Jacob Baytelman

Building software since 1998

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Efficient Management of Remote Teams

Now when you and your team #StayHome and #WorkRemotely let me share with you a few tips from my experience with remote software development since 2006.

Talk to everybody in your team, personally, one-to-one and find out what they need to remain productive. Perhaps someone needs a PC, so send them their PCs from the office. Or a desk, or a chair. Show how you care, it is super important in the turbulent time.

Discuss flexible hours and do not be naive to expect people to work from home 9 to 6. Somebody starts earlier, others might need to spend day time with their children and prefer to work late at night or contribute more hours during the weekend. Do not try to force them work 8 (9, whatever) hours a day. Instead give each of them a clear task and ask when they think this task will be done. Extrapolate on your work plan, if the overall pace is not reasonable, tell this guy or gal that you need to give it a stronger push otherwise your project is in danger.

Generally, talk to them, explain where you are standing, what are your goals for this week, this month, next month. Be open and give them the sense of confidence, make them feel responsible for your common success of failure. Foster this mutual "care-care" attitude: they know you will do everything for them and in return they pay you the same coin. After all they are big enough to realise that everyone can be replaced.

Talk to each of them every morning or whenever they start their working day. Remind the task for today. Make sure you are crystal clear and understood. Follow up with a Trello ticket or whatever you use to manage tasks. Check later during the day how it is going. Make a rule to finish every day with result submission - a report to the customer, release to production, update for QA, etc. You need to see the results, your boss or client needs to see the results, and your guys need to have a border between "I am working" and "I have finished for today, here is what I have done".

Know exactly when each of your guys works and do not bother them in their free time unless it is an emergency. By the way, Gmail has a wonderful feature "Schedule send".

Use Google Docs or other collaboration tools to see your team's progress in the real time. Do not use any trackers of your guys presence at their desk(tops), respect each other.

J.Baytelman March, 2020