[Indie.vc] How to Manage a Remote Team Well

[Indie.vc] How to Manage a Remote Team Well

Learn more at http://knowyourteam.com ⚡️

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Claire Lew

May 29, 2020
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    @clairejlew | I N D I E . V C

    S P E A K E R S E R I E S How to Manage a Remote Team Well
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    “ ” - DAME STEPHANIE “STEVE” SHIRLEY Founder and CEO

    of Freelance Programmers, one of the first successful remote tech companies in the UK in the 1960s. Remote work has less to do with the tools and more to do with effective management practices.
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    “ ” - SENIOR CANADIAN GOVERNMENT OFFICIAL WHO PARTICIPATED IN

    CALLS WITH CANADIAN PRIME MINISTER As told to Reuters 
 You can run a G7 country from home.
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    I N D I E . V C S P

    E A K E R S E R I E S How to Manage a Remote Team Well
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A TODAY Mindset Action
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A TODAY Principles Practice
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A TODAY 5 principles + practices to focus on first.
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    1

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    “Being a good writer is an essential part of being

    a good remote worker.” - Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson, Co-founders of Basecamp in Remote
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A Announcement meeting Team-wide memo Project kick-off Long-form message Decision discussion Long-form message Brainstorm Long-form message Question Message
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A We use Basecamp. HERE AT KYT But other tools remote managers use include Asana, Confluence, Email, GetGuru, Google Docs, Notion, Smartsheets, Threads, Trello, Twist.
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A Give more people time to triage. Give more people time to think. Easier to share info. ADVANTAGES
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A Less reactive culture. More thoughtful decisions. More transparency of info. ADVANTAGES
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A Higher quality output + calmer work environment. ADVANTAGES
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    “Trust your team... Work only gets done when you allow

    people to make mistakes.” - Paul Farnell, Co-founder of Litmus
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    “Our founder and CEO, Peldi Guilizzoni, shows a lot of

    confidence and trust in us. I would guess that we all actually work more effectively than we did in previous jobs where the most important thing was “looking busy” for the boss... Being so distributed, we couldn’t function without valuing trust and autonomy. Peldi doesn’t micromanage. At this point, he couldn’t, even if he wanted to.” - Leon Barnard, a UX Designer and Writer at Balsamiq
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A #1: You ask, “Just checking in on this?” before project is due. #2: You say: “Here’s how I would do it…” before person asks you. #3: You mentally log when someone appears online or offline. #4: You say: “Let me just do it…” #5: You ask: “Can you ‘cc’ me on that?” 5 SIGNS of MICROMANAGEMENT
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A #1: Offer grace and kindness during these tough times. #2: Make it clear what’s expected and why it’s important. #3: Have an automated way to share progress. DO THIS
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A #1: Offer grace and kindness during these tough times. #2: Make it clear what’s expected and why it’s important. #3: Have an automated way to share progress. DO THIS
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A #1: Offer grace and kindness during these tough times. #2: Make it clear what’s expected and why it’s important. #3: Have an automated way to share progress. #4: Have regular weekly or biweekly 1:1 meetings. DO THIS
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A • How should we define success? • Is the definition of success clear? • What do you need from me to be successful? • What’s the best way to share progress about this project? • When is it most helpful for you to loop me in? • How much context would you like upfront before I hand-off a project or a task? • What are you most worried about getting “wrong” with the project? • Do you like new ideas and suggestions for ways to do things? Or do you prefer to be heads-down a bit before I interject and offer suggestions? • What’s the best way to define if something is “done” or high quality? QUESTIONS TO ASK TO AVOID MICROMANAGING
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    Use our One-on-Ones Tool in KYT to get question suggestions

    like these + prepare for your 1:1 meetings.
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A • What time zones are everyone working in? How will this be communicated? • What are the expected working hours each person has? What should the overlapping working hours for folks in different time zones be? • If you need to be offline to run an errand or are in a meeting, how will that be communicated? • How will it be communicated when someone is sick or feeling unwell? • Are there any times team members should not be disturbed? • What’s the expected response time to messages? Does that vary depending on what the message is, or the channel that it is delivered in? Q’s AROUND TIMING
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    “Choose the right channel of communication according to the necessity

    of the task you’re working on.” - GitLab’s “Remote manifesto” for their 700+ remote employees
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A • What’s the default mode of communication? Collaboration tool? Email? Video call? Chat? Phone call? • Which channel / tool should be used for which kind of communication? • Who else should be copied on a message, if anyone? • When something is urgent, how should it be communicated? What about when it’s not? • What’s the right cadence for checking in on a certain communication? 
 Q’s ON MESSAGE + CHANNEL
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A • Default mode of communication –> Basecamp. • Urgent –> Basecamp Pings. • Decisions, ideas, announcements, etc. –> Basecamp Messages • Tasks –> Basecamp To-Dos • Explanations –> Loom • Status updates –> KYT Heartbeat Check-in • Company feedback –> KYT Culture Question • Fun non-work related conversation –> KYT Social Question • 1:1 meeting prep –> KYT One-on-Ones Tool • All-team meetings, 1:1 meetings, strategy meetings –> Zoom • Messages don’t need to be responded to unless there is a @NAME. (Response is expected ~24 hours.) • Pings should be responded to within a few hours, during working hours only. HERE AT KYT
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    Know Your Team’s How We Work Basecamp’s How We Work

    Buffer’s 10 Slack Agreements GitLab's Remote Communication Handbook Automattic’s Communication Expectations EXAMPLES
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    • “If you are going to be offline to take

    care of some personal things during the day, please notify your direct team on their Slack channel.” • “If you are planning to work at odd hours schedule for a few days, please let everybody know up-front.” EXAMPLE
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    Be conscious of how sarcasm comes off in text +

    writing. Follow up and clarify with someone, “Did that land okay?” or “Just to be clear, I meant X…” Let your team know that it’s okay if a kid runs into the frame or a cat appears in the background of a Zoom call. EXAMPLES
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    These processes should NOT be a burden, nor should people

    be penalized for not following them.
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    of remote workers said that loneliness was the biggest downside

    of remote work. 20% (2020 State of Remote Work survey by Buffer and AngelList of over 3,500 remote workers)
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    of managers and employees said they would be more inclined

    to stay if they had more friends at work. 60% (Survey of over 2,000 managers by Future Workplace and Virgin Pulse)
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    Individuals who have 15 minutes to socialize with colleagues had

    a 20% (Study of 25,000 call center agents, cited in the book, The Village Effect, by Susan Pinker) increase in performance over their peers who didn’t.
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A • What was your first job? • Have you ever met anyone famous? • What are you reading right now? • If you could pick up a new skill in an instant, what would it be? • Who’s someone you really admire? • Got any favorite quotes? • Anything you decided to “binge watch” recently? • What was your favorite band 10 years ago? • What’s your earliest memory? TRY THESE
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    Build a “Buddy System” (51% of remote managers and employees

    do this, according to our 2019 survey of 297 remote managers and employees.)
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A Assign someone an official “mentor” with whom they have 1:1s weekly or bi-weekly to ask questions. Randomly pairing 2 - 3 people every week to have a fun video chat over something non-work related. EXAMPLES
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A Help Scout organizes 15 - 30 minute coffee breaks over video between randomly assigned team members, called “Fikas.” Litmus, every week, they get “Coworker Coffees” over video, drink beers on Skype and play video games online. Other remote teams will hold book club discussions or have specific topics for video chats such as food, music, sports, etc. EXAMPLES
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A Have a #pets channel in Slack and ask everyone to share their pet pictures. Use the Campfire in Basecamp to say “Good morning” to everyone when you hop online. EXAMPLES
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    of managers say that one-on-ones positively affect their team’s performance.

    89% (August 2018 survey with 531 managers and 365 employees)
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    35% of managers hold 1:1s weekly 29% of managers hold

    1:1s bi-weekly 23% of managers hold 1:1s once a month 9% of managers hold 1:1s bimonthly 3% of managers hold 1:1s every 6 months
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    35% of managers hold 1:1s weekly 29% of managers hold

    1:1s bi-weekly 23% of managers hold 1:1s once a month 9% of managers hold 1:1s bimonthly 3% of managers hold 1:1s every 6 months
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    of employees say their managers are NOT prepared for their

    one-on-one meetings. 41% (August 2018 survey of 518 managers and 365 employees)
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    Questions around specific moments of energy FOCUS AREAS Concerns /

    Issues. Feedback on Performance. Career Direction. Personal Connection.
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    Questions around specific moments of energy AGENDA Catching up (5

    min.) • How are you feeling with all the uncertainty lately? Concerns / Issues (20 min.) • How do you feel about the workload? Where is it unreasonable? • Is there anything that feels troubling or concerning to you about the direction of the team? Feedback (20 min.) • How are you feeling about this transition to remote work? Anything I can help make more clear? • What about my management style can I improve or adapt, to best support you during these times? Takeaways / Next Steps (5 min.)
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    Read our Guide to One-on-One Meetings in KYT to learn

    more best practices on running effective 1:1s.
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    Use our One-on-Ones Tool in KYT to get question suggestions

    like these + prepare for your 1:1 meetings.
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    Today Why this matters How to give difficult feedback well

    Key situations Q&A Over-communication is helpful. The more everyone proactively shares progress + concerns, the better. Empathize empathy. Not sure what someone meant by their note? Assume positive intent. Feeling bothered by the way someone communicated their request? Kindly share the feedback of what you observed + how you’d like things to be different next time. LET YOUR TEAM KNOW
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    Q&A

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    Remote managers all over the world benefit massively from our

    tools to share status updates, get team feedback, build rapport, and hold effective 1:1s. kyt.tips/indie
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    Get KYT for 50% off as an Indie.vc company ⚡

    kyt.tips/indie (use this link!)
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    If you haven’t already, you can read our “Guide to

    Managing Remote Teams” for free. https://kyt.tips/remote-guide kyt.tips/remote-guide