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Managing Remote Teams Abroad: You don’t work around technology. Technology works around you

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I recently pitched at the E27 Founders Drinks event representing qiscus and had quite the experience.  My pitch wasn’t anything dynamite, but did have an impact I didn’t see coming.  The unexpected result of this pitch was getting exposure to an audience we rarely see physically (IRL users?).  I was talking to 50+ strangers and 3 VCs explaining how qiscus’ and 1.618’s (Web Design Agency) manage clients with our Development team successfully abroad.  Pay attention to this.  Can you guess what the audience was interested in?  Not qiscus so much, but other startups and companies were asking me about:

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“How do you manage your team/freelancers/IT abroad and maintain accountability when no one is there?”

“Good question….  No, Great Question!”

Most of these companies that were asking ranged from development firms to eCommerce companies who outsource their development talent.

Now our Development for qiscus and 1.618 in Jogjakarta is done in house, but we still face the same challenges.

Communication and Relationship Management is key

I wear multiple hats as most start up employees do.  So I split my time with qiscus and 1.618 (I do biz dev for the agency) on a in demand basis.  So client side, work is more tedious because you need to manage two sets of expectations.  The Development team/Project Managers and the client. This involves a lot of qiscus chatting and Google hangouts, but the key tool to making every project we do a success is the quality of relationships we have in place with our development teams and client.  
Constant communication and providing clear and concrete context for every conversation is a must because English represents only 50% of the team’s first language.  We make extra effort to make sure all our planning and task are thoroughly understood for all parties involve.  This will take some extra effort, but will save you business, migraine headaches and turn clients into evangelists for your company’s reputation.

A few questions to “kick the tires” if you will in regards to managing your remote teams or clients.

Can your team communicate project requirements effectively?

This can be remedy by setting up a standard communication point for the team or client.  For us we use qiscus, google hangouts (mainly for screen sharing) evernote and google apps for (notes and doc collaboration). 

If you are looking for help with time management check out our podcast for tips on the best task managers

We channel 90% of all of our communications via these platforms.  This does two critical things for us.  

1. We can track and manage all of our conversations and refer back to them very quickly with our unified search built into qiscus.

Why do you need a messaging system that compliments remote work?

The advantages of going with a messaging system that is dynamic and in real time moves decision making and taking action faster.  Never again work with freelancer, agency, or client who revolves around the idea that you work around technology.  Technology should work around you, not the ladder.  you work around technology.  Technology should work around you

For example, we all have gone through the experience of waiting for the client, developer, or colleague “XYZ” to return our email and progress to the next step.  This is slow and archaic in this day and age.  Having a messenger system like qiscus encourages high frequency communication that allow for multiple conversation topics to be handle in short, organized, more efficient sessions.  

If you have any questions just drop me a message in the comment or ping me on twitter.  

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qiscus - group messaging tool for teams working remotely.

Distributed workforce have greater leverages in getting a larger talent pool while still keeping operation costs low. However, communication gets more inefficient the further a co-worker is from his colleagues.

qiscus solves this problem by creating a room-based discussion system to allow work discussion flow naturally. This allows your teams productivity to multiply yet remain least disruptive to your work processes.   

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qiscus is designed for teams, platform agnostic and it’s as easy to as chat but as powerful as a project collaboration tool.

Supercharged your teams communication by giving qiscus a try

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