Are you someone who has reservations about accessing the potential of a global talent pool, while benefiting from great cost savings, due to the perceived challenges associated with managing remote teams?
With two committed individuals from entirely different parts of the world, it is now possible to collaborate and develop a groundbreaking product that has the potential to be sold in millions of copies due to the convenience and effectiveness of remote working. Here’s a closer look at how RocketCat Games began.
RocketCat Games had a rather unexpected beginning, being founded in a chat room for the now-defunct MMO Asheron’s Call. Kepa Auwae, the main designer of RocketCat, encountered the two other young entrepreneurs who would become the firm’s programmer and artist in the same chat room. (We couldn’t help but remark on the excellent name of the company; we’re considering creating DistantCat to help locate amusing cats from afar!)
Having discussed the types of games they wished to develop and the approaches they would take to create them, the two developers began work on their first game, despite being separated by a great distance. This game was an instant success on the iPhone platform, giving the developers the opportunity to dedicate further time and energy to the production of the sequel, which went on to enjoy phenomenal success, selling over a million copies and allowing them to establish their own independent firm. Being entirely virtual in its operations, this workplace allowed them to continue their collaboration from afar.
Since establishing themselves on the market, the company has gained a reputation for producing reliable, high-quality software that has been consistently delivering in terms of revenue, with millions being made from their games over the years. Furthermore, they have been praised for their ability to regularly update and release their software on schedule.
How did they handle working from home?
When I interviewed Team Leader Kepa, I enquired about the techniques and tools they had used to attain their remarkable levels of efficiency. What was his reaction to this query?
At Works, we maintain an up-to-date checklist and shared design document to ensure we are aware of what needs to be done next. Each team member has the autonomy to make decisions they believe are beneficial to the project as a whole. Using our in-house game creation tools, our staff can easily contribute to the project.
Kepa, I believe there is more to this story than meets the eye. In order to gain a better understanding, I have requested more information in the form of specific tools and methods that Works could provide to our clients and readers.
To make a long story short, there were none.
The importance of keeping remote work straightforward
Kepa shared an interesting insight with me – they didn’t rely on any advanced project management tools such as Trello or Slack. Skype was their main source of communication, but primarily for making international calls. In reality, they communicated with each other using the chat channel of an old online game, which is now eleven years old.
The answer is that “it simply works.”
The team utilise Google Docs to collaborate on a design document and monitor the development of the project, including its milestones and tasks, through a shared checklist. This is all that is necessary for them to make their multi-million pound video game empire function, and with such a minimal operating cost!
Great remote work is about engagement and drive, just like any other kind of job.
It is entirely accurate to assume that our corporate policy does not tolerate such behaviour. There are only three people involved, but we have an extensive team of [insert number here] members.
At Works, we highly recommend making use of the fantastic applications such as Slack and Trello, which enable productive remote working. We would not suggest that you abandon these applications entirely.
The overall lesson to be learned from this story is that having the right equipment is essential to creating a successful team, however, it is not a substitute for hard work and dedication. Even with the most basic of equipment, Kepa and his team have been able to collaborate effectively from different locations. Ultimately, it is the drive and determination of the individuals involved that is the main factor in achieving success.
Rather than any complex structures, the success of this unit is attributed to the minimal levels of resistance created by their straightforward method (examining the shared document; selecting a job from the list; starting the task). This is complemented by their devotion to each other and the project, which reflects their collective values. This is an example of corporate culture, and it is something that we strive to foster within our organisation in order to achieve the highest level of performance from our staff.
The Final Thoughts and Next Steps
It is clear that these tools are highly beneficial and can help to make a machine run more efficiently than ever before. However, it is important to bear in mind that they cannot fix a machine that is missing components or not functioning correctly. Therefore, it is essential to consider the team itself before attempting to acquire the necessary equipment.
Do all of your staff show enthusiasm for their work? Is there any indication of dissatisfaction among employees? Are there any specific tasks or duties that they find particularly challenging or unpleasant? How can you address this issue? Are there any potential candidates who would be excited to take on the challenge and perform successfully?
Whether you are part of a remote or in-person team, these questions can help you to overcome any impasse. Before investing in any new equipment, take the time to consider if the issue could be addressed in other ways. Often, acquiring new equipment is used as a means of avoiding addressing the root cause of the problem.