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Managing Remote Teams

Managing Remote Teams

My take on managing remote teams: be more proactively a good manager.
And some practical advice.

Tutti Quintella

June 02, 2020

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  1. Background • Software Engineer for about 7~8 years • From

    Engineer to Engineering Manager • From EM to D&I and People Development • Became the manager of a new team already remotely
  2. Foundations of good management (remote or non-remote) • Build trust

    and a safe environment • Help to build the necessary relationships • Conflict management, stakeholder management • Execution management based on trust and autonomy • Clear communication about goals, priorities, expectations, extra context, etc • Motivation and career management
  3. Challenges of remote work & causes • Loneliness ◦ Harder

    to make personal connections, to feel included • Communication & collaboration ◦ Higher chances of missed/avoided communication, misinterpretation, conflicts • Hard to unplug from work ◦ Unclear expectations on availability and productivity ◦ Anxiety of feeling unproductive, lonely, FOMO ◦ Struggles with time-management
  4. Loneliness, harder to make connections • Encourage activities to develop

    personal connections ◦ More team-building, coffee time regular friendly communication online (jokes, casual topics, etc) ◦ Introduce members to new people (especially new members) ◦ Get to know your members by asking more about their personal interests • If necessary, more 1:1s or meetings/events with other teams
  5. Preventing miscommunication & conflicts • Put extra effort into making

    text communication clearer, especially intentions behind your messages ◦ Use emojis and reactions to add emotion/tone!! • Make asynchronous communication low-context but concise/structured/easy to read • If needed, establish rules to always react to messages when you've read them, even if you can't answer right away • Don't let things get lost, invest more in documentation • Increase sync meetings if needed • Invest in cross-team building
  6. "Does anyone have any comments?" (30 seconds of silence) "So

    I was thinking… Sorry, what? …. I was saying… Oh, sorry, go ahead." Level up your meeting facilitation skills
  7. Level up your meeting facilitation skills • Structured agenda •

    Proactively invite people to speak • Have someone write down notes simultaneously • Repeat out loud and write down conclusions • Deal with the awkward silence when waiting for someone to speak • When needed, send summaries or reminders about discussions on Slack to get people's confirmation
  8. Hard to unplug from work (Anxiety about availability, expectations, FOMO)

    How to foster Psychological Safety: • Constantly reassure what's NOT expected (to be always online, to answer right away, to handle everything on their own, to be aware of everything that's happening, etc) • Share your own failures, insecurities, struggles • Talk casually about your human side (waking up late, cheating on your diet, binge watching a TV show, etc) • Treat mistakes/slips as learning experiences and recognize the courage for taking risks
  9. Hard to unplug from work (Feeling unproductive, poor time-management) •

    Task management systems ◦ To-do lists or task boards ◦ Daily stand-ups, etc • Time-management techniques ◦ Start the day setting priorities on a to-do list (max of 3~4 items) ◦ Blocks for focus time
  10. Be mindful of the current situation: this is not normal

    WFH Focus on well-being! Hard to unplug from work (Well-being)
  11. First: Take care of YOU! Then help your team. Well-being

    techniques: • Add breaks between your meetings ◦ Remote meetings tend to use up all the time. Always ask if people need a 3~5 min break to get up of their chairs, get some water, etc • Purposefully add some changes of environment in your day ◦ Get out of your desk for lunch, go do something that's not on the computer right after work time (you can come back to the computer later if you want, but create the break space to take your mind out of work) • Having a routine • Exercise (even the smallest thing) • Meditation Hard to unplug from work (Well-being)