How Technology Helps Rebrandly Build a Tight-Knit Remote Team

Feb 09, 2018

Rebrandly is a link management tool empowering users to create custom short URLs that feature their brand’s name and a keyword in the slash tag.

It allows big brands as well as individuals who are conscious of their personal branding to share short and visually appealing links without sacrificing their name in the process.

The Team

Louisa McGrath, Digital Marketing Specialist (Dublin, Ireland)

The company was founded in 2015 by Davide De Guz. Since then, our team has grown significantly and spread across different countries. Although we’re headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, most of our development team is based in Rome, Italy. We also have team members in Europe, North Africa, India, and the US.

The Technology We Use to Collaborate

Tools: Trello, Slack, Skype, Zeplin, Google Suite, and Pipedrive.

We use these tools in different ways and have procedures in place to optimize the way we use them to communicate. For example, we use Skype messaging when we need an immediate response. For less urgent communication, we use email. We know that when we receive an email, we don’t have to respond immediately — unless we get a Skype message that says otherwise.

You can hire the most talented people regardless of their location and build a team that fits your company culture.

Our main Slack channel is where we share information across the whole team. The marketing team shares news about media coverage, the developers share updates, plans, and new features, and our support team share positive reviews and customer feedback. This is often the place where our team can bond, poke fun at competitors, and celebrate small victories.

We also have an established structure and naming conventions for our folders and files in Google Drive. This way, the team can stay organized and always find what they need. We also make sure to use the team feature in our own tool to create, share, and manage our branded short links about FAQs, etc.

Gianni, CTO (Rome, Italy)

We use Slack channels in a creative way to centralize the way alarms are delivered to the team. This is an example of using an emoji in an alert to help offset the panic:

 how-rebrandly-uses-slack

To share information during the bug fixing process, we use one chat for the tech and the support team:

We also have a dedicated channel for developers only.

Below is an example of an automatic message we use to communicate when a problem is solved:

The development team also use Slack to communicate while our web services are being deployed in our test stack and production stack:

 

We all use Trello for personal calendar reminders of periodic maintenance tasks, as well as for our day-to-day task management.

GitLab discussions come in handy when we need to discuss a very specific technological issue. We use Google Docs a lot as well. Its commenting functionality is particularly helpful when we have to complete complex migrations that can harm the system.

rebrandly-tools

José, Lead Designer (Porto, Portugal)
Aside from the tools Gianni mentioned, we use Zeplin to organise design work from early stage work-in-progress mockups to production-ready specs.

Most of the team can access Zeplin projects — from designers and developers to content, marketing, and our CEO.

We use separators to identify each part of the project. Within it, there are many screens describing interactions and rules for the app.

We also make great use of the comments function to tag another teammate in a specific part of the page. This way, we can quickly draw their attention to any doubts, suggestions, or general notes.

Andrea, API Senior Developer (Rome, Italy)

We use ReadMe.io to present our API online. This is a dynamic way to keep our API constantly updated and collaborate with other developers outside the team. You can check it out here.

Davide, Founder (Dublin, Ireland)> Davide-founder-of-rebrandly ​I’ve been working in the tech industry for over 20 years, and the developments in collaboration and communication technology have made it progressively easier for teams to collaborate without having to be in the same room.

These tools help us collaborate in an efficient and productive way, and I believe the option to work remotely is one of the many things that keeps our team happy. The possibility to work remotely plays a huge part in our company culture. It leaves employees free to travel or work from wherever they are, and we can choose team members based on talent and skill rather than location.

Developments in collaboration and communication technology have made it progressively easier for teams to collaborate without having to be in the same room.

The fact that our team members live in different countries also makes us more diverse and gives us an edge, as we have many different points of view in the mix. This is important for us because we have customers in 95 percent of countries around the globe.

Q: What practices do you use to help the team bond?

We hold a monthly video conference in which we all get to catch up and meet new team members. We also organize a real-life meeting once a year. Last year, we all gathered in Rome for a week. This year's location is still to be decided.

rebrandly-remote-team

Q: How do you manage to maintain team spirit and culture across the entire team? Does technology help?

We have a general Slack channel for team-wide communication. All team members contribute to it on a daily basis. This is where we share updates with the whole team, post news about our own product, and discuss finances, progress on our goals, interesting articles, and any other relevant information.

Q: Are the tools and communication practices within your team documented in any way? How do you get feedback from the team or measure the effectiveness of these processes and tools?

We have a set list of tools that the entire team uses. When someone new joins the company, the tools are already installed on their computers. In total, we use 30 different tools, from email to 1Password, and they’re all set up by default. Everyone gives feedback and lets me know if they find that a tool or a procedure isn't working well. I revise the tools based on everyone’s input.

The possibility to work remotely plays a huge part in our company culture. It leaves employees free to travel or work from wherever they are, and we can choose team members based on talent and skill rather than location.

For example, recently the marketing team found that we were using two tools which had overlapping functionality. After reviewing the two tools, they decided to work with just one so I canceled our subscription to the other tool.

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to a business owner who is considering working with a remote team, but hesitates because they think that remote teams are less effective.

Communication within remote teams can be a little slower than it would be for teams working in the same room. But it has a lot of advantages that outweigh this one downside. For example, you can hire the most talented people regardless of their location and build a team that fits with your company culture. It also gives team members the freedom to live wherever they want.

rebrandly-distributed-team

Mentioned Tools:

  • Skype to communicate with other team members when an immediate response is expected;
  • Slack to share information across the whole team;
  • Google Drive for storage;
  • Trello for personal calendar reminders and for day-to-day task management;
  • GitLab to discuss specific technological issues;
  • Zeplin to organise design work;
  • ReadMe.io to keep the API constantly updated and to collaborate with other developers outside the team.

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Netherlands    +31 0 75 302 0011

Israel               +972 23 760 374

UK                   +44 20 8080 6557

Germany         +49 30 255 555 726

USA                 +1 678 783 7681​

     +1 646 769 9099

     +1 646 500 8698

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