Software development needs a Campfire
You will always want the best developers. Or at least those more adequate to your company. They won’t be in your city. The world has 7 billion of people, and each one can have good reasons to not reallocate or travel daily. Forcing it to do it will result in more costs and dissatisfaction with the moving. But don’t get me wrong: someone isn’t accommodated just for deciding to not leave friends.
Limitations. At least geographical distance is not one. We are on the 21st century.
Hiring remote doesn’t necessarily mean closing a deal with Indonesians (but would probably add a lot in culture); a remote employee can be in a close city or even in the peripheral area of the same one. Because, definitely, developers don’t need to be in the same office to do their job
Campfire doesn’t have any witchcraft. It’s just a chat. People send messages that other team members can read. With a differential: not every message needs to be read instantly. When you feel that this is needed, you can use… instant messaging (like Google Talk or Skype), which keep working as always. But what kind of message would you send in a company’s (or team’s) chat? The same sentences said out loud in the office’s room: “Guys, do you know any lib for authorizations compatible with Rails 4.1?”, “I’m using rbenv, but Ruby 2.1 isn’t properly loading with the project”, “What do you think of the design of this autocomplete” or “We can’t send user’s password by e-mail? Can we find any alternative without leaving the page?”. All of them are part of features that a developer could do alone (with or without Google’s help), but why not share?
As any workroom, not everything is about work. The Campfire room is free to talk about the movie watched in the weekend, an article being shared on Twitter or the last video from Freddie Wong. This kind of action will bring the office to anyone distant to it.
A concern to those trying this method is about communication. Although is a really important worry, cannot be a reason to prevent its use. Working physically remote won’t stop - or increase - communication problems, but will make them clearer. Given the both sides of the coin, you can use this to fix existing problems. A person pushing a feature after its estimate without getting help shows someone without pro activity. Being in the same site, he can argue the problem was “demonstrated”; remote, it must be directly reported.
And remember about necessity of instantly reading each message? It will give you a bonus: having a lot of people in the same room will force you to scan messages from those not working directly with you. This process will stand to, in a future point, remember yourself that someone knows something about a given problem that you are having. Will stand to know what happens in the company. In a way that working in site wouldn’t allow you. This will give the flexibility to do your job outside of office’s schedule and even attending to some courses.
But one of the challenges of working with Campfire is using it in the same room (that with four walls). What should be spoken and what goes as text? Each company can find the better solution for itself, but one simple and interesting use is: needs to be heard or can be interesting to someone else? Campfire. Is immediate? Skip instant messaging and poke your co-worker. You will see satisfaction and more concentration in the team.