Example: GitHub’s Emphasis on Remote Employees’ Use of Asynchronous Chat

To ensure success in any team or company, effective communication is crucial. It plays a fundamental role in enhancing efficiency, productivity and quality, both within the organisation and with external entities.

The majority of skilled managers are well aware of this fact and are meticulous about the risk of miscommunication that comes with the process of recruiting remote employees. It can be challenging to maintain a productive and valuable communication with a staff member based in a different geographic location.

We may not have psychic abilities to read your thoughts, but we have a wealth of expertise in this area to offer practical solutions to ease your concerns. Our job is to assist you not only in resolving issues but also in learning from the success stories of others who have managed remote programmers effectively.

GitHub, the innovative and trailblazing firm, made millions within just two years, despite not having a physical workspace. Their success is partly due to their utilisation of asynchronous communication, a concept that we delve into more comprehensively in our free Remote Agile e-book.

Asynchronous chat refers to a type of communication in computer programming that does not necessitate prompt replies from involved parties. This differs from email correspondence, where one party may take their time to respond, in comparison to a phone call or meeting that demands an immediate response.

It seems that this approach may not align with your business needs. However, we highly recommend you keep reading, as the results may astound you. While each business and startup is one-of-a-kind, they all may share one common factor among the most successful ones — a preference for asynchronous rather than synchronous communication.

So, how did GitHub triumph with this strategy? What specific measures did they undertake to implement it?

The Power of Communication

If Slack is not your cup of tea, not to worry; we have evaluated a variety of commendable alternatives. However, if you do prefer Slack, it’s vital to note that it transformed asynchronous communication. If you must phone or video call someone each time you need something, not only will you have to wait for their availability, but you’ll also interrupt their daily workflow if they do take your call. Studies suggest that it typically takes an individual between 20 to 45 minutes to regain focus after being interrupted.

When you consider the implications of scheduling a meeting with multiple individuals, it’s easy to comprehend why meetings can hinder productivity. The process of coordinating a suitable time for all participants is challenging and consumes valuable time that could be utilised more productively. This subsequently impacts overall company output, rendering meetings an unproductive use of time. Hence, highly successful corporations such as GitHub and Basecamp have labelled them as ‘poisonous’.

We recognise how vexing email communication can be, particularly when attempting to locate a specific message. It’s effortless for emails to go undetected when they’re not being actively checked, resulting in precious time expended attempting to locate valuable information. We understand the sense of powerlessness associated with this circumstance.

After thoroughly evaluating the numerous possibilities, GitHub ultimately determined that chat was the most fitting solution. In the words of Zach Holman, one of the firm’s trailblazing developers and a crucial member of its expansion:

Since the conversation is asynchronous, I can take a lunch break and peruse the transcripts upon my return. Asynchronous communication empowers me to ask a colleague a question without concern of interfering with their workday, as they can respond when it’s convenient for them.

One of the primary advantages of utilising contemporary chat platforms is that all discussions are logged and can be easily searched for. This furnishes companies with a unified communication database, facilitating quick access to essential information, and eliminating the need for internal conflicts. As a result, businesses can enhance their efficiency and transparency significantly.

The primary online environment utilised by GitHub is its Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channel. All discussions are recorded and stored, allowing team members to concentrate on their respective tasks without needing in-person meetings as the default. This approach has been described by many as enabling them to remain in a state of consistent productivity, with conversations occurring organically as required.

Is it Feasible for Your Business?

At Works, we reject the idea of a “one-size-fits-all” approach. We acknowledge that businesses function differently, and each scenario necessitates a customised strategy. As a result, we are delighted to share the Basecamp principle that “meetings are poisonous” on one day and concurrently provide an e-book detailing how to conduct Agile meetings with dispersed teams.

It is commonly acknowledged that drawing inspiration from others’ accomplishments is fundamental to achieving your own success, and we believe it’s essential for you to invest time in exploring these concepts and determining how they can contribute to your business.

Choose a few simple programming projects where all discussions can occur using real-time chat, with minimal consequences. Then sit back and observe the results!

(Fun fact: the outcome is favourable in 90% of cases!)

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