Is Your Remotely-Based Engineering Group a Victim of Corporate Policy? It Needn’t Put a Damper on Your Plans

In light of the global pandemic, many companies have been forced to rapidly transition to remote engineering teams. This can be a daunting process, particularly when implemented unexpectedly. However, there are proven strategies that can help successfully manage distributed engineering. In this article, we will explore three approaches to making the switch to a remote engineering team.

  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Culture

On March 19, 2022, as the COVID-19 crisis was developing, Works experts and Sha Ma, Vice President of Engineering at GitHub, hosted an online webinar, titled “Are You Ready for Remote Work? How Engineering Groups Can Succeed Even When Working Remotely.” During this webinar, they discussed the key challenges and solutions they have encountered in leading distributed teams to success. The webinar provided a comprehensive overview of effective practices for working remotely and delved into further depth on these topics.

Communication

Team communication refers to how information is shared within the team. Establishing standards and guidelines for team communication and the proper utilisation of various forms of team communication technology is critical. Many groups, for example, make use of a combination of email, instant messaging applications such as Slack, and conferencing software like Zoom to accomplish their tasks. The rules and expectations are easier to understand when there are clear instructions about how to use them. Some forms of communication, like email, may be reserved for less urgent matters, and both parties can agree on this. In this way, all members of the team will be aware of how they should respond.

The webinar will go into further detail on the additional best practices that apply to meetings of a particular kind, such as standups and all-hands.

Collaboration

Cooperation is essential for successful teamwork, and the key to achieving this lies in the ability to effectively utilise the resources and methods available to the team. As an example, Spacetime can be a great asset if working with members located in different time zones, as it enables users to easily check for schedule clashes and arrange meetings without the hassle of manually calculating time differenes. Furthermore, platforms such as Trello and other collaborative project management tools can help to ensure that teams don’t fall behind on their goals while working together. To ensure successful planning and decision making, it is essential to make use of a variety of tools. Isolation can be a major challenge for teams with members located in different places, so it is important to ensure that everyone is included in the process.

In the webinar, Sha Ma will discuss best practices for utilising GitHub, another essential communication platform for development teams.

Culture

Culture is an integral part of any team or organisation as it shapes the underlying beliefs, values, and strengths of the group. To ensure a productive and cohesive work environment, it is essential to create opportunities for team-building activities, even in a digital format. Examples of this include virtual one-on-one meetings, group lunches, and happy hours over Zoom or other platforms. It is also important to establish a culture of accountability, where team members feel comfortable raising concerns and have a safe space to do so. Open communication and responsibility are key elements to a successful team and should be implemented in any group setting.

It’s also a good idea to praise excellent performance in the same way you would in the workplace.

Start off Strong

The transition to a fully remote engineering department may seem daunting, but rest assured, GitHub has been a pioneer in distributed engineering and has successfully trained and deployed hundreds of dispersed teams. Our research demonstrates that these best practices can be implemented by organisations of any size and in any industry. High-performing remote teams generally engage in supportive modes of communication, collaboration, and culture. To get more information on how to implement these best practices in your organisation, please watch our recorded webinar.

Related Article: How to Create a Workplace Culture Employees Will Never Want to Leave

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