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A Collection of Best Practices around
Remote Work and Remote Project Delivery
from the Who is Who of Remote Working.
The 5...
Why this guide?
 Lots of Great Resources
There are by now lots of great resources on working remotely.
 Focus on Working...
There Are Good
Reasons for Virtualization
1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps ...
Resources
Have best resources possible/available in and outside of
the company
Flexibility
Flexibly react to new challenge...
“Dispersed teams can
actually outperform groups
that are collocated.”
“To succeed, however, virtual collaboration must be
...
The Cost Savings Story
 The Background
Moving work to cheaper locations has been the hype in
the last years. Simply googl...
Current Key Challenges for
Remote Teams
 Isolation and lack of Integration
• Most studies and articles are looking at rem...
Current Key Challenges for
Remote Teams
Most of these challenges are due to weak
management and poor staffing.
Reference
I...
Special Challenges for Projects
 A project is in many ways different from standard
operations.
• Not 1 or 2 new people to...
“Virtual Working Has Its
Benefits If Done Right”
“Remote work is on the rise, and there’s research that
makes it a very co...
Culture, Team, Tools, Processes
Building Blocks of
Successful Virtual Teams
Culture Team
Tools Processes
Virtual
Teams
Reference
Harvard Business Review, Sean Graber, «Why Remote Work Thrives in Som...
Culture
 All must be on board
The concept of remote & virtual teams must be fully embraced
by the organization
References...
Team
 People, People, People
What location used to be for people are for remote teams.
Careful hiring is underestimated. ...
Team
 Autonomy and Leadership
To be effective, remote teams need full autonomy and a leader
(PM, if you will) who has a s...
Processes
 Clear Processes
Clear processes have been singled out as the key success
factor to make remote teams succeed.
...
Tools
 Tools Support Processes
Tools should support processes and usage of the tools must be
firmly aligned.
Tools should...
Culture, Team, Tools, Processes
Building Successful
Virtual Teams
How to Build: Culture
 Virtual a Must
Set this delivery model as a must for a certain category of
projects.
 No Exceptio...
How to Build: Teams
 Resourcing / Hiring
Careful selection of the team becomes more important than
ever.
 Who should hir...
How to Build: Teams
 What to look for in new hires (so true)
• Hire Doers
Doers will get stuff done even if they are in T...
How to Setup: Processes
 Standardized Project Delivery
The approach to deliver projects should be standardized and
harmon...
How to Setup: Processes
 All team members should be clear about
• Why it is done (why do we have a certain process in pla...
How to Setup: Tools
 Tools Support Processes
Tools should not drive processes. That is why in the previous
listing tools ...
How to Setup: Tools
 Slack, Hipchat, Yammer and similar. Serve as an easy
communication tool for chats or discussions in ...
How to Setup: Tools
 Dropbox, Google Drive or other file sharing services in the
cloud. A no-brainer at this point, they ...
How to Setup: Tools
 Skype. Make sure your team has some sort of software that is
regularly used for video chats. Many al...
Culture, Team, Tools, Processes
Common Gaps and
How to Overcome Them
Common Culture Gaps
 Gap: Culture is not ready
The concept of remote or virtual collaboration is not embraced
by the whol...
Common Team Gaps
 Gap: Resource Hiring / Selection Without Right Focus
Team selection becomes even more important. All su...
Common Tool & Process Gaps
 Gap: Standardized Ways of Documentation Handling
Everyone hates it when they cannot find the ...
Common Tool & Process Gaps
 Gap: No clear guidelines on communications and
meetings
People do not know how to communicate...
Culture, Team, Tools, Processes
New Ways of Working
New Ways of Working: Culture
 Most critical steps in setting up a project are:
• Forming the team
• Initial set up of the...
New WoW: Regular Meetings
 Project Kickoff
 Town Hall / All hands meetings
 Team Meetings
 Daily Progress / Status Mee...
Project Kickoff
 Onsite Kick-off
• One of the most critical initial activities in the project. It should be onsite. If
no...
Town Halls / All Hands Meetings
 Purpose: Keep all aligned on overall goals & developments
 Content: Leadership Team sho...
Daily Team ‘Standup’ Meetings
 Purpose: Keep everyone aligned on today’s tasks & priorities
• This has proven to work wel...
Daily Team ‘Standup’ Meetings
 Participants: Team Lead (Owner), direct reports plus
additional participants as required
...
Weekly Team Meetings
 Purpose: Keep everyone aligned on long term plan and tasks
• The purpose is for each team member to...
Resource Development
 Purpose: Ensure proper management and development of all
resources
• In a remote team more than in ...
Resource Development
 Questions:
4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good
work?
5....
Resource Development
 Open Question:
• Any other concerns / worries / comments? This is for both the team member
and the ...
New WoW: Communications –
Ad-hoc and Informal
 Informal
• Project related of general interest or for a specific group
• P...
Project Related of General
Interest
 Purpose: Keep everyone informed on topics of general
interest
• This can be any info...
Project Related for a Specific
Group
 Purpose: Keep a specific group informed on a topic
• This can be information, annou...
Project Related for Audience
Outside of the Project
 Purpose: Keep people outside of the project informed
• This can be a...
Project Related Ad-hoc with One
or More Persons
 Purpose: Ad-hoc alignment on a specific topic
 Content:
• Classic case ...
Chit Chat and Banter at a Virtual
Water Cooler
 Purpose: Build better personal relationships
 Content:
• Anything unrela...
Buddy System
 Purpose: Facilitate onboarding of new team members and
building team spirit
 Content:
• It proves helpful ...
Buddy System
 Frequency: Daily call
 Format: Video
References
Gregory Ciotti: The first few days are incredibly awkward....
Lightning Talks
 Purpose: Provide visibility, open up dialogue, provide new
perspectives
 Content:
• In regular interval...
To know where to store and find documents
Documentation
Documentation
 Clear Guidelines
In a team that works across several continents and different
time zones you do not want t...
General Project Documentation
 General Project Information
This refers to more static information that should be easily
a...
Actions, Risks, Issues
 Risks / Issues / Actions / Tasks
It is often underestimated not having a simple task management
t...
General Communications
 Communications Outside the Project Team
Any communication destined for a wider audience without a...
Deliverables
 Deliverables and Supporting Documentation
All other project documentation should be stored in the
appropria...
Advise
Small Piece of
Like Going on a Diet
 Do not stop
Same ways of working apply for the full duration of the project.
There might be a tende...
Being aware of and
using the right way of
communication is
essential when working
remotely!
Great Links and References
Appendix
References
Sequence of references is no indicator of importance. These are all worth reading.
 Wade Foster from zapier.co...
References
 Sean Graber from Virtuali in Harvard Business Review
Great article on why remote work works for some companie...
References
 Jeff Atwood from Stack Exchange and Discourse
Great article on how he made remote work work with his team.
ht...
References
 Walter Chen from iDoneThis
Short but to the point – pushing the essentials.
http://blog.idonethis.com/remote-...
References
 Great Sites focusing on Remote Working
https://remote.co/ created by Sara Sutton Fell
http://remotive.io/ cre...
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Complete Guide to Remote Work and Remote Project Delivery

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A Collection of Best Practices around Remote Work and Remote Project Delivery from the Who is Who of Remote Working.
There are plenty of great guides for remote work but few consider that quite a lot of work is nowadays done remotely. Be it with the offshore team in India or your colleagues in the US to align sales strategies, financial implications of activities, running your IT. This presentation tries to be a practical guide for your average remote interaction which for a lot of people is not very satisfying.

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Complete Guide to Remote Work and Remote Project Delivery

  1. 1. A Collection of Best Practices around Remote Work and Remote Project Delivery from the Who is Who of Remote Working. The 5 Steps We Used to Setup Remote Working Successfully 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  2. 2. Why this guide?  Lots of Great Resources There are by now lots of great resources on working remotely.  Focus on Working from Home Most of them focus on working from home. Which is a very valid and ever increasing arrangement for a lot of people.  Remote is more Common Than One Thinks Few consider that quite a lot of work is nowadays done remotely. Be it with the offshore team in India or your colleagues in the US to align sales strategies, financial implications of activities, running your IT. This presentation tries to be a practical guide for your average remote interaction which for a lot of people is not very satisfying. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  3. 3. There Are Good Reasons for Virtualization 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  4. 4. Resources Have best resources possible/available in and outside of the company Flexibility Flexibly react to new challenges, i.e. change, build new efficient teams as required, i.e. IT and non-IT Efficiency Improve efficiency of existing virtual teams Cost Save cost by hiring cheaper and get existing virtual teams to work more efficiently 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  5. 5. “Dispersed teams can actually outperform groups that are collocated.” “To succeed, however, virtual collaboration must be managed in specific ways.” Reference Sloanreview: ”How to manage virtual teams”, Frank Siebdrat, Martin Hoegl and Holger Ernst http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-to-manage-virtual- teams/?use_credit=0a2a51dac6138826127f093500461d91 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  6. 6. The Cost Savings Story  The Background Moving work to cheaper locations has been the hype in the last years. Simply google near- and offshoring.  A Simple Case • Yearly cost of a junior developer in the US: 100,000 USD • Yearly cost of a junior developer in Germany: 60,000 USD • Yearly cost of a junior developer in India: 20,000 USD  Challenges • But as a lot of you might have experienced, working with someone far away has its own set of challenges, apart from half of his family dying, disappearing and other bizarre challenges your remote colleagues sometimes seem to be dealing with. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  7. 7. Current Key Challenges for Remote Teams  Isolation and lack of Integration • Most studies and articles are looking at remote working purely working alone from home and not at distributed teams. • Still a level of isolation remains if all other people in your office work on different projects unrelated to yours.  Supposed Inefficiency and low productivity • People seem to fade away and become unavailable and less productive.  Mixed teams (office based and remote) not being treated equally • It is often observed that decisions are being made by the office team gradually making the remote workers second class project members. http://joel.is/questions-i-ask-myself-about-working-as-distributed/ 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  8. 8. Current Key Challenges for Remote Teams Most of these challenges are due to weak management and poor staffing. Reference In German we have a saying that the fish always starts to smell at the head... 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  9. 9. Special Challenges for Projects  A project is in many ways different from standard operations. • Not 1 or 2 new people to an existing team but 10 new people and often no common basis to work from. • Quickly developing requirements and deliverables every day with challenges raised on an ongoing basis in and outside of the project. • Building the virtual team will be during the form and storm phase – everyone in the team is trying to find their place - of a project team. • Often the work focus is still in flux so tasks and who does what are not clarified. • Power challenges can happen until everyone finds their place. Form, Storm, Norm, Perform Reference Tuckman's stages of group development: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tuckman%27s_stages_of_gr oup_development 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  10. 10. “Virtual Working Has Its Benefits If Done Right” “Remote work is on the rise, and there’s research that makes it a very compelling proposition: one Stanford study found that employees who work from home work, on average, 9.5% longer than those who work in an office (a lot easier to do when you don’t have an hour-long commute), and are also 13% more productive.” Reference Stanford University: ” DOES WORKING FROM HOME WORK? EVIDENCE FROM A CHINESE EXPERIMENT”, Nicholas Bloom, James Liang, John Roberts, Zhichun Jenny Ying https://web.stanford.edu/~nbloom/WFH.pdf 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  11. 11. Culture, Team, Tools, Processes Building Blocks of Successful Virtual Teams
  12. 12. Culture Team Tools Processes Virtual Teams Reference Harvard Business Review, Sean Graber, «Why Remote Work Thrives in Some Companies and Fails in Others», March 20, 2015 https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-remote-work-thrives-in-some-companies-and-fails-in-others Sloanreview: ”How to manage virtual teams”, Frank Siebdrat, Martin Hoegl and Holger Ernst, http://sloanreview.mit.edu/article/how-to-manage-virtual-teams/?use_credit=0a2a51dac6138826127f093500461d91 Wade Foster: ”How to run a remote team”, April 2015, https://zapier.com/learn/the-ultimate-guide-to-remote-working/how-manage-remote-team/ Gregory Ciotti: ” Why Remote Teams Are the Future (and How to Make Them Work)”, Oct 23, 2013, http://www.helpscout.net/blog/virtual-teams// 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  13. 13. Culture  All must be on board The concept of remote & virtual teams must be fully embraced by the organization References Harvard Business Review Successful remote work is based on three core principles: communication, coordination, and culture. Broadly speaking, communication is the ability to exchange information, coordination is the ability to work toward a common goal, and culture is a shared set of customs that foster trust and engagement. In order for remote work to be successful, companies (and teams within them) must create clear processes that support each of these principles. https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-remote-work-thrives-in-some-companies-and-fails-in-others Joel Gascoigne, CEO Buffer The decision to be a distributed team During the few months I spent focused on the decision of whether to commit to Buffer being a distributed team, I sought advice from many people. Some of the best advice I received was from David Cancel, who I had the chance to sit down with and chat over coffee. His key insight was that in his experience founding a number of companies so far, he has found that two scenarios work well, while one doesn’t work too well. He advised that we either be fully distributed, or have everyone in the same office. David said that the time he had a main office with the majority of people there and only one or two people working remotely, that didn’t work so well. http://joel.is/questions-i-ask-myself-about-working-as-distributed/ 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  14. 14. Team  People, People, People What location used to be for people are for remote teams. Careful hiring is underestimated. But it has a complete different dimension when working together virtually. Just remember that it took AirBnB 5 months for their first hire.  Responsibility and Ownership Each team member has much more responsibility to manage their own work and ownership to drive it forward. References Gregory Ciotti: To boost the performance of its teams, a company needs to implement the appropriate mechanisms for boosting both socio-emotional and task-related processes. • Emphasize teamwork skills • Promote self-leadership across the team • Provide for face-to-face meetings • Foster a “global culture.” http://www.helpscout.net/blog/virtual-teams/ 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  15. 15. Team  Autonomy and Leadership To be effective, remote teams need full autonomy and a leader (PM, if you will) who has a strong vision and the power to fully execute on that vision. References Harvard Business Review states that a “connected team is a motivated team”. Few things motivate people more than a strong connection with teammates, which creates an obligation to do well. https://hbr.org/2014/11/what-maslows-hierarchy-wont-tell-you-about-motivation Jeff Atwood “On Working Remotely“: To be effective, remote teams need full autonomy and a leader (PM, if you will) who has a strong vision and the power to fully execute on that vision. http://blog.codinghorror.com/on-working-remotely/ 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  16. 16. Processes  Clear Processes Clear processes have been singled out as the key success factor to make remote teams succeed.  Technology vs. Processes Many companies focus too much on technology and not enough on process. This is akin to trying to fix a sports team’s performance by buying better equipment. These adjustments alone might result in minor improvements, but real change requires a return to fundamentals. References Harvard Business Review: ...Successful remote work is based on three core principles: communication, coordination, and culture. Broadly speaking, communication is the ability to exchange information, coordination is the ability to work toward a common goal, and culture is a shared set of customs that foster trust and engagement. In order for remote work to be successful, companies (and teams within them) must create clear processes that support each of these principles. https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-remote-work-thrives-in-some-companies-and-fails-in-others 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  17. 17. Tools  Tools Support Processes Tools should support processes and usage of the tools must be firmly aligned. Tools should not drive processes. There are no ideal tools not processes. Each organization needs to figure out what works for them best. References Harvard Business Review: ...Successful remote work is based on three core principles: communication, coordination, and culture. Broadly speaking, communication is the ability to exchange information, coordination is the ability to work toward a common goal, and culture is a shared set of customs that foster trust and engagement. In order for remote work to be successful, companies (and teams within them) must create clear processes that support each of these principles. https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-remote-work-thrives-in-some-companies-and-fails-in-others 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  18. 18. Culture, Team, Tools, Processes Building Successful Virtual Teams
  19. 19. How to Build: Culture  Virtual a Must Set this delivery model as a must for a certain category of projects.  No Exceptions The whole organization stands behind it and supports this as the new way forward.  Stick to Ground Rules Lay out ground rules – behavioral and process wise to avoid creating outsiders. References Gregory Ciotti: Always assume miscommunication over malice. The remote worker’s version of Hanlon’s razor. Some interactions will feel cold due to the human tendency to misinterpret emotionless text. Jokes and sarcasm don’t translate perfectly, there’s no body language to interpret, and conversations via chat can be interrupted at any time, making it laughably easy to assume a severe tone where one wasn’t intended. Stick to assuming positive intent; when working with great people, you’ll rarely be wrong. You are responsible for giving context. We went a few months this year without a single internal update on how the blog was doing, and that was on me. I thought everyone outside marketing wasn’t interested, but of course that was false—the best teams want to know a little about how everything works. This small sampling brings peace of mind and even helps improve your own work. I look forward to every support update, for example, because I get to learn that much more about our customers. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  20. 20. How to Build: Teams  Resourcing / Hiring Careful selection of the team becomes more important than ever.  Who should hire? Not everyone is good at everything. Some people are not good at selecting great people. See who has a good track record for picking great candidates and involve them in the process.  Selecting a Candidate and Trial Run Rethink the hiring process. Best practice is to do a test run with a selected candidate. Work on a small project for a few days.  Non-Performers Equally the quick removal of non performers is essential. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  21. 21. How to Build: Teams  What to look for in new hires (so true) • Hire Doers Doers will get stuff done even if they are in Timbuktu. You don't have to give doers tasks to know that something will get done. You'll still have to provide direction and guidance around the most important things to be executed, but in the absence of that, a doer will make something happen. • Hire people you can trust Remote work stops working when you can't trust the person on the other end of the line. If you continually find yourself worrying what someone is doing, then you are spending brain cycles focusing on something other than the product. Trust is key. • Trust the people you hire The flip side of this is you also need to exhibit trust with the people you hire. As a manager, you need to learn to manage by expectations rather than by "butts in seat," so make sure you can show trust in those you hire. • Hire people who can write In a co-located office, a lot of information is shared in-person. In a remote situation, everything is shared via written communication. Communication is one of the most important parts of remote team. Therefore, good writers are valuable. • Hire people who are ok without a social workplace It'll be important to try to create some social aspects with a remote team. But the truth of the matter is that remote workplaces are usually less social than co-located ones. People on remote teams need to be ok with that. And the best remote workers will thrive in this type of environment. References Wade Foster: https://zapier.com/learn/the-ultimate-guide-to-remote- working/how-manage-remote-team/ 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  22. 22. How to Setup: Processes  Standardized Project Delivery The approach to deliver projects should be standardized and harmonized. This will allow for an easy ramp up of experienced resources who will then in turn guide any new joiners. A lot of time is lost if everyone starts from scratch.  Clear Structure & Formats It helps a lot if you know what is stored where in which format. It might sound over engineered but once you start working it is more confusing if each functional spec, user story, strategy paper, code documentation looks different. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  23. 23. How to Setup: Processes  All team members should be clear about • Why it is done (why do we have a certain process in place) • How it is done (methodology – same approach) • What and when it is done (standardized project plans & task lists) • Where it is done (This includes supporting tools like Asana and folder structures, ...) • What to communicate to whom, when and where  Sign-off / Handshake It helps to have a sort of handshake for each task / deliverable. After explaining it the recipient explains it back and then both agree that they are fine. Sometimes it is better to agree a follow up. Tasks need to sink in and while working on it new points come up that no one thought of. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  24. 24. How to Setup: Tools  Tools Support Processes Tools should not drive processes. That is why in the previous listing tools are only listed as supporting tools. There is large variety of great tools and each organization should test out what works best for them. We have listed here a few that is worth looking into. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  25. 25. How to Setup: Tools  Slack, Hipchat, Yammer and similar. Serve as an easy communication tool for chats or discussions in channels. The big advantage is the asynchronous communication allowing each participant to answer when is fits.  Basecamp, Asana , Jira and similar. This makes it absurdly easy to keep schedules in check, offering ways for your entire team to view and update projects and plan out what needs to get accomplished next.  Trello. Used in conjunction with Basecamp, a team working from anywhere can see what’s already been done and what is “on deck” to get tackled next.  P2 or iDoneThis. For regular updates, you can use P2, or if you prefer a simple daily email, set up iDoneThis to get a daily digest of what your team did that day. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  26. 26. How to Setup: Tools  Dropbox, Google Drive or other file sharing services in the cloud. A no-brainer at this point, they eliminate the worry of not having access to a particular file because it’s only on one person’s hard drive.  Google Docs, Draft. It’s likely that your team will need to have quite a few written pieces of content viewed by others. Draft offers a great solution in that is a great substitute for Google Docs to make written collaboration easy.  Join.me. For those “must show” and can’t tell scenarios, Join.me offers easy screen sharing so that everyone on your team can view a presentation, workflow, or any other event that happens on your screen. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  27. 27. How to Setup: Tools  Skype. Make sure your team has some sort of software that is regularly used for video chats. Many alternatives are out there, such as GoToMeeting, or Google+ hangouts. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  28. 28. Culture, Team, Tools, Processes Common Gaps and How to Overcome Them
  29. 29. Common Culture Gaps  Gap: Culture is not ready The concept of remote or virtual collaboration is not embraced by the whole organization or all members of a team.  What to do: This will require clear and continuous communication strategy to promote remote / virtual teams and collaboration practices. Senior management needs to buy into it first and then cascade through the organization. Personal talks and convincing people one by one might be required. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  30. 30. Common Team Gaps  Gap: Resource Hiring / Selection Without Right Focus Team selection becomes even more important. All successful companies have a rigorous hiring process and usually put applicants on a probation period with a high degree of responsibility and autonomy.  What to do: Current processes need to be adjusted for this. A lot of this can be done outside standard HR processes. Especially the probation period should be used to assess how well someone is suited to work remotely and still delivers consistently. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  31. 31. Common Tool & Process Gaps  Gap: Standardized Ways of Documentation Handling Everyone hates it when they cannot find the latest Excel with those numbers or the paper on the next steps for that product launch.  What to do: Ensure easy and standardized ways of documentation handling. That includes templates and storage. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  32. 32. Common Tool & Process Gaps  Gap: No clear guidelines on communications and meetings People do not know how to communicate what using which channel.  What to do: Define clear communication and meeting guidelines. The most typical are: • Project wide communications / all hands meetings • Daily, Weekly Progress / Status Meetings • Meetings (incl. Rules when to plan) • And many more References Gregory Ciotti: Chat apps = shoulder taps. While the in-person distractions of an office are gone, company-wide messaging apps are the replacement. They’re useful for keeping emails to a minimum, but many people will have pings and alerts enabled, so messaging is still an interruption. That’s okay. Interruptions are necessary from time to time, but choose wisely. A messaging hierarchy that the whole team follows is helpful. Start with defining which messages are appropriate for which channels of communication. A whole set of guidelines can be found later in this document. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  33. 33. Culture, Team, Tools, Processes New Ways of Working
  34. 34. New Ways of Working: Culture  Most critical steps in setting up a project are: • Forming the team • Initial set up of the project • Growth until critical mass (sounds like a Startup but is the same for a project) This will all happen during a few very intense weeks. It might seem obvious but it is critical to create from the beginning a sense of ownership in the project team. The earlier the first members are brought on board and help creating the setup of the project the more they will own the approach and drive it throughout the duration of the project. References A great example is Facebook’s strategy to maintain its culture by pushing each employee to own it. http://www.fastcompany.com/3053776/behind-the-brand/how-facebook-keeps-scaling-its-culture http://www.fastcompany.com/3029448/bottom-line/the-woman-who-helped-defined-facebooks-culture-explains-how- startups-can-explain 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  35. 35. New WoW: Regular Meetings  Project Kickoff  Town Hall / All hands meetings  Team Meetings  Daily Progress / Status Meetings  Weekly Progress / Status Meetings  Personal development 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  36. 36. Project Kickoff  Onsite Kick-off • One of the most critical initial activities in the project. It should be onsite. If not possible then remote but your team will miss out on building the initial personal relationship. • Bring everyone together in one site and ensure that classical team building is done. • Special focus to be given to remote and virtual working practices and exercises that will highlight this. Work from their rooms on something compared to working physically collocated. • Further focus to be given to getting to know key remote counterparts. Doing some exercises to get first tasks done and deliverables started will help to form the team. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  37. 37. Town Halls / All Hands Meetings  Purpose: Keep all aligned on overall goals & developments  Content: Leadership Team should give regular updates about: • What was achieved, • What is planned, • What went well, • What went wrong and • What is planned next.  Participants: NVS Test Factory Lead (Owner), the whole team  Frequency & Duration: Depending on the changes during the initial phase of the project the frequency of this meeting can be from every day to every week or every month. Should not exceed 1 hour.  Preferred Format: Video call or video presentation 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  38. 38. Daily Team ‘Standup’ Meetings  Purpose: Keep everyone aligned on today’s tasks & priorities • This has proven to work well for any project and is borrowed from the standup meetings promoted by startups and agile methodologies. Given the remote nature of the project this meeting will be longer than the 15 minutes usually assigned. Half an hour seems to work well.  Content: • Lead summarizes progress, delays, what went well etc. • Each member gives a brief update on what was done since yesterday and focus of the day. • Lead then touches upon open and overdue items on task plan and issue log. Regular and correct updates are paramount when working remotely. • Any other business can be addressed.  Please note: Usually meetings should not go too much into detail. If a follow up is required then this should be done later with the right group of people. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  39. 39. Daily Team ‘Standup’ Meetings  Participants: Team Lead (Owner), direct reports plus additional participants as required  Frequency & Duration: daily between 15 to 30 min  Format: Video call with screen sharing  Daily Meetings – further considerations • Daily meetings should be cascaded down to other teams. From Leadership Team to the team level below so that everyone is on the same page. • Depending on the distribution of the team across time zones it might be necessary to run two meetings to ensure everyone is up-to-date. • Another reason to have two meetings is that the team that gets up earlier is aligned on the focus for the next day and clear on handover points. In this case the individual meetings can be shorter. • Nominate a time keeper to remind people to stick to their allocated time. • Mondays throw in something about private life, e.g. what you did the week- end. It helps the team to feel more connected. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  40. 40. Weekly Team Meetings  Purpose: Keep everyone aligned on long term plan and tasks • The purpose is for each team member to reflect upon the week and understand the big picture. Collate status and use prep time to ensure all bases are covered. Aim to keep meetings to an hour. Each team member can post their status update in a dedicated discussion thread or similar which can be pre-read so the meeting can focus on question and discussion. Everyone gets 5 minutes to ask questions not to report.  Content: • Lead summarizes key points of the week and gives outlook. • Either each team member gives a brief update on their area or each member gets a certain amount of time to ask questions about other areas. • In a second round the whole team should review how execution can or needs to be improved. All should prepare their views beforehand.  Participants: Team Lead (Owner), direct reports plus additional participants as required  Frequency & Duration: weekly for about 1 hour  Format: Video call with screen sharing 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  41. 41. Resource Development  Purpose: Ensure proper management and development of all resources • In a remote team more than in any other setting it is important to have regular meetings with each team member to understand how they feel, how they are, and how to best develop them. • Aim to keep meeting to an hour. It is suggested to go through the below questions to see how happy and fulfilled the employee is. The answers should be prepared and honest. It was proven scientifically that happy employees can answer yes to all 12 of them. • Last but not least, ensure some private topics are also covered to get to know each other. This can be hobbies, family, vacation anything the team member is interested in.  Questions: 1. Do I know what is expected of me at work? 2. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right? 3. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day? 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  42. 42. Resource Development  Questions: 4. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work? 5. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person? 6. Is there someone at work who encourages my development? 7. At work, do my opinions seem to count? 8. Does the mission / purpose of my company make me feel my job is important? 9. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work? 10. Do I have a best friend at work? 11. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress? 12. In this last year, have I had the opportunity at work to learn and grow? 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  43. 43. Resource Development  Open Question: • Any other concerns / worries / comments? This is for both the team member and the team lead.  Participants: Manager / Team Lead and Direct Reports following project structure  Frequency & Duration: monthly for about 1 hour  Format: Video call with screen sharing Reference Gallup Q12 https://strengths.gallup.com/private/resources/q12meta-analysis_flyer_gen_08%2008_bp.pdf 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  44. 44. New WoW: Communications – Ad-hoc and Informal  Informal • Project related of general interest or for a specific group • Project related regarding one person • Chit / Chat Banter • Buddy System  Ad-hoc Meetings (incl. Rules when to plan)  Lightning Talks 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  45. 45. Project Related of General Interest  Purpose: Keep everyone informed on topics of general interest • This can be any information, announcements, links, important developments that should be communicated to the whole team or a subset of the whole team. Please note: These are communications that do not require immediate response and should be available longer time.  Content: • Any information of general interest to avoid mails going back and forth.  Participants Lead (Owner), the whole team  Frequency: ad-hoc as required  Format: Slack Channel, Yammer Group or similar 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  46. 46. Project Related for a Specific Group  Purpose: Keep a specific group informed on a topic • This can be information, announcements, links, important developments that should be communicated to a specific group or team. • An example of a dedicated group is KT Transition or a specific regression test cycle team. Why: The advantage of this is to have all related communication in one channel that can be revisited at any time. Plus the communication can be asynchronous. So people can pick it up at any time. Please note: These are communications that do not require immediate response and should be available longer time.  Content: • Any information of general interest to this group.  Participants: Anyone can create in alignment with Team Lead, team members to be added as required.  Frequency: ad-hoc as required  Format: Slack Channel, Yammer Group or similar 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  47. 47. Project Related for Audience Outside of the Project  Purpose: Keep people outside of the project informed • This can be any information, announcements, links, important developments that should be communicated to a wider audience.  Content: • Any information of general interest and for easy reference.  Participants Lead (Owner), the whole team  Frequency: ad-hoc as required  Format: Slack Channel, Yammer Group or similar 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  48. 48. Project Related Ad-hoc with One or More Persons  Purpose: Ad-hoc alignment on a specific topic  Content: • Classic case when you need an information, want to discuss a topic or need a specific input.  Participants: Anyone can start such a conversation but try to keep participants to a minimum  Frequency: Ad-hoc as required  Format: Any chat and/or P2P call software will do. Switch to call if the discussion is getting to long • This also applies when there is an urgent topics and few people come into a «virtual meeting». Use the video call to make it more personal. It is the responsibility of the Leads to «encourage» this. And to make sure there is no difference between local and virtual team. • If the person is not reachable or cannot respond then log a task in the action list in SharePoint. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  49. 49. Chit Chat and Banter at a Virtual Water Cooler  Purpose: Build better personal relationships  Content: • Anything unrelated to work. Kids, weather, vacation, hobbies. • Topics might need to be facilitated by the team lead, e.g. everyone writes down their favorite out of office activities that might help to identify topics to talk about.  Participants: One on one or with help of the team lead. Can be just 5 minutes. Everyone gets a coffee and has a chat.  Frequency: ad-hoc, try at least once a week  Format: Video call. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  50. 50. Buddy System  Purpose: Facilitate onboarding of new team members and building team spirit  Content: • It proves helpful to assign buddies after the kick-off and whenever a new team member starts. • They should have a daily call that can also be related to a specific topic or just about questions related to the project. • Buddy assignments should change every few months to ensure the whole team gets to know each other.  Participants: Two project members one acting as mentor and one as mentee 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  51. 51. Buddy System  Frequency: Daily call  Format: Video References Gregory Ciotti: The first few days are incredibly awkward. I had it easy since I joined early on and had previous remote experience. For many, working remotely is a seismic shift, so onboarding new people becomes especially important. One of my favorite practices that we’ve put into place is the “new work best friend.” Someone from the team always steps up to be your pal right when you’re hired—perfect for getting answers to “dumb” questions, learning about unwritten rules, and feeling at ease when adjusting to a new company, new practices, and new faces, all while being hundreds/thousands of miles away. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  52. 52. Lightning Talks  Purpose: Provide visibility, open up dialogue, provide new perspectives  Content: • In regular intervals, e.g. every 2 weeks one team members presents a topic of interest. • It does not have to be connected to the project but should be inspiring and interesting to help look at things from a new perspective.  Participants: Each project member taking turns. Presentation to the full team  Frequency: Every 2 weeks for about 15 to 20 min  Format: Video call 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  53. 53. To know where to store and find documents Documentation
  54. 54. Documentation  Clear Guidelines In a team that works across several continents and different time zones you do not want to call someone up in the middle of the night to find out where they put that excel sheet. Therefore it helps a lot for a virtual team to be clear which documentations using clear filenames can be found where, e.g.:  Project Information • Latest project plan • Detailed task list • Risks / Issues / Tasks • Change and communication Documentation  Deliverables • Functional Specs, Concepts, Implementation Plans • Other supporting documents like the above mentioned spreadsheet 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  55. 55. General Project Documentation  General Project Information This refers to more static information that should be easily accessible. It is also important to be clear where updates can be found, i.e. when the project plan has changed. • Usually an easily accessible folder is used for this. • It will contain documents like: - Latest project plan - Detailed task lists (if task/action list and project plan are not sufficient) - General project information Project Plan, Detailed Task Lists 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  56. 56. Actions, Risks, Issues  Risks / Issues / Actions / Tasks It is often underestimated not having a simple task management tool. Some of the key benefits. • Easy to track • They help to stay aligned and to know who has what on his plate. • People tend to forget things and this helps keeping them in mind. • Facilitates future release / scope planning. People might have plenty of new ideas or come up with great add-ons. Most task list program allow to capture these and then to prioritize them. If items do not fit into current scope you want to keep them in mind and plan for future scope. Usually a specific user or category or tag help you with that. It does not replace tools like JIRA but initially does the job. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  57. 57. General Communications  Communications Outside the Project Team Any communication destined for a wider audience without any restrictions can be posted via: • Email • Slack Channel, Yammer Group or similar • Specific web page  To preserve older communications it is good to save them in a specific folder so everyone can easily access them. 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  58. 58. Deliverables  Deliverables and Supporting Documentation All other project documentation should be stored in the appropriate project phase in line with the applied project management methodology.  Have clear naming conventions and differentiate between draft and final versions.  Example Structure: • Scoping & Set-up • Design • Implementation • Sustain Functional Specs, Concepts, Implementation Plans 1. Why do it? -------- 2. The Basics -------- 3. How to -------- 4. Common Gaps -------- 5. Detailed WoW
  59. 59. Advise Small Piece of
  60. 60. Like Going on a Diet  Do not stop Same ways of working apply for the full duration of the project. There might be a tendency to try to reduce meetings or video calls. I strongly advise against this. You will quickly observe that the positive effects will start fading off and it will be a lot of effort to rebuild.  No one size fits all Depending on how well the team works together the approach might have to be adjusted and fine-tuned. Team dynamics need to be taken into consideration.  Only people that are disciplined, good team workers and willing to adopt to new ways will manage.
  61. 61. Being aware of and using the right way of communication is essential when working remotely!
  62. 62. Great Links and References Appendix
  63. 63. References Sequence of references is no indicator of importance. These are all worth reading.  Wade Foster from zapier.com Everything you need to know in one nice guide The Ultimate Guide to Remote Work https://zapier.com/learn/the-ultimate-guide-to-remote- working/how-manage-remote-team/  Gregory Ciotti from helpscout.net Some great articles and lots of personal experience on working remotely. http://www.helpscout.net/blog/virtual-teams/  Joel Gascoigne from bufferapp.com Explains his decision to run Buffer with a remote team and some of his thoughts and experiences around it http://joel.is/questions-i-ask-myself-about-working-as- distributed/
  64. 64. References  Sean Graber from Virtuali in Harvard Business Review Great article on why remote work works for some companies and why others fail. https://hbr.org/2015/03/why-remote-work-thrives-in-some- companies-and-fails-in-others  Nicholas Bloom, James Liang, John Roberts, Zhichun Jenny Ying in Stanford University Publications Great study on how people working remotely work longer and more efficiently. https://web.stanford.edu/~nbloom/WFH.pdf  Zach Holman from GitHub Wrote a series on how GitHub used to work remotely. They have changed since but very good reading. http://zachholman.com/posts/how-github-works/
  65. 65. References  Jeff Atwood from Stack Exchange and Discourse Great article on how he made remote work work with his team. http://blog.codinghorror.com/on-working-remotely/  Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson from 37 Signals They have plenty of experience on working remotely and also written a best selling on it called “Remote”. Lots of great guidelines and personal experience. http://37signals.com/remote/  David Fullerton from Stackoverflow “Why We (Still) Believe in Working Remotely” https://blog.stackoverflow.com/2013/02/why-we-still-believe-in- working-remotely/
  66. 66. References  Walter Chen from iDoneThis Short but to the point – pushing the essentials. http://blog.idonethis.com/remote-team-communication/  CloudPeeps Blog Top 10 companies winning at remote work culture and their secrets. Great read and interesting to see which companies work fully remotely. http://blog.cloudpeeps.com/top-10-companies-winning-at- remote-work-culture/?utm_campaign=Remotive%2B- %2BProductive%2BRemote%2BWorkers&utm_medium=email &utm_source=Remotive_-_Productive_Remote_Workers_43
  67. 67. References  Great Sites focusing on Remote Working https://remote.co/ created by Sara Sutton Fell http://remotive.io/ created by Rodolphe Dutel and Jeremy Benaim  The less sunny side Remote does not always work for everyone. Here a few posts that show a different side and highlight the challenges. Sometimes it is not easy to overcome these. • http://blog.statuspage.io/we-tried-building-a-remote-team-and-it-sucked • http://www.hanselman.com/blog/BeingARemoteWorkerSucksLongLiveTheRe moteWorker.aspx • http://blog.learningbyshipping.com/2014/12/30/why-remote-engineering-is-so- difficult/
  • aalbano01

    Aug. 12, 2020
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    Mar. 28, 2020
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    Dec. 7, 2017
  • ssuser858685

    Jun. 27, 2016
  • wisetara

    May. 1, 2016
  • marciooya

    Mar. 30, 2016

A Collection of Best Practices around Remote Work and Remote Project Delivery from the Who is Who of Remote Working. There are plenty of great guides for remote work but few consider that quite a lot of work is nowadays done remotely. Be it with the offshore team in India or your colleagues in the US to align sales strategies, financial implications of activities, running your IT. This presentation tries to be a practical guide for your average remote interaction which for a lot of people is not very satisfying.

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