It’s common practice for software development teams within a company to be distributed, or working on projects together while not sitting in the same office (or even the same time zone). The primary advantage of this is pretty obvious: the best person for the job often lives somewhere else.

For companies which support a remote workforce model, there are readily-available tools and techniques for collaboration. By way of example: at my prior employer, there were several split teams, working on the same projects but from two different locations. Each part of one of these teams team had a large screen monitor and an always-on camera in its work area; communication among team members in real time was straightforward, either in-person or through the persistent web meeting. And, due to the nature of the projects, there was clear visibility into effort and accountability of productivity. In short, this was a tenable solution.

Remote arrangements can (and often, do) work really well. They can also fail. But then again, often teams that are working in the same office aren’t high functioning, either.

From the outset, Gain Compliance has been determined to work from one spot, with a single office serving as everyone’s primary working location. Bear in mind, this doesn’t mean we aren’t flexible — we support work-from-home arrangements as appropriate and have no set work schedule.

Still, during conventional business hours, it’s likely you’ll find all of us at the office.

We based our approach on a variety of factors:

  1. Communication is easier. While there are great tools to ensure that everyone is in sync, they pale in comparison to in-person interactions.
  2. There are hidden costs with a distributed workforce. In addition to the travel and lost productivity associated with periodic, in-person gatherings, there is the daily time and effort to compensate for the challenges of a distributed framework.
  3. Our company product discovery model is predicated on customer feedback and guidance. Our pilot customers are local; in fact, we deliberately chose insurance as a target market for this reason, and we would lose the opportunity for our team to have frequent interaction with those who use our product.
  4. We want to be part of the community. We are supportive of the Technology Association of Iowa, and give back by holding leadership positions and leading sessions with local organizations such as the Des Moines JavaScript User Group and Des Moines Web Geeks.
  5. There is great development talent in central Iowa.

As much as possible, for an early-stage software company, the mantra is to keep it simple. Any complexity introduced at the onset will only multiply as we scale.

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