Working remotely - First impressions

I have recently joined a team of great developers in a medium-sized project. When I accepted the role I was told that I was sometimes going to work remotely from home and I had never really done that before. What I didn´t spect at first is that I was actually going to kick-off on the project remotely, and I was a little nervious about it.. how was I going to know how they work? How long would it take me to catch up with the guys that had been working there for months? What would I do if I got stucked?

Well, I have now finished my first week on the project, and yes, from Spain and updating my changes to Denmark. The experience has been really good, although it is true that there are some things you need to do face to face, I think the solution comes through finding a balance on the time remoting and time in the office (maybe 80% - 20%???).

SHARING INFORMATION: We have plenty of tools now-a-days to help us on communication. The one we have found the best so far is the well known Skype, we keep a "developers chat" window open with all the developers in the project on it, this makes it really quick to ask/notify your collegues about anythig going on the project, and it also keeps "the human touch" when developers share jokes on it. It is important to see that the final use of the chat is not actually "chatting", but sharing info related to the project, so jokes are good, but just every now and then ;)

CODING: This is the bit that changes the less. You just connect to your remote SVN/CVS repository and then work just as if you where in the office. I have actually had more problems with repositories in a box next to me that hundreds of miles away...

AGILE DEVELOPMENT - STAND UP MEETINGS: What we currently do is just to dial into a meeting room on the main offices building, people onsite just get into the room and people remoting just join the conference call. I have to say that starting on the project remotely straight away made it a bit hard to follow this meetings at first as I don´t know who is talking and I can´t "put faces" to the voices, but I guess this will get better tomorrow when I phisically meet my workmates :) I think that in the future when we all have better Internet connections at home this will be done in a conference call with webcams (maybe it could be done today without problems), and this will help newys catching up quicker.

DEVELOPERS DAY-A-DAY LIFE: you wake up at 8:30, you look out the window and its raining really heavily, you take a warm shower, go to the kitchen and turn on the TV to see the news, they show all the main roads in the city collapsed by millions of cars with people dressed up with suits and stressed out, you can´t help smiling a little bit.... you have your breakfast and.. and thats it! you can start working!! no 45 minutes on the tube, no conmutes, no gloves, scarf, coat, double pair of soxes, etc... lovely. Furthermore, I personally find it much better in terms of concentration when coding as you don´t have all the office noise (all that people talking, printers, etc..), in fact I have noticed that I take less breaks when remoting, and once you´re finished, you are already home :)
Don´t missunderstand, I think face to face is necessary, in fact I consider miself a very social animal, but using the appropiate tools this time can be brought down without being harmfull to the project.

Summarizing, I think the future in terms of app development is mre remoting, less offices. If you think about it, if you have people onsite, the company will need a bigger office, which translates into more expensive rental, there might be some things hat take "a bit" longer when remoting, but in long term your developers are going to be much more productive (and happier!)

What is your experience working remotely?

Hope it helps ;)


  1. ¿Tú te pones de pie en el Stand Up meeting? Jajajajaja.

  2. Lo gracioso es que sí, pero porque tengo la manía de darme paseos mientras hablo por teléfono! jajaja

  3. Está bien lo de trabajar en remoto, aunque si que es necesario ver a la gente de vez en cuando.

    Lo que no me gusta es que si no te pones un despacho o algún sitio en casa para trabajar, llega un momento en el que se mezcla la vida laboral con la personal, y es un poco agobiante.

  4. Sí, en eso tienes razón, al menos yo sí tengo un sitio donde me pongo a trabajar, de momento no he tenido problemas de ese tipo, pero cuando tenga algo más de experiencia podré mirar atrás y analizar con un poco más de criterio.. ya os contaré cómo lo veo entonces :)

  5. Cool article Nacho,

    Hopefully I will be working remotely for Adobe too in the future ;-)


  6. Thanks Alex! :)

    Do you have any plans for the near future? You should send me an email explaining your situation, I might be able to help if you need a hand with anythig ;)

    Take care mate, and thanks for the comment!