7 Ways To Be A Great Developer, Offsite - InformationWeek

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10/22/2014
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7 Ways To Be A Great Developer, Offsite

Working remotely requires special discipline and unique habits. Learn them to really contribute to the project.

Although working with distributed team members is gaining traction at companies, most people have never worked with a remote programmer. If you're working remotely, don't assume that your client or employer knows best -- in fact, you likely have more experience with how to work this way than they do. Because of this, you will excel if you proactively offer guidance and set best practices in working together. My company specializes in placing remote workers and, in the process, we have come to recognize that freelance developers who achieve the best results typically follow these best practices.

Get your hands on the right tools
As a remote team member, you'll probably be working with a team of other people who are either onsite internally, or spread around the world. Regardless, you'll want to be plugged into their workflow and communications grids as soon as possible. If you don't have a thorough sense of their organization, ask for a list of all the platforms that your fellow programmers use -- for example, Slack, HipChat, Skype, and Google Hangouts. Download them right away and learn to use them well. Or, if you need to rely on internal tracking systems like JIRA, request access if it hasn't already been set up for you. By paying close attention to tools and having them ready to go, you'll increase your value.

Over-communicate
The best remote programmers on my team provide progress updates (daily and sometimes twice a day). That's because, unlike in a traditional office setting, team members can't simply walk over to see what you're working on. By providing regular updates, you explicitly define your value to the organization and build trust with your team members because they know you're reliable, thorough, and a good communicator.

Read the rest of this story on Dr. Dobb's.

Stephane Kasriel is the SVP of Product and Engineering at Elance-oDesk, an online workplace for global talent. He is the author of the recently published Hire Fast & Build Things, an ebook on how to create distributed tech teams. A longtime advocate of distributed teams, ... View Full Bio

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