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Terkel guest blog: 14 tips for successful collaboration among global remote teams

To help you foster successful collaboration among global remote tech teams, we gathered insights from 14 industry leaders, including CEOs, founders, and project managers. From implementing a project management system to utilizing project management software, these experts share their top tips for ensuring seamless teamwork across borders and time zones.

  • Implement a Project Management System
  • Develop Async Communication Strategy
  • Centralize Documents for Collaboration
  • Prioritize Effective Communication
  • Respect Cultural Differences
  • Treat Team Members as Humans
  • Focus on Areas of Disagreement
  • Establish Open Communication Channels
  • Schedule Frequent Check-Ins
  • Set Broad and Specific Goals
  • Find Shared Values and Culture
  • Set Clear Communication Expectations
  • Build Rapport and Cultural Understanding
  • Utilize Project Management Software


Implement a Project Management System

Working globally across remote tech teams can present unique communication challenges. My best tip to ensure successful collaboration is the implementation of a company-wide project management system.

This provides an accessible platform on which team members and stakeholders can organize tasks, prioritize objectives, and track progress despite any time-zone differences or geographic obstacles. 

One element ‌of this system is the ability for team members to be indexed into distinct user groups, allowing them to customize their own perspectives and notifications related to relevant projects without needing to manually filter through various emails and updates. 

By utilizing this technology, organizations can provide a more cohesive and efficient workflow between remote teams in different countries while eliminating the guesswork that often arises from miscommunication or delayed notifications.

Michael Alexis, CEO, Virtual Team Building


Develop Async Communication Strategy

Developing a thoughtful and realistic async comms strategy is key to successful collaboration within any global remote tech team. Typically, team members are involved in multiple projects, and real-time responses given different time zones are simply impossible. 

Providing a transparent communication plan with multiple channels and media types removes frustration that can hinder collaboration. Essentially, managing expectations and setting async communication parameters takes the pressure off collaboration across multiple time zones.

Geoffrey Bourne, Co-founder, Ayrshare


Centralize Documents for Collaboration

Keeping all documents centralized is crucial for global tech teams to avoid redundancies and ensure everyone has access to the latest information and resources. 

To centralize documents, establish a repository where all team members can access documents, such as a shared folder on a server or a dedicated document management system. Make sure that everyone knows where to find the documents they need and how to access them. 

Also, use consistent naming conventions for documents to make them easy to find and identify. For example, you could use a naming convention like “project name_document type_date” (e.g., “Acme_Project Plan_2023-05-09”). 

Finally, take advantage of collaboration tools like Microsoft Teams or Slack to help you facilitate communication and collaboration among team members. These tools have features like document sharing, version control, and commenting that make it easy to collaborate on documents in real time.

Eva Chan, CPRW and Senior Content Specialist, Resume Genius


Prioritize Effective Communication

Maintaining successful collaboration amongst global remote tech teams isn’t easy, but it becomes more manageable as you get more skilled at the process. I run two bootstrapped businesses and have spent years working with overseas freelancers who provide fantastic service at a more affordable cost.

Effective and timely communication is my fundamental key to successful overseas collaboration. I like to adjust my work schedule, so I have an hour or two to answer questions at the end or beginning of the freelancer’s day. 

Without doing this, a simple back-and-forth exchange that would take 10 minutes could take days. Not only is this frustrating for the freelancer, who might feel stuck in neutral, but it makes it challenging to complete projects on time. By opening the communication window, I can shorten project completion time by weeks and ensure freelancers stay happy working with me.

Axel DeAngelis, Founder, Jumpcoast


Respect Cultural Differences

Working with a global remote team means working with people from different cultures and backgrounds. Encourage team members to be aware of cultural differences and respect them. 

This can help avoid misunderstandings and promote a more collaborative working environment. For example, some cultures may prefer direct communication, while others may prefer indirect communication. Understanding these differences can help improve collaboration and teamwork.

Ranee Zhang, VP of Growth, Airgram


Treat Team Members as Humans

My best advice on leading a global remote tech team is to treat everyone as a human being first. As an employer, I understand that, along with hard and soft skills, people also have distinct personalities. We welcome everyone’s quirks. 

I apply an individual approach when communicating with team members and try to make them feel comfortable in my (online) presence. Nobody should be afraid of their boss.

Stefan Chekanov, CEO, Brosix


Focus on Areas of Disagreement

Remote work has many advantages, but one disadvantage is how hard it can be to have a conversation that covers a lot of ground over Zoom.

While remote, the key to effective communication and collaboration is honing in on areas of disagreement as quickly as possible, so you can spend your time together solving actual issues. Everyone has sat through those annoying five-minute Zoom monologues where someone is talking about a point everyone on the team already agrees on.

Instead, set meetings a few days in advance. Create a living document, like a Google doc, with context, the decision that needs to be made, and the various options or differing points of view. You’ll often find that once everyone has read and commented on the document, people are usually already in agreement, or only minor issues still need to be discussed when you’re meeting. 

Thus, you can discuss and solve fewer issues that actually need attention rather than recounting areas that don’t need more air time.

Lachlan De Crespigny, Co-founder and Co-CEO, Revelo


Establish Open Communication Channels

Establishing open communication channels is critical for remote IT teams. The team should agree on which tools will be utilized for specific forms of communication and when they will be used. 

This includes both formal communication channels, such as team meetings or project updates, and informal channels, such as chat applications or social media groups. In my view, a precise communication strategy ensures that distant team members are kept informed and engaged.

Ben Flynn, Marketing Manager, Manhattan Tech Support


Schedule Frequent Check-Ins

In my experience, one crucial tip for successful collaboration among global remote tech teams is to have frequent check-ins. 

A couple of years ago, as we moved to remote working, we noticed that there were occasional communication gaps and misalignments at our workplace. So we implemented weekly check-ins, both individually and as a team. Every Friday, each team member had a 15-minute one-on-one session with their manager to discuss their progress.

We also held a 45-minute group meeting to discuss progress and challenges. This helped us to better coordinate our tasks and resources and allowed team members to share any concerns or roadblocks they were facing. 

By being proactive with these check-ins, we found our remote teams could build stronger relationships and enhance their overall productivity. I highly recommend making frequent check-ins a part of your remote team’s routine to ensure everyone stays connected.

Haya Subhan, General Manager, First Aid at Work Course


Set Broad and Specific Goals

One of the most effective strategies I’ve found for successful collaboration among global remote tech teams is to set both broad and specific goals. 

In one of our projects, we had a broad goal of enhancing the client’s online reputation. But, we also had specific goals like increasing positive online reviews by 30% and reducing negative comments by 50%. 

These clear goals served as a compass for our globally scattered team, giving them a strong sense of direction and purpose. It’s like we’re different musicians in an orchestra playing our own instruments, but we’re all in sync because we’re following the same music sheet—our set goals. It’s challenging, but it’s also one of the most rewarding experiences when you see your team working in harmony, regardless of their physical locations.

Alexandru Contes, Co-founder, ReviewGrower


Find Shared Values and Culture

Rocking a global remote tech team? One word: culture. We’re not just talking about a solid company culture. We’re talking about finding folks who groove together, despite scattered time zones and diverse backgrounds.

Shared values matter. They matter because they’re the bedrock of genuine connections. People naturally like, and want to work with, those who resonate with their core beliefs. In a remote setup, you can’t just grab a coffee to sort out issues. You need a shared baseline that keeps the gears turning smoothly.

So, here’s the secret sauce: Seek that common rhythm, that shared vibe. It’s the adhesive that binds your team and fuels productive collaboration, driving your team toward success.

Rafael Sarim Özdemir, Founder and CEO, Zendog Labs


Set Clear Communication Expectations

Effective communication is crucial when working with global remote tech teams. To foster successful collaboration, it is important to establish clear lines of communication and set expectations for response times. This means establishing regular check-ins, using video conferencing tools to ensure face-to-face communication, and providing feedback and constructive criticism when necessary. 

Encourage team members to share their thoughts and ideas openly and create a safe space for communication. By doing so, you can ensure that everyone is on the same page and that work is progressing smoothly. Clear communication can help prevent misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is working towards the same goals, ultimately leading to better outcomes.

Vikas Kaushik, CEO, TechAhead


Build Rapport and Cultural Understanding

At ECA Partners, we work with teams based in the Philippines and in the US. I’ve found that establishing rapport at the beginning of every call and having a sense of our colleagues’ lives outside of work (holidays, weather, hobbies) helps create a bond that feels collegiate and not purely transactional. 

It also always goes a long way to learn a few words in another language and develop a basic understanding of another culture—just learning how to say “Hi,” “Thank you,” and “You’re welcome” in Tagalog, the main language spoken in the Philippines, has often brightened my colleagues’ day. They have a good understanding of our lives in the US and speak English fluently—I feel the least we can do is show we’re willing to make an effort to understand them, too.

Lara Roizen, Project Manager, ECA Partners


Utilize Project Management Software

Utilizing project management software like Trello, Asana, or Jira can greatly improve collaboration among global remote tech teams. These tools help to keep everyone on the same page, facilitate communication, and provide a centralized location for tasks and progress tracking. 

They also allow for clear assignments of responsibilities and deadlines, ensuring that everyone knows what they need to do and when. By utilizing project management software, remote teams can increase productivity, transparency, and accountability, ultimately leading to successful collaboration and project completion.

Irina Poddubnaia, CEO and Founder, TrackMage


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