Xoxzo has no physical office and every one of us has own residence here and there in Asian and Russian region working together remotely.
Our daily communication are done through ‘Slack text chat and some voice and video conference as necessary. This causes less communication density between the members than working in an office. To keep up our productivity under this circumstance, Xoxzo has some of the rules that our engineering team are sharing. Here is one:
15 MIN RULE: Ask everyone AFTER you try to solve for 15 minutes
Excellent engineers tends to have higher ego and less prone to asking. He/she may spend too much time to solve a problem on his/her own. Well, it is an admirable attitude, but what if this problem had already been solved once before by the other member, or what if there is alternative method you can take and this problem may not be a problem at all?
It is a basic productivity improvement to NOT waste hours for nothing as there are a lot to be done within a developer's projects.
But still, it is not something easy to do, as asking questions would take up time of someone else, no matter if it is done through Slack. It still does bother someone who are in the middle of their work.
It is even more difficult to ask within the remote work members as we do not know what situation they are in, on the other side of inorganic communication tool: This pushes engineers to try to solve problems on their own.
Our team has 15 minutes rule, and this is regularly reminded to everyone to help making ourselves easy to ask questions.
P.S. Here is the blog of Matt Ringel, who inspired us