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Working Effectively Across Spacetime

Nate Ebel
August 28, 2018
160

Working Effectively Across Spacetime

Remote work is becoming more and more popular, but how do you build and maintain effective teams that are spread throughout space and time?

Engaged, effective remote teams don't happen by accident. They require buy-in, trust, communication and empathy. Thankfully, there are a variety of strategies & tools that help make a remote team effective and enjoyable.

In this talk we'll explore
- common concerns & how to handle them
- effective communication strategies
- how to handle different timezones
- tools to make remote workflows nice and smooth
- how to keep your team engaged and productive

Nate Ebel

August 28, 2018
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Transcript

  1. View Slide

  2. About Me
    - Android dev at Udacity
    - last 2+ years fully remote
    - currently based in Seattle
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 2

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  3. Our Team
    - 75% remote
    - 2 continents
    - 3 countries
    - 4 timezones
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 3

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  4. remote work sounds
    great
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 4

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  5. Increasing Popularity
    - 60% companies offer telecommuting opportunities 1
    - 37% would change jobs to work where the want 2
    - 11.5%/year increase in fully remote programmers 2
    2 Gallup - https://news.gallup.com/reports/199961/7.aspx
    1 2016 Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) benefits survey
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 5

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  6. remote success
    doesn't happen by
    accident
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 6

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  7. How can teams work
    effectively when spread
    across locations and
    timezones?
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 7

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  8. Working Effectively Across Spacetime
    Requires:
    - trust
    - communication
    - engagement
    - proper tools
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 8

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  9. Working Effectively Across Spacetime
    What We'll Cover:
    - benefits & challenges
    - communication strategies
    - team engagement
    - common questions
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 9

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  10. What Is A Remote Team?
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 10

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  11. What Is A Remote Team?
    - email & chat from a mobile device?
    - work from home once in a while?
    - one person that isn't colocated?
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 11

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  12. Our Definition Of Remote?
    - remote first
    - spread across locations & timezones
    - practices & technologies in place
    - 5% increase from 2012 - 2016 2
    2 Gallup - https://news.gallup.com/reports/199961/7.aspx
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 12

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  13. Why The Distinction?
    - differences in technology, policies, workflows
    - easier to let things slide
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 13

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  14. View Slide

  15. The Benefits
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 15

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  16. What's the biggest
    benefit to working
    remotely? 3
    3 Buffer - State of Remote Work 2018 Report
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 16

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  17. Individual Benefits: Time
    - 53% say greater work/life balance "very important" 2
    - less travel time & expense
    - more time with family & friends
    2 Gallup - https://news.gallup.com/reports/199961/7.aspx
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 17

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  18. Individual Benefits: Flexibility
    - flexible hours
    - flexible location
    - cost of living
    - new location != new job
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 18

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  19. Individual Benefits: Productivity
    - control over working environment
    - fewer distractions -> increased flow
    - 10-15% increase in productivity with less
    observation 4
    4 http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0001839212453028
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 19

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  20. "90% of remote workers plan
    on working remotely for the
    rest of their careers" 3
    3 Buffer - State of Remote Work 2018 Report
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 20

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  21. Organization/Team Benefits
    - lower costs
    - larger talent pool
    - diversity
    - increased retention
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 21

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  22. Organization/Team Benefits
    - easier meetings/scheduling
    - increased productivity
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 22

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  23. The Challenges
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 23

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  24. Organization: Support
    - must invest in supportive technologies
    - must develop clear policies & expectations
    - must trust employees
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 24

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  25. Organization: Hiring
    - larger talent pool to screen
    - screening a more diverse set of applicants
    - selecting for remote-friendly traits
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 25

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  26. Team: Engagement
    - full team communication
    - equal contribution
    - team building
    - timezones
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 26

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  27. What's the biggest
    struggle with working
    remotely? 3
    3 Buffer - State of Remote Work 2018 Report
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 27

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  28. Individual
    - staying productive
    - boundaries
    - isolation
    - no catering/snacks/perks
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 28

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  29. View Slide

  30. Communication Is Key
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 30

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  31. Communication
    - set expectations
    - be intentional
    - embrace various mediums
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 31

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  32. Communication: Set Expectations
    - async communication
    - core hours
    - define where communication happens
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 32

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  33. Communication: Be Intentional
    - over communicate
    - document & share your work
    - share questions, concerns, ideas
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 33

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  34. Communication: Different Mediums
    - escalate when needed
    - use video, emoji, images to make up for lack of non-
    verbal cues
    - always put a face to the voice
    - find a quite space for video
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 34

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  35. Intentional Engagement
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 35

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  36. Engagement
    - must be first-party citizens
    - buy in
    - trust from day one
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 36

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  37. Engagement: Group Involvement
    - regular sync ups & 1:1s
    - encourage casual communication
    - schedule time to chat as a team
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 37

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  38. Engagement: Group Involvement
    - make time to discuss & brainstorm in a high-
    bandwidth manner
    - value/seek input & views from everyone
    - groups > 1:1
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 38

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  39. Engagement: Team Building
    - team on-sites
    - shared activity weeks: hackathons, tech-debt, etc
    - lunch & learn, conferences, etc
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 39

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  40. Engagement: Build Connections
    - assume good intent
    - protect 1:1 time with manager
    - make yourself visible
    - build relationships
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 40

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  41. Refined Workflows
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 41

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  42. Workflows: Planning
    - diligently plan
    - document & update requirements
    - enable async assessment of progress
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 42

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  43. Workflows: Code & Design Review
    - blend async & video review
    - escalate when appropriate
    - leverage available tools
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 43

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  44. Workflows: Pair Programming
    - still fully possible
    - video chat & screen share
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 44

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  45. Workflows: QA
    - group video & screen share
    - images & video are invaluable
    - shared documents
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 45

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  46. Build Your Toolbox
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 46

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  47. Tools
    - must have proper technology available
    - network connection is your lifeline
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 47

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  48. Tools: Chat & Video
    - Slack
    - Hangouts, Zoom
    - Google Docs, Sheets, Forms, etc
    - Vysor
    - auto-add video to meetings & conference rooms
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 48

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  49. Tools: Planning & Documentation
    - Jira, Trello, GitHub issues
    - Confluence, GitHub wiki
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 49

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  50. Tools: Code & Design
    - GitHub, GitLab
    - InVision
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 50

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  51. Tools: Secret Sharing
    - LastPass, Dashlane
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 51

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  52. Tools: Misc
    - World Time Buddy
    - Doodle
    - Slack polls
    - QuickTime, screenshot
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 52

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  53. View Slide

  54. "Do you work in your
    pajamas every day?"
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 54

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  55. "How do you manage
    working across timezone
    differences?"
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 55

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  56. "How do you stay productive
    when not in an office?"
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 56

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  57. "Don't you get lonely working
    from home?"
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 57

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  58. Working Effectively
    Across Spacetime
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 58

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  59. View Slide

  60. Effective Remote Teams
    - communicate intentionally
    - cultivate engagement
    - develop remote-first workflows
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18 60

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  61. Thank You
    with("n8ebel").apply {
    Twitter
    YouTube
    .com
    Medium
    Facebook
    }
    @n8ebel #DCNYC18

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