their peers to deliver their work and progress on the project -just as it´s been scheduled- because this will delay the job and advance of everyone.

Have you ever worked in a remote team? Have you ever built an app with this kind of tools? Tell us your experience.