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Design Remote: The Async Advantage

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Working remotely has many benefits but also some obvious and non-obvious challenges. Discussions about remote work also often tend to be generic, however each discipline require its own kind of variations, and design isn’t different.

A lot of the tools available to designers are meant to be used in person, but what if we happen to work remotely, or we want to switch a product team to being remote? How to build trust, gather feedback and craft a unified vision? This talk takes inspiration from some of the practices of Automattic’s teams to overcome some of the unique challenges of remote working.

These solutions will also be beneficial to any designer who desires to engage with open source projects, as they are by definition remote.

This talk was done the first time at WordCamp Brighton 2017.

Published in: Design
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Design Remote: The Async Advantage

  1. REMOTE DESIGN THE ASYNC ADVANTAGE Davide ‘Folletto’ Casali
  2. NIGHT.EU Manifesto Ibridi F E L L O W DESIGN DIRECTOR ADVISOR
  3. @Folletto
  4. FOUNDATION PART I
  5. “ ” S. Graber for Harvard Business Review Many companies focus too much on technology and not enough on process. S. Graber (2015) Why Remote Work Thrives in Some Companies and Fails in Others
  6. Product type work Consulting type work }Different approaches to remote work.
  7. THE REMOTENESS CONTINUUM Distributed 100% Local 100% Remote anywhere in between concept one
  8. Stable Speed Realtime Speed Async Speed THE THREE SPEEDS OF COLLABORATION concept two
  9. THE ASYNC ADVANTAGE Remote work relies more on the async part
  10. Calm Candor Challenging Chaos Collaborative Communication Different Difficult Empowering Enabling Engaging Exciting Flexibility Freedom Future Independent Inspiring New Rewarding Transparency Automattic Internal Survey with Designers (2017)
  11. Calm Candor Challenging Chaos Collaborative CommunicationDifferentDifficult Empowering Enabling Engaging Exciting Flexibility FreedomFuture Independent Inspiring New Rewarding Transparency Future CalmTransparent Challenging EmpoweringCollaborative
  12. GENERAL CHALLENGES PART II
  13. TIMEZONES
  14. Does it have to happen in realtime?
  15. Master work handover
  16. MISUNDERSTANDING
  17. Tone of voice is an issue…
  18. …but what about time to reflect and calm?
  19. Walk away before answering It’s text: have someone else read it Use private messages Increase bandwidth
  20. “Sorry”
  21. COMMUNICATION
  22. Communication is oxygen.
  23. “Communication Issues” is too generic. Pinpoint what you really mean with it.
  24. AVOID EFFICIENCY THEATRE Do Give space to personal and work alike Do not Split too early conversations in multiple channels
  25. Make yourself feel present to others
  26. Daily text standups EXAMPLE
  27. LONELINESS
  28. Some people need to be around people
  29. Co-working spaces
  30. Virtual watercooler
  31. Automattic internal watercoolers EXAMPLE 123 TEAMS 249 PROJECTS 78 COOLERS 17% 1 OUT OF 6
  32. TIMEZONES MISUNDERSTANDING COMMUNICATION LONELINESS Advantage?
  33. DESIGN CHALLENGES PART III
  34. QUICK FEEDBACK
  35. Realtime exchanges
  36. Reach anyone
  37. Sketch Slack loop EXAMPLE
  38. BRAINSTORMING
  39. “ ” A. Furnham Research shows unequivocally that brainstorming groups produce fewer and poorer quality ideas than the same number of individuals working alone.
  40. groupthink /ˈɡruːpθɪŋk/ the practice of thinking or making decisions as a group, resulting typically in unchallenged, poor-quality decision-making.
  41. “ ” A. Osborn, the person that formalized brainstorms The fact is that group brainstorming is recommended solely as a supplement to individual ideation.
  42. The generalized idea of brainstorms must include alone time to work.
  43. Design challenge EXAMPLE
  44. ALIGNMENT
  45. Decisions are always written somewhere. // ////////// ////////////// //// ///// ////// //// //////// ////// /// ////////// ////// // //////// /////// //// ////// / ////// //// /// ///// ///////////// ///////// ////////// ////////// ////////// /// ////////// //// ///// // ////////// ////////// ////// / //////// //////// //// ////// / ///// //////// ///// //////////// ////////// ////////// ////////// ///////////// ////////// ////// /
  46. Manage Signal / Noise Ratio
  47. Write things that “everyone knows” and “have already been said”
  48. {Improve Copywriting Naming things Identifying audience WRITING IS AN IMPORTANT SKILL
  49. WORKSHOPS
  50. THE BLANK STARE EFFECT In a video chat, that emotionless expression everyone does when others speak.
  51. Surveys as questioning Discussion threads Iterations and explorations
  52. KJ Remote workshop EXAMPLE intenseminimalism.com/2017/fully-remote-kj-technique-workshop/
  53. WORKSHOPS ALIGNMENT BRAINSTORMING QUICK FEEDBACK Advantage?
  54. Meet in person EXAMPLE
  55. PURE ADVANTAGES PART IV
  56. MEETINGS
  57. Discussion Threads 99% of the time better than meetings.
  58. NOISE
  59. Better focus Create the space and quiet that works for you.
  60. INTERRUPTIONS
  61. Manage interruptions Answer when is best for your work
  62. TIME MANAGEMENT
  63. Organize your day, work when works best. Flexible Time
  64. MEETINGS NOISE INTERRUPTIONS TIME MANAGEMENT Advantage?
  65. THE ASYNC ADVANTAGE Time to think Time to calm Focus Everything written Interruption management Flexible time
  66. “ ” Bruno Munari To complicate is easy, to simplify is hard. To complicate, just add, everyone is able to complicate. Few are able to simplify.
  67. Thanks. @Folletto INTENSEMINIMALISM.COM

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