Designing a System for International Group Instruction

Works values its partnership with Fractured Atlas and works closely together to expand its engineering teams by recruiting full-time software developers. Dana, the Team Lead for Software Engineering at Fractured Atlas, recently enlightened us about the advantages of remote work.

Fractured Atlas’s Engineering Department functions fully remotely, with some developers residing in Baltimore, Maryland, USA but preferring to work from various sites like coffee shops, co-working spaces, their homes, and even front porches. As a result, we did not fret over the disparity in time zones when we brought on board Works’ engineers to our team.

In our engineering management team, we prioritize fostering transparent communication and providing opportunities for our team members to learn and improve their skills. This can be challenging, though, since many of our engineers work remotely, which means we cannot meet in person and collaborate as a team in a physical workspace with a whiteboard. Therefore, we understand the importance of creating virtual spaces and resources to facilitate effective communication and data sharing between our engineers and our CTO.

Our organization has devised a blend of scheduled meetings and training sessions alongside spontaneous, flexible gatherings to cater to our team’s requirements. We regard Google calendars sharing, accounting for time zone discrepancies, and stressing the significance of maintaining a healthy work-life balance to avert scheduling meetings that may be inconvenient, like before or after work, or during lunch hours. Additionally, we clarified which meetings are voluntary so team members may opt-out if they are pressed for time or feeling drained from interpersonal interactions.

At our company, we embrace the “lowercase agile” method, where we adhere to the agile principles that are most efficient. We organize our work into two-week “sprints,” involving planning meetings for setting objectives and debriefing sessions for measuring progress. During the sprint kickoff, we reflect on the successes of the previous sprint, identify any potential hurdles that might hamper the sprint objective (e.g., employee absences, external commitments), and plan for the current sprint. Also, we conduct retrospectives to learn from our accomplishments and failures by appraising them comprehensively. Consequently, our retrospective sessions are double the length of the sprint kickoff to examine issues in depth.

Every month, our company inaugurates a Lunch and Learn event for one hour, where all team members are invited to partake. It’s an opportunity to present recent findings and ongoing projects to fellow colleagues. Elm, GraphQL, PR Review Tips, and other subjects have been covered in previous occasions. We urge all team members to avail themselves of this educational opportunity for the betterment of the entire organization.

Every month, at the beginning of the month, our team will host a Show & Tell session which offers an opportunity for all team members (not only leaders) to present their work to the rest of the engineering team. These brief presentations will last no more than 15 minutes per team and will encompass a variety of topics ranging from coding milestones and demos of user-facing features to requesting assistance with complex programming problems. This initiative is intended to break down any barriers that may exist between different product teams and provide junior and mid-level engineers with an opportunity to enhance their public speaking and leadership skills.

Micro-training sessions are compact, targeted training sessions intended to educate the entire team about a particular topic. They generally last between fifteen and thirty minutes, making them an efficient mechanism for communication that doesn’t disrupt regular operations. These training sessions can concentrate on strategy changes, the integration of more effective syntax, or the onboarding of new team members. By limiting the number of ad hoc meetings and maintaining focused subject matter, teams can better ensure that their operations run seamlessly.

Staying connected through chat is a top priority at Works, whereby we use it to enhance team awareness of resources that can boost productivity, such as guides, tutorials, and software applications. Additionally, we rely on Confluence, our primary documentation platform, as a central repository for resources on participating in team meetings, reviewing pull requests, deploying, and configuring our repositories. By consolidating this information in a single location, we guarantee its constant availability and ease of access for all individual engineers.

Fractured Atlas endeavours to provide resources and services that enable artists to effectively direct and manage their careers. As a geographically dispersed organization, it is of paramount importance for our engineering team to sustain a commitment to continuous learning and knowledge-sharing.

Fractured Atlas provides resources to artists, arts organizations, and other individuals in the cultural industry, freeing them from logistical challenges that may impede their creative expression, in a bid to foster an environment that is more agile and resilient.

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