The Pros and Cons of Decentralized/Remote App Development
The scope and scale of your project notwithstanding, developing decentralized apps can be a great way to keep your team’s mission cohesive and on-track for completing roadmap milestones and delivering your project to deadline.
Decentralized Apps, or dApps, are built on blockchains that interact with smart contracts. Essentially acting as an API key to verify the identity of users (much like a traditional website does with your email address and password) a dApp can allow users to view immutable information on the blockchain that is confirmed by all other network participants. Many of these are built on the Ethereum blockchain, as it is the leading platform for smart contracts.
Developing such a project can be complex, especially when trying to coordinate a remote team. Below, we’ve set out the pros and cons of remote decentralized app development:
- Plenty of success stories
- Much wider recruitment pool
- No-code platforms such as Appy Pie to lower the barrier to entry
- Decentralised apps and remote teams are the future
The beauty of decentralized app development is that there is no shortage of programs and tools that can be used to bring your project to fruition. Tools such as Beanstalk are a brilliant virtual space to collaborate and share notes with your team.
Projects such as Wikipedia and Google’s Android Open Source Project, as well as numerous apps built in the DeFi space, were all created entirely remotely from different contributors around the world. This proves that developing an effective decentralized app remotely can be achieved with good organisation.
As remote teams are spread out and not together physically in one place, it can be difficult to establish a healthy culture and habits to keep your team in good routines.
Setting up morning meetings and ‘hang-out’ spaces is a great way to make sure your team feels closer and improves the general level of communication. Monthly games and activities, such as quiz nights or coffee chats are proven ways to increase productivity.
Remote working has a number of processes that can be easily automated so your team can spend more time working smarter and not harder and feeling there is a great team spirit. If your team is using a program like Slack to communicate, there are a number of plugins you can use to speed up you day, such as automatic call invites to channels, automatic posting of gifs to say good morning to your team, as well as daily reminders for deadlines that automatically nudge your team on your behalf.
Part of the problem with traditional recruitment is being limited to the candidates who just happen to live around where an office is based geographically. With the internet, you can recruit developers from across the globe, greatly increasing the recruitment pool and allowing employers to find good-quality and trustworthy candidates.
Recruiting people who can code is getting easier as more and more people retrain and use the many learning tools available to them. However, finding someone with good coding experience can still be very expensive to employers, as good candidates can demand very high salaries, especially for senior roles.
Applications such as Appy Pie can make life much easier as they do not require developers to be able to understand any coding languages to get started in developing an app, thereby lowering the barrier to entry and allowing recruiters to look much further afield to other winning attributes.
With the effects of the pandemic not diluting anytime soon, remote working is looking like it will be a defining feature of the 2020s. Establishing a strong remote team today could pay dividends for projects in the future, as it is likely that this is the way the industry is heading anyway — certainly for the next year or two.
- Harder to keep track of projects
- Keeping the team motivated
- Some countries could try and claim jurisdiction over your project
- Need to be able to trust team members
Without the use of an office, monitoring where everyone is, can be difficult. Tools such as GitHub are invaluable for developers to log and keep track of their projects. It also offers transparency to any stakeholders on your project, as they can see the status of the project and understand how it’s progressing. This is especially useful for decentralized applications which may have relied on crowdfunding to get the project off the ground.
As there is no face-to-face contact or meetings, it can be challenging to keep teams motivated and on track. Try to encourage “water-cooler” chat to form tighter bonds within your team. After a long day of writing and fixing code, allowing your team to blow off some steam is vital for maintaining good morale.
One of the challenges of being a team from nowhere is the fear that governments could try and claim regulatory authority over your project. This is especially true of financial applications; those that use the US dollar in their products have been known to face legal action from the US Government, so make sure that you seek legal advice on the regulatory hurdles that your project will need to overcome.
Last but not least is trust. As you will likely be using written communication with your team members for the most part, being able to trust that they’re working on the thing they said they were is invaluable. The last thing a project leader wants is to feel like they have to chase up work and continually push back deadlines.
Decentralized applications could easily become the standard model for how apps are developed in the coming years. With the growing significance of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, and decentralized working, the next 10 years could look very different, especially when we consider how much app development and smartphone technology has changed since 2010.