Why do big corporations choose a remote team for software development? Skype, Slack, GitHub, MySQL cases.

Taras Tymoshchuck
4 min readNov 26, 2019


Full-fledged remote work has become a global trend. The trend of a remote team (virtual team) has become popular with top world companies such as Skype, Slack, Github, MySQL, Opera, Groove, and others. In the world, there are quite a lot of large companies operating completely remotely. Businesses that implement remote work policies see increased efficiency, productivity, and fulfillment from their employees. So why do companies choose remote or distributed teams for software development?

Benefits of having a virtual team.

  • Getting results from business processes without managing them. The performance of important functions is delegated to contractors. Therefore, the necessary corporate result is achieved by external efforts.
  • The attraction of competent specialists. Outsourcers are professionals in their field. Therefore, they cope with the solution of highly specialized tasks like no one else.
  • Saving money resources. The reduction in staff leads to a decrease in the total payroll. This, in turn, provides a reduction in the cost of contributions to social funds and tax payments.
  • Increased core business performance. To get rid of non-core functions is to get an opportunity to concentrate on the main direction and increase its effectiveness.
  • Lack of formal labor relations with specialists. Although accountants, lawyers, and other employees serve the customer company, they officially work with the contractor.
  • Exclusion of disputes and disagreements with staff. If a specialist is dissatisfied with something, he can only make complaints to his employer. The client pays the agency for the services and does not engage in personnel management.
  • Contractual form of relationship. The partnership between the contractor and the customer is executed. It spells out all the duties and responsibilities of the parties, as well as important nuances of cooperation.

Let’s look at how large companies directly use the remote team.

  • Skype

Skype was one of the most disruptive tools and technologies during the early 2000s. The idea of Niklas Zennström and the Dane Janus Friis wouldn’t have been part of our lives if they hadn’t outsourced the back-end development of the app to three Estonian developers named Jaan Tallinn, Ahti Heinla, and Priit Kasesalu.

The important thing here to stress is that thanks to outsourced developers, who later became partners, Skype was able not only to enter the market but also becoming a widespread tool among businesses of all sizes. From 2011, Skype is part of Microsoft who bought it for $8.5 billion.

  • Slack

If you work with remote peers, there’s a high chance you use Slack, an online collaboration tool app for teams based on Instant Messaging. Before opening it up to the first beta testers, Slack’s development was outsourced to a design firm, who took care of the app, website, and even their logo.

After that phase, once the product was good enough for the founders, they started to invite other users and teams to test it out and provide feedback (8K users signed up the first day). Today Slack accounts for 5 million daily users.

  • GitHub

Founded in 2008 by Chris Wanstrath, PJ Hyett, and Tom Preston-Werner, as a way to host, document, edit and share private code, it has its roots into an outsourced development consultancy.

As Tom recalls: I was thinking Git might be really cool and could get really popular.

Scott was the ideal candidate for that. The problem was they didn’t have enough money to hire him as a full-time developer. So they had only one choice left to reach their goal of simplifying their product and push it further: they hired Scott as a Git outsource contractor to eventually build the backend of Gist, a sharing feature within GitHub.

  • MySQL

With its first release back to 21 years ago, MySQL proved to the world it was something we needed when it comes to working and manage databases. Part of its success is due to two key elements: the release of its source code under the GNU General Public License and the smart outsourcing strategy implemented by the management right from the beginning.

In fact, the company saw its growth strategy would need to include mostly outsourced developers and staff all over the world to boost operations in each location. Today, MySQL runs on millions of servers, and it’s used by many of the world’s largest and fastest-growing organizations such as Amazon, PayPal, Nasa, Cisco, just to name a few.

Nowadays, hundreds and thousands, of companies use outsourcing to some extent, especially when it comes to the IT department. From the article, we learned how large companies have successfully used and are using remote teams for their development.

Originally published at https://geniusee.com.