Head of Remote Work

How to keep everyone and everything in sync

Tom • Personal •

Closing the distance

When working remote, the biggest task in my experience is to keep the whole team together. When working together not only on a project, but also in a spatial manner, communication between members of the team happens automatically. Yet when working only remote, communicating with the team becomes a separate task that has to be tackled to keep everyone on the same page. Just a few minutes of talk and exchange can go a long way in keeping the team more cohesive.

Speaking from experience

During my work as a lead dev, I've come to understand that a regular sync between all team members at predefined times in the week is essential to keep up a clear vision of what to accomplish. I've established the following pattern:

Monday

Sync about the upcoming changes for this week and also potential blockers that might arise for specific tasks. It's important to lay out a clear path of what to implement and what to reach at the end of the week. Splitting tasks into smaller chunks to better identify might-be roadblocks has proven to be a generally good technique to not only better understand the specific upcoming tasks in more detail but also to more reliably estimate the effort required.

Wednesday aka "Midweek Madness"

The middle of the week can act as a good opportunity to check in to the current state of ongoing implementations or blockers that have been identified since Monday. On Wednesday, motivation might be generally on the lower end of the spectrum, so this sync can be a good time to just talk about random stuff to avoid marking remote meetings as a "business-only" talk

Friday

Review of the changes implement since Monday, potentially depicting what gets pushed to staging or release, depending on a company's workflow

Same but different

As with every teamwork, it's important to be clear who works on what. Working remotely only introduces a spatial barrier that has to be overcome. Good thing is, technology has evolved and so have the possibilities how to simply communicate with others via video and audio. Even if a remote session with everyone on their webcam doesn't replace a physical meeting, it actually can work quite well. In my experience, it's mostly a question of habit on how to best handle remote syncs. But after a few virtual meetings, everyone should get the hang on it.

Closing words

And yeah, for a quick review about the weekly schedule on how to manage syncs with your team, that's about it from my experience.

- Tom

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