Upgrade to Pro — share decks privately, control downloads, hide ads and more …

What Colocated Teams Can Learn From Remote Teams

What Colocated Teams Can Learn From Remote Teams

In today’s distributed world it is increasingly important to embrace some form of a distributed workplace. Whether your team sits in the same room or in separate home offices around the world, there are certain practices you can follow that not only make your team more remote- friendly, but more inclusive, diverse and scalable. This talk takes a look at the practices of thriving remote teams — specifically their adoption of a written culture — and highlights that these best practices are beneficial to all teams, distributed or otherwise.


Noelle Daley

May 14, 2019

More Decks by Noelle Daley

Other Decks in Technology


  1. What Colocated Teams Can Learn From Remote Teams Noelle Daley

    @elnoelle DevOps Days Zurich 2019
  2. Hello! My name is Noelle I live in Portland, Oregon

    I work at HashiCorp 2
  3. My team 3

  4. Hopes, dreams, fears Why it matters Written culture, autonomy, empathy

  5. Who did I talk to? 5 Remote & partially remote

    teams Software Engineers Managers & directors DevOps Engineers
  6. Why do companies go remote? Cost effective Hiring Global users

    More sane pager rotations 6
  7. Why are companies apprehensive? Bias that we work better together

    in person Tradition Change management Time zones Lack of trust 7
  8. What are the challenges of remote work? Information siloing Getting

    help Time zones Empathy Work-life separation 8
  9. ...these can be challenges for colocated teams too!

  10. Successful remote teams have to rethink
 decision making, communication,

  11. How do they do this? 11 1 Written culture 2

    Autonomy 3 Empathy
  12. Written Culture Moving from an implicit to explicit culture 1

  13. Implicit Culture Implied Spoken Synchronous Explicit Culture Directly communicated Written

  14. Where does implicit culture break down? Going on vacation Getting

    sick Not being in the room Differing communication styles 14
  15. Where does implicit culture break down? Places burden of knowledge

    sharing on a select few Hard to learn from past experiences 15
  16. 16 How do I shift to a written culture?

  17. If you’re making an important decision, slow down and document

  18. Document decision making RFCs Often used for product
 or feature

    releases Summarize changes,
 context, relevant links, abandoned ideas and implementation details
  19. Document decision making DACI Can be used for technical and

    process decisions
 Explicitly state roles for people making the decision
  20. “ Having a document where you can write up all

    the options, pros and cons, explicitly state roles for people involved in making the decision, and discuss it, has meant we actually are able to make decisions and have historical context for why we made them and what we considered when we did. 20
  21. Document decision making Decision logs Include: - Date - Summary

    of decision - Relevant links - Point people 21
  22. Prioritize public, asynchronous communication.

  23. Make “right now” communication the exception, not the rule.

  24. Public, async communication Understand when to use group chat, email,

    or a video or phone call Group chat: urgent, immediate questions Public channels > private DMs 24
  25. Public, async communication Email, RFCs: long form Express ideas at

    a time vs. thoughts at a time 25
  26. Public, async communication Notecards & post-its: IRL brainstorming Video or

    phone calls: building relationships, diagramming 26
  27. Public, asynchronous communication helps move away from implied consensus.

  28. “ People talk about some work in the chat room

    and nobody objects. That leads people to assume everyone read that discussion and agreed. Decisions get made without people’s consent because they weren’t there at the very moment it was discussed…. ‘right now’ is rarely the moment to both have the discussion and come to a conclusion. - Jason Fried 28 Implied Consensus
  29. Autonomy Trusting people to do their best work 2

  30. Autonomy Allow people the flexibility to work when & how

    they work best Flexible hours Flexible environments 30
  31. Trust and autonomy allow people to take care of themselves

    and do their best work.
  32. Autonomy Allow long periods of uninterrupted time to get things

    done “Burst” style communication leads to better results 32
  33. Autonomy It’s okay to be unavailable Being unavailable should signal

    you’re working, not taking a break (but please take breaks) 33
  34. “ As someone with chronic mental health stressors, I’m sensitive

    to my surroundings. When I’m in the same space for a long enough time my thinking becomes limited. Changing up physical space helps me get out of my mental rut. 34
  35. “ For people with families the flexibility that comes with

    being remote for a day or two and not having it affect your performance or perceived performance is important. When we were adopting my son it was critical that we had flexibility for court dates and social workers to come at any time. 35
  36. Empathy Establishing respect and connection 3

  37. Respect Boundaries Pay attention to working hours Use Slack statuses

    Use the appropriate communication channel 37
  38. Set aside time for each other

  39. Set aside time for each other

  40. In summary 40

  41. The things that make remote work work also make IRL

    work better.
  42. Written culture Communicate explicitly Empathy Respect & connect Autonomy Trust

  43. These changes pave the way for greater diversity and inclusivity.

  44. They ensure that people with different abilities, communication styles, and

    backgrounds can participate in decision making & culture.
  45. The more diverse we are, the better results we produce.

  46. Slow down Write it down Listen Trust people

  47. 47 Thanks! Any questions? @elnoelle

  48. Further reading Atlassian DACI Playbook Noelle Daley, “What Colocated Teams

    Can Learn From Remote Teams" Jason Fried, Is group chat making you sweat? Signal V. Noise Christoph Riedl and Anita Williams Woolley “Bursty” Communication Can Help Remote Teams Thrive Behavioral Scientist