What factors are essential for productive working relationships between remote teams? Helitha Rupasinghe on October 11, 2022
Shared values, remote-first expectations (for example, async vs. meetings when possible, etc.), and prioritizing team building!
What's your go to team building tool?
Nothing fancy, just Zoom or similar works great :) We also use the Donut extension for Slack to help us schedule 1:1, non-work time with our teammates.
What I struggle with is help from my peers. Working on a complicated problem means getting into a specific headspace which can collapse if interrupted. As a result, many developers don't check their messages regularly. This means if I get stuck, an answer might be an hour or more away.
No idea how to resolve this one, as uninterrupted thinking time is absolutely necessary for development, which is why developers tend to dislike bright, noisy environments.
Apart from hating loud situations, what helps you get into that productive mindset?
I'm an odd ball in my team in that I'm enjoying returning to the office. Although my Bandcamp library of instrumental music to block out external noise (when required) has grown significantly, since I've been doing so.
Dunno if I have a single trick to getting in the right mindset. The metaphor I often think of is that it's like a house of cards - you parse a function and slowly build up what it's doing, line by line. But if someone talks to you while you're doing this, the whole house of cards collapses.
I'm not great at holistic thinking or multi-tasking so I can't think of a way to hold this information in short-term memory, while also holding a conversation. It's just too much cognitive load. Perhaps someone should start a course - meditation for Developers!
I would say - respecting asynchronous communication practices, having regular check in meetings to share progress and ideas, and meeting in person from time to time to foster the non-working relationships.
Working remotely have its advantages as it increased flexibility and the ability to work from anywhere, but when it comes to building and maintaining productive working relationships is quite challenging. I think Clear communication among team members is important to stay on the same page and avoid misunderstandings.
I'll throw this one out there: Time zone empathy.
Shared expectations that the boss's time zone isn't inherently the default one, over-communicating timing expectations and meeting times.
Great example! 👏
I asked ChatGPT.
When people work together, even if they're not in the same place, it's important for them to be able to trust each other and to be able to communicate well. That way, they can work together to get things done. Some things that can help with this are:
If people are able to do these things, they can work together more effectively and get more done. And that's what makes a productive working relationship.
I think asynchronous communication skills are really important. Team members need to be able to send messages that give enough context to solve problems in as few messages as possible, and anticipate problems that others might run into. Robust documentation practices can help a lot with this.
Thank you for sharing!
Occasional sync up meetings. Daily stand ups, for example, are great when they’re done in small groups, ineffective when done in larger groups. I think having a nice daily for every 4 to 5 engineers works best. The reason I like these is not so much to hear about the work being done, but to rally together as a team and help others feel like they’re part of something bigger. Sometimes, being remote, you can lose focus on the bigger picture, since you may rarely hear from your teammates. It’s good to boost team morale with an occasional sync up :)
Why not regular sync up meetings?