Remote & Local - Getting the Best of Both Worlds

Remote & Local - Getting the Best of Both Worlds

Our company is traditional in many ways, one of which being the need to come into the office each day. Our team of software developers bucks that trend, spreading across 6 states and 4 countries. Dev teams consider themselves "Remote First", while DevOps and Application Support are "Local First." Each has adopted tools, habits, and practices to maximize their configuration. Each style has learned valuable lessons from the other. This presentation is about how our teams have evolved: the tools, the compromises, the wins and losses, and how we successfully blend Distributed and Concentrated teams.


Ben Klang

April 27, 2017


  1. Local & Remote Getting the Best of Both Worlds

  2. About Me

  3. Previously: Founder of Remote-First Company Ben Klang 10-year Rubyist 20

    years in Open Source Currently: VP of Business Technology Supporting: 51 People 7 Scrum Teams 6 States 4 Countries
  4. What types of teams exist?

  5. Local Teams

  6. Remote Teams

  7. Mixed Teams

  8. Mixed Teams

  9. Mixed Teams

  10. Mixed Teams

  11. Local Teams Win.

  12. But We Want To Be Remote

  13. 53% of job seekers say remote options are a top

  14. 11% higher job satisfaction among
 remote workers vs. on-site

  15. 1. Application Support 2. Infrastructure Support 3. Junior Developer Teams

    Not Everyone Can Be Remote
  16. What are the benefits of enabling Remote teams?

  17. Benefits to Employers Broader Applicant Pool Best Person < 50

  18. Benefits to Employers Broader Applicant Pool Best Person +/- 3

  19. Benefits to Employers Broader Applicant Pool Best Person For The

  20. Benefits to Employees One Size Does Not Fit All Live

    & Work Where You Choose
  21. Mutual Benefits

  22. Mutual Benefits Life Is Not Static Location Independence Adds Longevity

  23. What are the Challenges?

  24. What are the Challenges? 1. 2. 3. Communication Communication Communication

  25. Communication Challenge #1 Timezones Rule of Thumb: +/- 3 Hours

  26. Communication Challenge #2 Deep Understanding “The single biggest problem in

    communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
  27. Communication Challenge #2 Deep Understanding

  28. Communication Challenge #2 Deep Understanding Start Date W-2 or 1099

    Extend Offer Offer Accepted Collect Travel Info: Full Name Date of Birth Home Airport TSA Known Trav. # Loyalty Pgm #s Notify Talent Acquisition & HR of start Notify Talent Acquisition to send offer letter Local or Remote? Rem ote Request HQ Travel Order Computer Equipment W -2 Notify HR to send Paperwork HR Paperwork, Benefits & Orientation Shadowing Ninjas Sales Training & Factory Tour Developer Environment Setup First commit/ deploy to production Introduction to Ninjas Shadowing Ninjas Sales Training & Factory Tour Introduction to Dev Process Demo/Retro Observation Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday AM PM First Week
  29. Communication Challenge #3 Perceptions & Distractions “If I can’t see

    them at their desks, How can I be sure they are working?” – Pointy-Haired Bosses
  30. Communication Challenge #3 Perceptions & Distractions “My team lead is

    always multi-tasking, does she take me seriously?” – Remote Employees
  31. Communication Challenge #3 Perceptions & Distractions

  32. Communication Challenge #3 Perceptions & Distractions

  33. How Power does it: 
 Maximize the benefits of each

    style Identify and address the challenges
  34. 1. Small Teams: 3-5 people 2. Consistent Teams: all remote

    or all local It Starts with Structure
  35. 1. Scrum It Up •Daily standups •Retrospectives 2. Emphasize remote-friendly

    communication •Code Reviews •Text Chat •Video Conferencing & Screen Sharing •Diagrams It Continues with Process
  36. 1. Regular face-to-face meetings 2. Lunch & Learns via Video

    Conference 3. Coffee Dates (Coming Soon!) It Finishes with Culture
  37. Optimizing Local Teams

  38. Optimizing for Local

  39. Optimizing for Local

  40. Optimizing for Local

  41. Optimizing for Local

  42. Optimizing Remote Teams

  43. Optimizing for Remote

  44. Optimizing for Remote

  45. Optimizing for Remote

  46. Summary

  47. 1.Optimize local teams for
 face-to-face interactions 2.Develop tools & practices

    to communicate with remote people 3.Don’t accept status quo -
 always be improving Summary
 Many thanks to Martin Fowler for this article

    - Job site for remote positions Further Reading
  49. Ben Klang @bklang