From my experience after working on several projects with distributed and remote teams, I came to the conclusion that the friction in distributed working is high and there is no better way to solve this than agile retrospective.
The first step in creating a SASS product like Retroly is to research and understand the landscape and users' expectations. The visual approach in Retroly is to create an extremely easy-to-use interface and give a polished look for the app even as an MVP.
To ensure we have a flexible design, I started with designing a design system which contains the Retroly foundation and components. This was very useful as we understand the problem space better. We were able to quickly redesign the pages while keeping to the visual style.
Using the lean framework, I worked with a team of two developers. I constantly get user feedback to improve and set the most important features to build.