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Growing and Managing Distributed Teams

Growing and Managing Distributed Teams

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David Copeland

October 26, 2018
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  1. GROWING & MANAGING DISTRIBUTED TEAMS Dave Copeland Director of Engineering

    @ STITCH FIX @davetron5000
  2. STITCH FIX Wants to Look Good Style Profile Stylist Warehouse

    •Customer Experience •WMS •Buying/Planning •Customer Service •Styling •Payments •etc.
  3. GROWTH & DISTRIBUTED TEAM 2013 $secret (but not much :)

    Revenue Engineering Team Me IC HQ 50% Remote 50% 4 Engineers
  4. GROWTH & DISTRIBUTED TEAM 2013 $secret (but not much :)

    Revenue Engineering Team Me 2018 $1.2B IC Tech Lead UK Expansion 2014 $73M Manager 2016 $730M Director HQ 33% Remote 66% HQ 50% Remote 50% 4 Engineers 180 Engineers IPO!
  5. WHY? Larger & More Diverse Hiring Pool Practices for Scale

  6. HIRING IS A FUNNEL Your Metro Area

  7. HIRING IS A FUNNEL Your Metro Area The Whole Country

    ! or World
  8. DIVERSE TEAMS PERFORM BETTER Harvard Business Review
 https://hbr.org/2016/11/why-diverse-teams-are-smarter Forbes
 https://www.forbes.com/sites/eriklarson/2017/09/21/new-

    research-diversity-inclusion-better-decision-making-at-work Inc
 https://www.inc.com/greg-satell/science-says-diversity-can-make- your-team-more-productive-but-not-without-effort.html
  9. HIRING IS A FUNNEL Your Metro Area The Whole Country

    ! or World
  10. HIRING IS A FUNNEL Your Metro Area The Whole Country

    ! or World
  11. HIRING IS A FUNNEL Your Metro Area The Whole Country

    ! or World
  12. Co-Located PRACTICES THAT SCALE Works Ad-Hoc

  13. Co-Located Breaks Down Fast ☹ PRACTICES THAT SCALE

  14. Co-Located Structure & Organization Required PRACTICES THAT SCALE

  15. Distributed Structure & Organization Required PRACTICES THAT SCALE

  16. Distributed These Structures Scale PRACTICES THAT SCALE

  17. THINGS TO BE AWARE OF Benefits laws • Contractor laws

    • Tax nexus Please work with an HR professional
  18. EMPATHY CLEAR EXPECTATIONS FEEDBACK

  19. …the capacity to understand or feel what another person is

    experiencing from within their frame of reference… —Wikipedia EMPATHY
  20. WHAT IS A DISTRIBUTED TEAM LIKE? •No instant communication •Not

    awake/working at the same time •No illusion of productivity •No automatic humanization
 Not Physically Present
  21. AND HOW TO USE THEM ESTABLISH CHANNELS OF COMMUNICATION

  22. ASYNCHRONOUS CHANNELS Your Team Outside World Pacific Mountain Central Eastern

    Aleutian Atlantic
  23. ASYNCHRONOUS Email Shared/Collaborative Documents (e.g. Google Docs) Text Chat Code

  24. Your Team Outside World Pacific Mountain Central Eastern Aleutian Atlantic

    SYNCHRONOUS CHANNELS
  25. SYNCHRONOUS Text Chat Video Chat In Person

  26. HOW TO USE THE CHANNELS Aware Respond Escalate How aware

    are you of information coming into the channel? How quickly do you respond to requests? When do you escalate to a higher- bandwidth channel?
  27. PAVE “COW PATHS” AT FIRST ITERATE VIA EMPATHY, OBSERVATION, AND

    FEEDBACK
  28. EMPATHY CLEAR EXPECTATIONS FEEDBACK

  29. Hiring Onboarding Day to Day SCALING

  30. HIRING Hiring is assessment—assess for ability to work remote Ensure

    they understand the ways of working
  31. ONBOARDING Empathize - they will never be more alone than

    their first day Also: never more open to feedback Clear goals • Constant Contact • Lifeline
  32. DAILY LIFE What do I do? How do I do

    it? Did I do it right? What happens next?
  33. FEEDBACK IS HARD •Programming is a not a profession of

    critique or review •Text & Asynchronous Feedback is hard Cultivate a Culture of Trust, Empathy, and Authenticity
  34. TRUST Capability Can you do it? Consistency Can you do

    it reliably? Motivation Are you doing it for the right reasons?
  35. CAPABILITY Objective and clear assessment of work product, level, etc.

  36. CONSISTENCY Create a stable environment for execution —a level playing

    field Beware “HQ bias” and “Timezone bias”
  37. MOTIVATION Be transparent about yours Never guess at someone else’s

    Always assume good intentions
  38. OBSERVE & COACH

  39. HUMANIZE BY MODELING & ENCOURAGING AUTHENTICITY & EMPATHY

  40. What We Are Discussing What’s going on with me? (Authenticity)

    What’s going on with you? (Empathy) HUMANIZE ANY CONVERSATION
  41. THIS STRUCTURE SCALES WHEN DEMOGRAPHICS HOLD

  42. People in New Situations That Stretch You

  43. Ways of Communicating Assess Candidates Onboard Feedback SUMMARY

  44. WAIT… ISN’T THIS JUST “RUNNING AN ENGINEERING TEAM”?

  45. YES…BUT MORE EXPLICIT MORE OFTEN SOONER THAN YOU THINK

  46. EMPATHY CLEAR EXPECTATIONS FEEDBACK