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A team member is about to fly abroad and continue working for 6 months remotely. It’s a first time for us all, so is there any advice on how to deal with team logistics, engagement, motivation and the like?

 

Hey Rick, nice to see you here. :)

A few thoughts come to mind:

  1. First, create a schedule of retrospectives to tune and improve the working arrangement. I suggest starting with a weekly retro, then after a month move to bi-weekly, and possibly monthly after that. This isn't a run of the mill 1:1 meeting, it's a retro to discuss how this change is working, and try experiments to improve it.

  2. Discuss how they will participate in team/process ceremonies. Again, retro's are useful here as they might have no clue how this change will impact them. Instead of asking them to make promises before they leave, ask them to set forth their initial plan for how they will interact, and then discuss ways to revise/improve it based on the realities of the situation. See point #1.

  3. Be clear about the non-negotiables. If there are things that they must do, or must ensure are done, be completely clear. In the same way, discuss with them what might be less important during this temporary time.

  4. Get emergency phone numbers, and use them earlier rather than later. Are they missing stand-up because it's 2 am local time, but they didn't notify you? Call them 5m before each stand-up to make sure they will be there. Don't let bad habits creep in. If they are failing to show up consistently, discuss that immediately and decide another course of action.

  5. Be clear what behavior will get them fired. Don't think "Well, we allowed them to travel, but it's not working well. I guess we have to wait it out." This new flexibility brings a lot more personal and professional responsibility, and they need to understand if they don't perform well you may fire them. They decided to travel and try and work, and they have to prove the arrangement is working, and make changes if it doesn't.

  6. Communicate to the team what's happening, and what to do if they can't get ahold of the person. You need to keep a close eye on the situation, lest the team feel abandoned by the person in time of need. Consider adding the entire team to the "travel retrospectives" so everyone can discuss the impact on the team.

Good luck!
Marcus

 

Very insightful as always, thanks. I’ve had no need to push too much so far, but the piece of advice around what’s acceptable is indeed something I want to have at hand. Keep rockin’!

 

Did you also manage mental healthiness of your team?

 

I think we should get that question as main topic on dev.to. I think that a lot of devs needs advice in this area. We see more, we think more, we feel more/less..

 

Vico, as a software manager I do my best to be aware of the mental healthiness of my team members, but only they can manage that aspect of their lives. What I can do is make it safe to discuss the topic, what contributes to good/bad mental health for that person, and support each individual through tools and discussions.

 

I am going through super boring job right now , so eager to move in front end junior roles but don't know where to start got some good practise on html and CSS on freecodecamp will be moving to java soon , any ideas , tip or site where I can enhance my skills and get real job experience like practise and projects and wish to get job any where on earth so eager to go drill deep in front end , will move to backend together with front end later but now step by step , my ultimate dream is to become full stack developer !

 

Yusef,

The world is filled with opportunities for you to learn, practice, and prepare for your dream job. I'll bet you already know many of them: Udemey, Coursera, EdX, and even right here! As for where to practice, there are probably thousands of open-source projects that would love your contribution.

I doubt any of these are a surprise, but I also get the feeling you've not committed to any of them yet. Focus on building a body of work in the area you want to move into, and you'll be surprised at how quickly you have something to show employers. Employers want to see more than just drive, we want to see actions and outcomes. Talk is cheap, so go build something to show us!

Good luck!
Marcus

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