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Effective Communication In A Remote First World

Effective Communication In A Remote First World

2020 has seen a seismic shift in how we work across the IT industry. Remote working, previously the choice of a small minority of IT professionals, has become the de-facto standard. This trend is likely to strengthen as workers and companies embrace the myriad potential benefits. The companies that will thrive in this brave new world will be those who can adapt most nimbly. Unfortunately, many have lurched into this situation with little deliberate thought on how their approach to communication should evolve to suit this new operating context. Simply substituting in-person meetings for virtual ones misses the major opportunities to eliminate waste, boost organisational memory and enhance engagement.

Join Rob as he shares the lessons he’s learned leading delivery teams across five timezones and three continents on the path towards remote working. We will take an in-depth look at communication from three perspectives; intra-team, inter-team, and finally customer-facing. For each of these focus areas, we will explore:

* How to choose the optimal channel for a given interaction
* Why asynchronous communication is more important than ever and what skills are required to make it shine
* Why tooling represents one aspect of the solution but is far from a silver bullet

Additionally, we will see how leaders can maintain strategic alignment and avoid feelings of isolation within their team. By the end of the session, you will not only understand how to communicate effectively while working remotely but also have the knowledge to put this into practice. If you want to improve the quality of your remote interactions with others, then this is the session for you.

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Rob Crowley

October 14, 2020
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Transcript

  1. EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION IN A REMOTE FIRST WORLD @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  2. COMMUNICATION PROCESS CULTURE WHAT WE’LL BE COVERING @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  3. PROCESS TEAM ORG COLLEAGUE WHAT WE’LL BE COVERING

  4. ME NOW: HEAD OF ENGINEERING @VIX TECHNOLOGY PREV: PRINCIPAL CONSULTANT

    @TELSTRA PURPLE @DDDPERTH CO-ORGANISER RECOVERING RFC ADDICT + = ROBDCROWLEY ARCHITECTURE TRAGIC
  5. @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY Remote Working? 3,2,1 JUMP!

  6. INSPECT + ADAPT QUANTITATIVE + QUALITATIVE @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  7. 70% 70% of colleagues felt more productive working remotely than

    in the office 92% 92% of colleagues felt aligned with the company mission and have the context required to operate effectively 75% 75% of colleagues believe that Vix is open to new methods of working to improve productivity and effectiveness 84% 84% of respondents felt empowered to do their jobs VIX FLEXIBLE WORKING SURVEY @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  8. 60% 60% of respondents felt that working remotely had not

    impacted the quality of their interactions with other colleagues. OPPORTUNITIES TO IMPROVE @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  9. Colleagues who had been working flexibly had increased their productivity,

    work-life balance and feelings of empowerment @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  10. The question then became, how could we make remote working

    a sustainable approach? @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  11. CULTURE MOVING TOWARDS A SHARED TRUTH

  12. communication noun the imparting or exchanging of information between two

    or more people by speaking, writing, or using some other medium. @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  13. ENGINEERING AT VIX CLOUD OPERATIONS TEAM ENGINEERING DEVELOPMENT CENTRE @ROBDCROWLEY

    #NDCSYDNEY
  14. 4 4 COUNTRIES 3 TIMEZONES 103 TEAM MEMBERS 15+ NATIONALITIES

    103 15+ 3 ENGINEERING AT VIX @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  15. There are tougher challenges to overcome with remote communication than

    temporal coupling @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  16. Cultural patterns of behaviour and belief frequently impact our perceptions

    (what we see), cognitions (what we think), and actions (what we do) ERIN MEYER – THE CULTURE MAP
  17. “ “ Culture is the collective programming of the mind

    which distinguishes the members of one group from another GEERT HOFSTEDE @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  18. CULTURAL DIMENSIONS POWER DISTANCE INDULGENCE UNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE LONG TERM ORIENTATION

    INDIVIDUALITY MASCULINITY HOFSTEDE’S CULTURAL DIMENSIONS @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  19. LOW POWER DISTANCE HIGH POWER DISTANCE POWER DISTANCE @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  20. COLLECTIVISM INDIVIDUALISM INDIVIDUALISM @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  21. COLLECTIVISM INDIVIDUALISM LOW POWER DISTANCE HIGH POWER DISTANCE

  22. FEMININE VALUES MASCULINE VALUES MASCULINITY @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  23. LOW UNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE HIGH UNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE UNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  24. LOW UNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE HIGH UNCERTAINTY AVOIDANCE FEMININE VALUES MASCULINE VALUES

  25. Education tends to amplify the dominant cultural tendencies within an

    individual @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  26. When interacting with someone from another culture, watch more, listen

    more, and speak less @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  27. Minimise use of colloquialisms, idioms and localised expressions @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  28. MONOCULTURE @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  29. Misunderstandings are inevitable. Nip issues in the bud before they

    escalate @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  30. CULTURE § COMMUNICATION IS HARD, CROSS CULTURAL COMMUNICATION IS EVEN

    HARDER § CULTURAL ENGAGEMENT FIRST, THEN PROCESS IMPROVEMENTS § HOFSTEDE’S DIMENSIONS ILLUMINATE THE CULTURAL VALUES OF COUNTRIES § DO NOT TRY AND CREATE A MONOCULTURE, IT WILL HURT IN THE LONG RUN § DISAGREEMENTS AND MISUNDERSTANDINGS WILL OCCUR, MOVE ON
  31. PROCESS HOW TO COMMUNICATE REMOTELY

  32. “ “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion

    that it has taken place GEORGE BERNARD SHAW @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  33. TRANSIENT PERSISTENT ASYNCHRONOUS SYNCHRONOUS EMAIL VIRTUAL MEETINGS WIKIS COLLABORATIVE DOCUMENTS

    WORK MANAGEMENT TOOLS INSTANT CHAT A MODEL COMMUNICATION ARCHITECTURE IN PERSON MEETINGS RECORDED VIRTUAL MEETINGS THE MAJORITY OF COMMUNICATION SHOULD OCCUR WITHIN THESE TOOLS AND CHANNELS @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  34. Codify the desired usage patterns for semi- synchronous tools. Failure

    do so will lead to existing behaviours being replicated @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  35. LEADERS @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  36. An engaged HR team is a wonderful asset @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  37. ORGANISATION REMOTE COMMUNICATION

  38. VALUES ⇒ PRINCIPLES ⇒ BEHAVIOUR @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  39. CASE STUDY: FRAUDULENT VALUES @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  40. Define clear guidelines that codify the rules of etiquette for

    organisation wide communication @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  41. A company’s goals as well as its scale and maturity

    will drive the level of guidance required @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  42. CASE STUDY: COMMUNICATION GUIDELINES @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  43. ANNOUNCEMENTS ONE-WAY STATUS UPDATES

  44. ANNOUNCEMENTS SHOULD BE... AVAILABLE REFERENCEABLE PERSISTENT @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  45. SO WHY DO WE CHOOSE EMAIL WHEN IT HAS EXACTLY

    ZERO OF THESE PROPERTIES? @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  46. Email is decentralized so there’s no permanent record in a

    permanent place everyone can see @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  47. So how can we steer use away from email? @ROBDCROWLEY

    #NDCSYDNEY
  48. Hi team, The NDC Sydney agenda is out and it

    looks great. I’m thrilled be speaking at the event again this year and sharing our journey with remote working. You can find out more about the session on the NDC website. NDC { Sydney } > Agenda > Remote Communication Thanks, Rob BREADCRUMB MENU MIRRORING THE ACCESS PATH WITHIN THE APPLICATION @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  49. Bonus Round: Pay attention to content metadata tags to improve

    searchability @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  50. CONTEXT TOWARDS SHARED UNDERSTANDING

  51. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like bananas. “

    “ Groucho Marx @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  52. A Leader’s Prerogative: Hire great people and give them the

    context required to enable effective distributed decision making @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  53. Effective communication requires context @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  54. Be specific around the context of the update to ensure

    that shared understand is achieved @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  55. START WITH WHY THE REQUIRED AMOUNT WILL DEPEND ON YOUR

    AUDIENCE @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  56. WHY > HOW > WHAT OUR VALUES OUR PRINCIPLES OUR

    BEHAVIOUR @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  57. Corollary: The further from where the decision was made, the

    stronger the focus on the why needs to be @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  58. Short video messages are incredibly powerful @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  59. Write content when it’s convenient for you but publish when

    it’s convenient for your audience @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  60. EFFECTIVE VS EFFICIENT COMMUNICATION @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  61. Communicating extraneous information between teams is waste @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  62. Over communication of information that is not germane to a

    team increases cognitive load @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  63. Team boundaries are critical in a remote working environment @ROBDCROWLEY

    #NDCSYDNEY
  64. The problem with taking the org chart at face value

    is that we end up trying to architect people as if they were software, neatly keeping their communication within the accepted lines TEAM TOPOLOGIES
  65. TEAM TOPOLOGIES STREAM COMPLICATED SUBSYSTEM ENABLING PLATFORM @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  66. MAKING TEAM INTERACTIONS EXPLICIT X AS A SERVICE FACILITATING COLLABORATION

    @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  67. ORGANISATION COMMS § COMMUNICATION REQUIRES CONTEXT, SHARING THE WHY IS

    CRITICAL § CHOOSE CHANNELS WITH ADEQUATE BANDWIDTH FOR THE TARGET AUDIENCE § EFFECTIVENESS IS THE PRIORITY, EFFICIENCY IS AN OPTIMISATION
  68. TEAM REMOTE COMMUNICATION

  69. In teamwork, silence isn’t golden, ‘ “ “ John Sanford

    It’s deadly @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  70. The ability to communicate asynchronously is the most valuable skill

    a team can learn @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  71. Choose the most asynchronous channel that has the required social

    bandwidth to support the effective exchange of the information @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  72. The Problem Of Now @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  73. TEAM MEETINGS TWO-WAY GROUP COLLABORATION

  74. Use meetings judiciously. Consider them a fallback, not the default

    @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  75. CERTIFY, DON’T BRIEF INCREASED FOCUS ACTIVE VS PASSIVE LEADER-LEADER INTERACTIONS

    SHORTER DURATION @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  76. GROUP CHAT TWO-WAY GROUP COLLABORATION

  77. Newsflash! Group chat considered harmful @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  78. Group chat is like being in an all-day meeting, with

    random participants, and no agenda @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  79. Rule of Thumb: More than three back and forth exchanges

    on a design topic, then go long form @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  80. TRUST THE CATALYST FOR HIGH PERFORMING TEAMS

  81. Asymmetry of information leads to an erosion of trust @ROBDCROWLEY

    #NDCSYDNEY
  82. A CLASSIC CASE OF INFORMATON ASYMMETRY @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  83. Remote workers polling for information updates is a strong indicator

    of information asymmetry @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  84. TRANSPARENCY IS THE SOLUTION MAKE WORK VISIBLE @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  85. CASE STUDY: EMAIL TRANSPARENCY @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  86. TEAM COMMS § ASYNCHRONOUS OFTEN, SYCHRONOUS SELDOM. THIS IS A

    SKILL! § MEETINGS ARE EXPENSIVE, SHARE THE CONTEXT UPFRONT § CHAT IS GREAT FOR QUICK EXCHANGES BUT BE WARY OF GROUP CHAT § INFORMATION SILOING ERODES TRUST. TRANSARENCY IS THE BEST DEFENCE
  87. TEAM MEMBER REMOTE COMMUNICATION

  88. “ “Communication – the human connection – is the key

    to personal and career success PAUL J MEYER @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  89. Working Out Loud Observable Work + Narrating Your Work @ROBDCROWLEY

    #NDCSYDNEY
  90. TEAM MEMBER COMMS @ROBDCROWLEY § MAKE YOUR WORK VISIBLE AND

    EXPLAIN YOUR APPROACH AND THINKING § SET CLEARING LEARNING GOALS AND LOOK FOR OPPORTUNITIES TO SHARE § BE OPEN TO FEEDBACK, IT WILL COME IN MANY FORMS!
  91. BEYOND 2020 PREDICTIONS FOR FUTURE ENVIRONMENTS @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  92. Communication worsened within regions but improved across regions @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  93. The shift to remote working had inadvertently democratised communication @ROBDCROWLEY

    #NDCSYDNEY
  94. Hybrid working environments offer the worst of both worlds @ROBDCROWLEY

    #NDCSYDNEY
  95. Hybrid working environments demand that multiple colleague experiences are delivered

    @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  96. While companies had little time to prepare for remote working,

    they should consider any change to stop or change it very carefully @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  97. TAKEAWAYS @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  98. @ROBDCROWLEY | ROBDCROWLEY THANK YOU!

  99. QUESTIONS @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  100. RESOURCES @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY

  101. § The Basecamp Guide to Internal Communication: https://basecamp.com/guides/how-we-communicate § The

    Gitlab Communication Handbook: https://about.gitlab.com/handbook/communication/ § Hofstede Insights: https://www.hofstede-insights.com/product/compare-countries § Stripe Email Transparency: https://stripe.com/blog/email-transparency RESOURCES @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  102. § Start With Why | Simon Sinek: https://youtu.be/u4ZoJKF_VuA RESOURCES @ROBDCROWLEY

    #NDCSYDNEY
  103. § Outliers | Malcolm Gladwell § To Sell Is Human

    | Dan Pink § The Culture Map | Erin Meyer § Turn The Ship Around | David Marquet § Team Topologies | Matthew Skelton & Manuel Pais READING LIST @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY
  104. § Country flag icons made by Pixel perfect from www.flaticon.com

    § Images source from www.pexels.com ATTRIBUTION @ROBDCROWLEY #NDCSYDNEY