Timely communication is critical for remote engineering teams. Whether you’re prioritizing tickets, reviewing code, or brainstorming product improvements, you need to be able to talk to your teammates quickly and efficiently.
Remote engineering teams love working in virtual offices on Gather because it’s easy to walk up to each other to solve problems in the moment. (In fact, engineering and product teams are some of the most common on our platform!)
To help you spend less time waiting on answers and more time building a collaborative engineering culture, this guide will teach you how to run pair programming, daily standups, and product ideation in your Gather office.
A quick note: If you’re brand new to Gather, read our Getting Started Guide first to learn the basics of starting conversations, audio and video settings, and moving around the office.
1. Pair Programming
This collaborative development work style is a great way to help each other debug and ensure you’re pushing high-quality code. Without a tool like Gather, however, it can also be an exhausting practice for remote software teams.
You’re probably used to one of these two scenarios:
Synchronous pair programming, which typically results in two or more engineers sitting on a Zoom call for an extended period of time. (Exhausting…)
Asynchronous pair programming, which results in using Loom videos or Slack messages to coordinate reviews. (Too slow.)
With Gather, engineers can pair up naturally throughout the day to quickly review code and solve problems in the moment.
This helps you push to production faster without requiring your engineers to sit in meetings for the whole day or wait for the daily standup to get answers.
How To Do Remote Pair Programming In Gather
1. Sit in the virtual office while you work.
This shows your teammates that you’re online and available if needed. Typically engineers sit together at their desk pod or in a designated coding area, so people know where to find you.
Need to step away or focus for a bit? Open the Personal Menu to switch on Do Not Disturb Mode so your teammates know you’re unavailable at the moment but will be back later.
2. Pair up.
When you’re ready for someone to review your code or need to talk through a problem, simply look around your virtual office to see which engineers are online and available.
Simply walk over to them to start talking, or you can send a wave first if you want to double check that they’re free right now. To wave at someone, click their avatar or desk and select “Send wave.”
3. Share screens at the same time.
One of the reasons engineers love pair programming in Gather is that multiple people can share screens at the same time, making it easy to go back and forth between work.
“Screen sharing [in Gather] is a breeze because multiple people can screen share simultaneously, which has been amazing for our engineering team. Not having to pass screen shares back and forth like Zoom is a huge removal of friction for our team's productivity.” – Read full review on G2
To share your screen, use the option in the lower nav bar.
When multiple people are sharing screens, you’ll see each of them appear in your video view. Click on one to enlarge it to Full Screen Mode.
4. Go back to your desk.
When you’re done coding or reviewing for the moment, there’s no need to linger on the call. (Unless you want to keep talking, of course!)
Your desk in your Gather office gives you a place to return (so teammates know you’re still available) without requiring you to sit in an active meeting link all day.
2. Daily Standups
Standups in Gather will feel familiar to your team. You schedule the recurring meeting, everybody joins, and each person gets a turn to share their update.
The magic happens when the standup is over and you can walk up to someone to answer follow-up questions right away without having to set up another meeting.
Instead of ending the standup and everyone leaving the Zoom call, engineers in Gather can continue collaborating naturally throughout the day. This reduces confusion, keeps calendars clear, and helps everyone stay aligned.
How to Run Standups in Gather
1. Connect your calendar.
If you haven’t already, connect your Google or Outlook calendar to Gather.
This makes it easy to schedule and join meetings within your virtual office. You’ll also be able to see all upcoming calendar events.
2. Schedule the standup.
When you book a meeting in Gather, you can choose to hold it at your desk, a random location, or a specific spot in the office.
For standups, you can either:
- Choose a consistent location, making it easy for people to know exactly where to go and join early for casual conversation.
- Choose “Any available private area” to randomize the meeting spot. This helps it feel fresh and gets people moving around your office!
3. Be engaged during the meeting.
It’s easy for standups to become a round robin of status updates where people start to tune out. Encourage your team to stay engaged by chatting or reacting while someone else is talking.
Chat is a great way (without taking over the microphone) to add commentary or to let someone know when there’s a follow-up conversation needed. “Let’s talk about that after this standup.”
Reactions are a quick way to show emotion while someone is talking. At Gather, we personally love the confetti 🎉or clap 👏 emotes for celebrating what teammates are working on.
4. Break off into follow-up conversations when the standup ends.
Need to talk more about trade offs or clarify requirements? When the standup is over, simply walk over to the coworker(s) you need to chat with.
You can either catch them in the virtual hallway as you’re leaving the meeting or talk with them at their desk.
This is a lot quicker than scheduling another call and keeps your actual standup efficient (instead of wasting everyone’s time while two of you work through nitty-gritty details).
3. Product Ideation
When you’re trying to solve a problem, it’s helpful to quickly talk through different options with another engineer or one of your cross-functional teammates (like a PM or designer).
For remote teams, these quick brainstorms can quickly become inconvenient: You typically have to message everyone to figure out if they’re free, or worse – you have to pull up individual calendars to schedule a meeting for a 10-minute conversation.
When you’re working together in Gather, you can see at a glance when other engineers or cross-functional teammates are free – letting you ideate in the moment and remove blockers from your work.
How to make the most of Product Ideation in Gather
1. Sit near your cross-functional teammates.
Just like in a physical office, most teams in Gather like to sit near the people they work with most often.
Have your Engineering team sit in a desk pod together. Do the same for the Product team and Design team, and position your pods close to each other.
This will help you see your closest coworkers in your virtual periphery so it’s extra easy to know when they’re free for a quick brainstorming session.
2. Start talking when inspiration strikes.
No need to schedule a meeting for these quick brainstorming sessions. Simply walk over to another engineer to talk through your ideas.
Need a designer or product manager to weigh in? Send them a wave. It’s the perfect way to show you’d like for them to join your conversation, and if they’re free, they can join you in a click.
3. Keep a whiteboard close by.
The whiteboard objects in Gather give you a place to take notes or draw together during your brainstorming sessions.
And just like a real-life whiteboard, your notes will persist so you can come back to them later.
To wrap it up
When your Engineering Team works together in Gather, you can spend less time scheduling meetings and waiting on answers, and more time collaborating in the moment and pushing to production.
If you haven’t created your office yet, get started here.