I'm working on my next game with Gerald Kelley. He's been doing the art and helping out on the design. We both live in Chicago, but we've never actually worked in the same place. This necessitated a digital workflow that worked well for us. We started using Trello recently, and so far it's been working great. This process borrows heavily from a variety of software development processes, but has been tweaked to work well for a team of two.
The underlying concept of our Trello workflow is working in one-week milestones. If you're unfamiliar with Trello, the general concept is that you have a bunch of lists, and all of these lists have cards. These cards can have a description, comments, checklists, images, etc.
Our first two lists are backlogs of everything that has to be done before the game can be released (a sort of GTD approach to storing everything outside your brain). One list is for development, and the other list is for art. Every Monday we go through our lists and pick out the cards that we think we can accomplish that week. Weekly quantity is chosen to keep us on track for our deadline.
The next list, the To Do list, consists of the cards that we wish to complete that week. As the week progresses we move whatever we are working on into another list titled, the Doing list. As a rule of thumb I generally try to keep only one or two development tasks in the Doing list. I can't do more than one thing at a time anyways, and if I get blocked I move the card back into the To Do list until I can continue working on it. This helps stop me from getting paralyzed by work.
The final list in the flow is the Completed list. This list is recreated every week and named for the work period. Recreating it is important. It means that at the end of the week you can archive the whole list and you'll always have access to a record of everything you did that week.
When adding items we typically always put them in the appropriate backlog (dev or art). This way the weekly allotment of work stays at what the person allotting it felt was reasonable, and no person is messing with the other person's work.
We currently also use some lists for non-actionable items (i.e. things that can't be broken into a checklist of tasks). For example, discussions on branding, marketing, potential features, are currently in an "Ideas" list. However, I don't think this is the key part of the workflow, and I'm casually looking for alternatives that would let us break this work and discussion out into something separate. Potentially a separate Trello board would be good enough for this.
The biggest drawback this current workflow has is that it can be somewhat difficult to keep tabs on the work that others are doing. Currently we're only two people, so it's relatively manageable, but going through the activity log every time I load up Trello to try and catch up with what Gerald's been doing is not very pleasant. Trello logs everything. Whether it's checking off individual items on a checklist, moving a card, leaving a note for yourself, or leaving a comment for someone else, everything shows up in one place. The log also includes all of your own work so it's easy to miss a small update from your teammate if it's buried amongst you checking off 15 things on a checklist.
Our current workaround for this is to tag each other in updates that are important to the other person. However, it's easy to forget to do this, and sometimes there are updates from others that you'd like to know about, but there was no reason for them to explicitly tag you.
So far using Trello this way has worked very well for us. The only thing we've changed is that originally I was writing weekly review emails every Monday. These would summarize what was done in the last week and look at the week ahead. However, archiving the weekly Done card has allowed us to much more easily keep track of this. It also doesn't require me to spend time writing a 700 word email. I don't think we've lost the self-reflection on the progress made, and the improvements we'd like to make for next week, by stopping the weekly e-mail, either.
Hopefully this has been useful to you if you're looking for a way to organize a remote project with a small team. I'd love to hear if what you think and if you have any other Trello advice on Twitter.