For many years I’ve been working in distributed teams, for different companies, for different projects. And there is one important thing, that distinguish one team from another. It’s how team meetings are organized.
I mean “Morning Standup”, “Weekly Standup”, etc.
For traditional (non-distributed) company it’s easy, just get together in the morning. According to schedule or just when everybody are ready to talk.
Fixed schedule is much more important thing for a distributed worker. For distributed team there is no morning, just Skype and different timezones. And also, person on other side usually needs some preparation before call. Turn off music, wear headphones, turn on microphone and camera, etc. Get dressed :)
But most important, he should feel himself prepared for this call. Shouldn’t be deep in the code, or doing something important at this moment. You know, interruption in the middle of the work just ruining everything.
I had experience with a manager who calls you when he is ready for morning call. But the problem that it was unpredictable when it’s “morning” on his side today. We just had period of about 3 hours of waiting. The period when you cannot focus on work, but expecting a call every minute. That was weird :(
What’s the point: it’s very important for a distributed team to have rigid schedule for Skype meeting. Like “Everyday at 9:00am ET“. And have this call exactly at 9:00am ET. So, everybody will know, will be prepared, will make own schedule according to this plan. Be efficient, as a result.