I’m Starting A New Far-flung Team

January 14, 2010

This post is part of the Editorial Calendar Plugin for WordPress team series. We take a first-hand look at a far-flung open source team as it forms, communicates, resolves problems, and (hopefully) succeeds. Stay up to date with the whole series.

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Every new project is full of potential and risk. Extending something that already exists is always the safer move, but the blank page holds a wonderful allure. It’s a chance to create a new world; even if it’s just a small one.

I’ve started a new programming project to an editorial calendar plugin for WordPress. The idea of managing your blog as a whole instead of a set of individual posts came from Justin Evans. He taught me about organizing my blog as a single entity instead of a set of unrelated posts.

The idea is good, but I wish I had more support from WordPress. I worked up a prototype and I decided to write my first public WordPress plugin. It started as a project with my wife —we’re two programmers who met at work— and quickly expanded to include an entire remote team.

I sent the idea to Justin and he was happy to collaborate. I’ve worked with Justin in the past. We have a great working relationship and we’ve built a lot of trust even though we’ve never met. Justin lives and works a few hundred miles away from me in Montreal. We built our relationship over a few months while he helped me with marketing and promotion strategy for the book version of The One Minute Commute.

Justin introduced me to a group of people from his company stresslimitdesign, and I’ve found myself once again working with a far-flung team full of people I’ve never met. This is one of the most difficult teleworking situations, but none of us can travel for a new part-time project.

I’m starting a series of articles to show you how we communicate and collaborate virtually in a loosely organized team around an open source project. You’ll see what works and what doesn’t. I’m sure we’ll hit some bumps along the road, but I’m sure we’ll get there.

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