Idan Cohen on Managing International Project Teams

In Chapter 18 of 19 in his 2012 Capture Your Flag interview, Boxee co-founder and head of product Idan Cohen answers "What Have Been Your Greatest Challenges Managing International Project Teams?"  Cohen notes two perspectives.  The first is not being able to iterate quickly side by side.  The second he ties to consumer product development and the importance of having the entire team on board with the market, user and consumer. 

This is Idan Cohen's Year 1 Capture Your Flag interview.  Cohen is co-founder and head of product at Boxee Inc, an online video software company.  Previous to Boxee, Cohen held telecom software innovation and developer roles at Comverse.  He was a Captain in the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) and graduated from Tel Aviv University with a Bachelors of Science degree in Geophysics and Art.


Erik Michielsen: What have been your greatest challenges in managing international project teams?

Idan Cohen: It’s about just not being able to sit in the same room, you know, just being able to iterate quickly with a few people sitting on a couch for a couple of hours, that’s very important. Doing it on the phone as much as we think, that, you know, with Skype and other tools, the world is flat, it just doesn’t work in a lot of cases.

And then probably the other really important thing is just when you’re creating consumer products, it’s so important for everyone to understand the market and the user and the consumer, and if you’re a small company, then you know it comes down to the last person, it’s the last developer or the officer manager, it doesn’t matter, or the HR woman, let’s say that does recruiting part-time for you, everyone needs to understand what you’re all working on in order to be able to really build the right product and that’s a huge challenge, when you’re working separately with teams in different places, it’s just not everyone seeing the same picture, that was a huge challenge for us.