Hopes and Dreams: Unifying a Distributed Team

One of the key responsibilities of managers is to ensure that everyone has a thorough comprehension of their roles and obligations. This concept is widely recognised and is a common topic of instruction in management courses and textbooks, often referred to as the “idiot-proof” manager philosophy. However, despite this, many endeavours and undertakings still fall short of their goals due to ineffective communication of expectations.

Effective project management is as crucial to a prosperous undertaking as the cornerstone to a building. In this capacity, you will assist the team from the initial planning phases through to the final completion of the project. The expectations and objectives are akin to ‘blueprints’ which will act as a guide, furnishing a structured path towards achieving the desired outcomes. After laying the foundation, specialists in particular areas can be enlisted to provide extra expertise, and we can aid in the sourcing of any supplementary assistance that may be required.

For distributed teams, the implementation of effective work practices is especially crucial. Remote workers frequently display heightened productivity as they possess greater independence, allowing them to handle their workload in a manner that is most suitable for them. Such independence can deliver sizeable benefits, fostering employee morale and a sense of comfort that crucial tasks are being accomplished.

It is imperative that everyone adheres to the agreed-upon plan; nevertheless, such a situation is an extreme example. To elucidate this further, if we were to consider our construction project as an instance, it would be highly undesirable to arrive at the site one day only to discover that Clive had made the decision that every single house should have its own helicopter.

Anticipating Results

This serves as a prompt of the fundamental assumptions of conduct in the workplace that you should have acquired throughout the duration of your management courses. In outline, it is anticipated that you should:

  • Comprise a set of directives, delineating the objectives of the project and defining the extent of the work that will be carried out (no helipads, Clive).
  • Establish accountability for each task and guarantee that the responsibilities correspond to job titles and remuneration.
  • Identifying and defining the desired outcomes is crucial. To accomplish this, SMART objectives can be utilised; however, there may be other techniques that are more appropriate. These objectives should be broken down into smaller, feasible tasks that, when accomplished, will culminate in the intended result.
  • It is vital to bear in mind to incorporate comments while working within a team, especially when the team members are situated in disparate geographical locations. Communication is always imperative when collaborating as a team, but in this scenario, it becomes even more essential.

Alterations Implemented Remotely

If you have been following our content for some time, you are likely aware that we regularly highlight the fact that there is no need for special managerial expertise to competently manage a remote team. It is not necessary to enroll in university again to lead a team from a distance. With the right mindset and outlook, you can realise the same outcomes without any additional qualifications.

As a consequence, it is necessary to adjust your assumptions for a remote workforce. To expound on this:

  1. Communication

    It is apparent that the successful completion of the helipad was, in part, a result of the regular communication maintained between Clive and his foreman. As a result, we recommend that it is crucial to ensure regular communication with personnel to ensure that updates and any issues are discussed regularly. Consistent communication reduces the possibility of someone making an arbitrary decision, similar to Clive’s.
  2. Establishing unambiguous communication protocols is vital to guarantee that team members engage in the most efficient manner. All team members should be mindful of the appropriate channels to communicate with each other and when to use them. It is imperative to avoid neglecting email inboxes, particularly when other communication tools like messaging apps and phones are accessible.
  3. Observe the group’s dynamic carefully. We are all social beings, but it is exceptionally crucial to promote camaraderie among your remote workforce.
  4. To guarantee your team’s triumph, it is fundamental to determine a common objective and become familiar with everyone’s proficiencies. Once you have earned their trust and conviction, you should be able to advance without any obstacles.
  5. Clear and unequivocal communication of the projected availability date is indispensable. Organising meetings can be a daunting task when personnel are spread across various time zones and countries.
  6. Do you mandate that your remote workforce adheres to conventional business hours, or do they have the liberty to select their own schedules? Are there any mandatory gatherings that require employees from different regions of the world to participate?
  7. Appointing someone to take responsibility for their actions aids in keeping everything on course. It is critical to communicate effectively with your employees, outlining what is required of them, as well as how they can keep you updated on their progress (or lack thereof).
  8. At Works, we firmly advocate for the Agile Remote Development Methodology as it provides an open forum for discussion and communication. The daily stand-up is a useful mechanism for promoting accountability and provides a clear indication of the expectations for each team member. If you require additional information on this, please download our free eBook.
  9. Although productivity is crucial for you as a manager, it is not our primary suggestion. This is due to the fact that if you sustain your operational standards, your team will be able to fulfil their responsibilities efficiently.
  10. Undoubtedly, there is software available to aid in monitoring the productivity of a dispersed workforce. Nonetheless, we would not advise employing any of these, as we are of the opinion that micromanagement can obstruct the development of trust within remote teams. We wholeheartedly support performance evaluations as a means of evaluating employees’ effectiveness and believe in their capability to succeed in completing their work and achieving desired outcomes.

Techniques for Setting Objectives

It is apparent that there are general requirements as well as more specific ones that relate to particular tasks on the list. Hence, it is vital to ensure that everyone is on the same page while operating remotely. To ensure this, two critical components must be present. The first one is:

Telecommuting Guidelines

This handbook aims to offer an outline of the crucial points to take into account for remote employees who work from home. It will tackle queries such as whether it is acceptable to use public and unsecured networks like those in coffee shops, and what repercussions there may be if an employee experiences an accident or injury while working.

Employees must be issued with a comprehensive policy for remote work that explicitly defines what expenses they can claim. This should encompass aspects such as Health and Safety regulations, which should be easy to execute.

Top-Grade Project Management

To manage remote employees, the same techniques used in an office setting can be applied. The primary difference is the necessity to communicate with them more frequently. However, we intend to do much more than that. Since you might not come across Clive in the office break room, it is essential to conduct a video call to remind him that helipads are not part of the plan.

It is crucial to reserve time to comprehensively explain each assignment and stay in touch with your team to address any concerns and possible issues. Being available is not sufficient; it is also vital to create an environment where employees feel comfortable approaching you with any worries or queries at any time. Our recommended tool for accomplishing this task is the Agile Remote Development Methodology. Additionally, we offer an extensive array of blog posts that provide guidance on improving teams’ communication and collaboration.

Let’s Start from the Beginning.

At Works, we recognise that recruitment is a critical component of establishing a successful team. Therefore, we bestow great care in ensuring that potential hires are not only highly proficient in programming but also possess the ability to work independently. If you are seeking an outstanding programmer to join your team, don’t hesitate to contact us. We would be thrilled to be of help.

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