Sync vs async in remote teams

August 1, 2019

Tamas from Coding Sans reached out to me with an interview he did with Buffer about managing remote developer teams. He talked with Katie Womersley, who is the VP of Engineering at Buffer.

One of the topics that came up was about finding the right balance between synchronous work and asynchronous work.

This could be one of the biggest challenges in remote work. Both of these ways of communication have their pros and cons. You can’t just pick one. They need to be combined in a skillful way. 

Katie highlights these differences:

Synchronous – chatting online, really great for being connected, bonding as a team, real-time collaboration, being creative with ideas

Asynchronous – people respond when it suits them, not a lot of meetings, no chatting going on all the time so can work with their heads down

Developers need alone time to code without interruptions, but they also need to be included in conversations. It’s probably up to every remote team to find their own balance.

Founder's comment

I've started this newsletter several times and I've also abandoned this newsletter several times. I just haven't had the consistency, you know

I continue to think that there should be a fun newsletter about what's happening in remote work. And I'll try again now!

There will be a quick "founder's comment" like this on upcoming emails too where I talk about my progress with building RemoteHub.

I had around 250 emails signed up for the newsletter, but I never confirmed these email addresses. Some of them seemed to be trash (why would you sign up for a newsletter with an email that doesn't exist? I don't know). I wanted to make sure people are interested in my newsletter, so I sent a confirmation email yesterday evening. 

You are now one of the 71 subscribers who confirmed their email. Not too many, I know. But one has to start somewhere.

I would be happy to hear your thoughs, ideas and recommendations – just reply to this email.

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