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


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    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
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    53% of job seekers say remote options are a top

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

    communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” – George Bernard Shaw
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    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
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    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
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    Communication Challenge #3 Perceptions & Distractions “My team lead is

    always multi-tasking, does she take me seriously?” – Remote Employees
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    How Power does it: 
 Maximize the benefits of each

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

    or all local It Starts with Structure
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    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
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    1. Regular face-to-face meetings 2. Lunch & Learns via Video

    Conference 3. Coffee Dates (Coming Soon!) It Finishes with Culture
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    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