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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

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

    teams Software Engineers Managers & directors DevOps Engineers
  2. Why are companies apprehensive? Bias that we work better together

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

    help Time zones Empathy Work-life separation 8
  4. Where does implicit culture break down? Going on vacation Getting

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

    sharing on a select few Hard to learn from past experiences 15
  6. Document decision making RFCs Often used for product
 or feature

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

    process decisions
 Explicitly state roles for people making the decision
  8. “ 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
  9. Document decision making Decision logs Include: - Date - Summary

    of decision - Relevant links - Point people 21
  10. 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
  11. Public, async communication Notecards & post-its: IRL brainstorming Video or

    phone calls: building relationships, diagramming 26
  12. “ 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
  13. Autonomy Allow people the flexibility to work when & how

    they work best Flexible hours Flexible environments 30
  14. Autonomy Allow long periods of uninterrupted time to get things

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

    you’re working, not taking a break (but please take breaks) 33
  16. “ 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
  17. “ 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
  18. Respect Boundaries Pay attention to working hours Use Slack statuses

    Use the appropriate communication channel 37
  19. They ensure that people with different abilities, communication styles, and

    backgrounds can participate in decision making & culture.
  20. 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