Managing your remote team

Managing your remote team

Few tips how to work with the team which is geographically located in the different place.

First you have to be prepared for the meeting.  Your remote team is far away and usually its a middle of the day at their location when they are listening to you.  Some already tired with the tasks they were doing half of the day starting from the morning, and now they are not that good on concentrating what are you telling them.  Their mind might be stuck on some task that was assigned for them yesterday or they’ve might picked up the ticket from the tracking software (Jira or other) that was created a long time ago and required different set of knowledge, connected APIs or so, and they have kind of different mind mode at the moment.  That’s why you need take that into account and be a little patient when it comes to actual comprehending process and asking questions.  The questions asked by your team might sound for you obvious or stupid at the first time, taking into account that it is 8 or even 7 AM on your clock.  So take your cup of coffee, take a deep breath or three and have in the mind the long term perspective - your end product.  Imagine how it will shine and glow in the public.  Picture all the features, buttons, pages, external apps that will be more than just working together but will create a synergy.  This synergy will bring that competitive advantage and eventually the above average returns, those long awaited market reward, that is one of the main reasons for entering the competition.  

If you are using the widespread nowadays Scrum or Kanban approach and conduct 15 minutes everyday meetings this one will be of high value for you as well.  Try to pay attention to every member of the team and get feedback from them at least once a week. Of course if you have a remote team of 5 people it might take more than 15 minutes everyday to talk to each one, ask how they feel and what is going smoothly and what creates difficulties for them.  Though it would be really nice at least once a week, for example at the end or at the beginning of the week to check with each member.  You can ask them simple 3 questions which are advised by the agile methodology:  what have you done yesterday? what are you going to do today? and what obstacles do you have on your way?  This can be used as an outline for your first conversation and after couple of meetings taking into account the peculiarities of your project and technology that you are using you might come with more questions.  

The good part of working with the remote team in different time zone is that they already working while you are still sleeping.  Early in the morning when you just woke up or already done your morning physique you can arrange a Skype call and already get some of the results of your tasks that was given yesterday.  The other good part that delivery of the results that you are waiting usually will happen in the afternoon as the working day of remote team ends earlier due to time zones differences.  That’s why you can have the project done before your scheduled business meeting in the afternoon.  Though it is always nice to give you some time to test the results before presenting to the public. 

As the remote team working day is over when it is afternoon at your time zone you get time to try the features, contact your designer and prepare tasks for the next morning meeting with your remote team in a different time zone.

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