Due to the far-reaching effects of the pandemic, several companies have had to quickly shift to remote engineering teams. This can be a challenging prospect, especially when done abruptly. However, there are tried-and-tested methods which can assist in effectively supervising distributed engineering. In this blog, we will examine three approaches to seamlessly making the switch to a remote engineering team.
In March 2022, during the unfolding of the COVID-19 crisis, Works specialists and GitHub’s Vice President of Engineering, Sha Ma, conducted an online seminar titled “Are You Ready for Remote Work? How to Make Remote Engineering Teams Succeed.” Throughout the webinar, they deliberated on the vital obstacles and solutions encountered when leading distributed teams to success. The seminar offered a thorough overview of efficient practices for remote work and delved into these subjects further.
Team communication pertains to the dissemination of information within the team. It is crucial to establish standards and guidelines for team communication and the proper use of various forms of communication technology. A number of groups, for instance, employ a combination of email, instant messaging applications like Slack, and conferencing software such as Zoom to carry out their tasks. The regulations and expectations are easier to comprehend when there are clear instructions on how to use them. Certain modes of communication, such as email, may be intended for less pressing matters, which can be agreed upon by both parties. Consequently, all team members will have a good understanding of how to respond.
The webinar will delve deeper into specific best practices that apply to certain types of meetings, including standups and all-hands sessions.
Collaboration is a crucial element in effective teamwork, and its achievement hinges on the ability to effectively utilise available resources and methods. For example, Spacetime can be a valuable resource when working with team members located in different time zones, as it allows users to easily verify schedule conflicts and organise meetings without the need for manual computation of time differences. In addition, platforms like Trello and other tools for collaborative project management can aid teams in meeting their objectives. A variety of tools must be used to ensure successful planning and decision-making. Teams with dispersed team members may face difficulties regarding isolation, so it is critical to ensure that everyone is part of the process.
During the webinar, Sha Ma will cover the optimum methods for utilising GitHub, another crucial platform for communication among development teams.
Culture constitutes a fundamental aspect of any team or organisation as it shapes the fundamental beliefs, values, and strengths of the group. To foster a productive and harmonious work environment, it is crucial 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 conducted via Zoom or other platforms. It is also imperative to cultivate a culture of accountability, where team members feel comfortable voicing concerns and have a safe environment to do so. Open communication and acknowledgement of responsibility are vital components of a successful team and must be a part of any group setting.
Recognising outstanding performance in the same way as in a physical office is also recommended.
Begin on a High Note
Transitioning to a fully remote engineering department may appear daunting, but be assured that GitHub has been at the forefront of distributed engineering and has successfully trained and deployed numerous dispersed teams. Our research shows that these best practices can be applied by companies of any size and industry. High-performing remote teams usually practice supportive modes of communication, collaboration, and culture. To learn more about implementing these best practices in your organisation, kindly refer to our recorded webinar.