Asynchronous Decision-Making: Helping Remote Teams Succeed

Asynchronous decision-making is a strategy that enables geographically and culturally distributed software teams to make decisions more efficiently. In this article, I’ll discuss some of the principles and tools that make this approach possible.

Synchronous decision-making, in which participants interact with each other in real time, can be expensive for people who work on a Maker’s Schedule, and they are often impractical for remote teams. We’ve all seen how such meetings can devolve into inefficient time wasters that we all dread and avoid.

In contrast, asynchronous decision-making, which is often used in large open source projects—for example, at the Apache Software Foundation (ASF), where I’m most active—provides an efficient way for teams to move forward with minimal meetings. Many open source projects involve only a few meetings each year (and some none at all), yet development teams consistently produce high-quality software.

How does asynchronous decision-making work?