Working with remote teams can be a huge help, and is often a necessity for independent developers, but many teams don't know how to provide the resources and organization required for their remote team members to be effective. By setting reasonable expectations and providing clear lines of communication, however, companies and team leads can achieve great results with a distributed team. (---More below)
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Many people have reached out to us about how to organize their remote teams, but as we don't consider ourselves experts on the subject, we brought in Kayd Hendricks, the Senior Designer on ARK: Survival Evolved, to talk about how his team has found success while working remotely. It can be hard to find people with the skills you need, at the time you need them, and within your budget range that are either local already or able to move to your studio location. Bringing in remove developers often solves this problem, and tools like Slack, Skype, or Discord make it easier than ever to communicate and share files despite not being in the same physical location. But remote workers need to know what's expected of them and have a clear chain of reporting. That's standard practice for any employee, but many managers overlook it when building remote teams, assuming that their remote workers will be completely independent. Not so: remote workers need to know who they can depend on for oversight as well as who's dependent on them for completed assets, so they can integrate their work in with the rest of the team. It also helps to include them in regular meetings to talk through upcoming deadlines, get an overview of all the work that's been done, playtest the game in progress, as well as chat casually with their team members to keep morale up and help solidify them as a member of the team. From the company's side, it helps to pitch in to cover necessary expenses, such as PC upgrades or internet bills, that allow remote team members to keep working efficiently and show that their work is valued. With these factors in place, a remote development team can be just as successful as one concentrated in a single local office!
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