For the last few years, I've been building Drupal sites for nonprofits with a remote, virtual, flexible team of colleagues. These colleagues are all over—California, Boston, Illinois, and Oregon. I've met almost all of them, in some way, through our connections to NTEN. I've known several of them for many years, and a couple of them for over a decade.
Though there are inherent challenges in working remotely, there are some advantages. One of those advantages is that I'm able to work with a team of people who are, in my estimation, some of the best in their field, even though we live far apart. We're a team with a lot of good working chemistry: we have similar values, similar goals, and we tend to agree on how best to approach things.
Over time, our team has developed ways to stay connected all day (IM, Google Hangouts, Skype, Google Docs and GCal, Harvest, Freshbooks, Linode, GitHub, IRC, Dropbox, Redmine/Chiliproject, Evernote, ye olden telephone, a strict regimen of regular meetings, an in-person meet-up at least once a year... yes, all of those!). We're also always refining our internal processes to make them better. These ways of staying connected and streamlining our practice are low-cost, so we don't have lot of infrastructure that we have to pay for, and our business has no brick-and-mortar rent to pay. This means we can take on clients who may not have the most enormous tech budgets ever. This is key for us, since we're passionate about working with orgs and businesses who are primarily motivated to make change with their work. It's not that we think that wanting to make a profit is Evil. We just prefer to work with people for whom that's not their number one priority.
So who is DevCollaborative? It's just us! At present, our core members are Johanna Bates Collaborative Consulting, Michelle Murrain, and Erin Fogel Consulting. We're the same team, we're all still freelancers, and we have the same excellent network of freelance specialists that we can bring in based on the particular needs of a project. We gave ourselves a name, DevCollaborative, because we wanted an easier way to talk about ourselves, our core values, our project approach, etc. We've found that we far prefer working as a team than working alone, and that we do better work through collaboration. We prioritize collaboration and communication with our clients, and with each other. So that's why "collaborative" is right there in our name.
I'm having a hard time finding time to blog these days because we're busy building Drupal sites for some stellar orgs, and we're excited and thankful for continued opportunities to work with them. I may try to blog more over at the DevCollaborative blog, Zen & the Art of Web Development. But I expect we'll continue to learn a lot in 2013, as we always do, and we'll do our best to share good things back on our blog when we can. We're working on getting some of our team to both the NTC Drupal Day on April 11th and DrupalCon PDX in May. I hope to see some of you there!
P.S. We're also on Twitter as @dev_collab.
Thanks to Laura Scott and her way cool blog RarePattern for the image!