Over 500 participants attended the Works’ webinar entitled “Best Practices for Remote Engineering Teams: How Teams Can Thrive Without the Office.”
Due to the current global situation, engineering teams around the world have been forced to work remotely for the first time, triggering a reflective response. To support these teams, assistance is being requested.
During the Works’ webinar, Sha Ma, Chief Technology Officer and Vice President of Engineering at GitHub, held an insightful presentation discussing the significance of open communication and collaboration within teams, which has been recorded and can be watched on this page anytime. Ma’s GitHub profile can be accessed here.
The inquiries were submitted promptly, emphasizing the seriousness of the situation. We thought you would like to know about the main concerns of your colleagues, which can be summarized as follows.
Enhancing Effectiveness and Confidence
During the recent meeting, the primary focus of inquiries was on how to maintain accountability without creating a fearful environment. This was prompted by Sha’s efforts to create a more dependable atmosphere. As a proposed solution, it was suggested to conduct daily stand-ups, where team members and leaders can assess their own and others’ work. Besides, The Works’ Chief Technology Officer highlighted the advantages of evaluating productivity based on concrete results rather than subjective estimations.
Sha stressed the significance of communication and proposed that managers should establish a comfortable environment where developers can share their progress and challenges with ease and raise concerns about the productivity of remote workers.
During the discussion, Sha emphasized the significance of building trust within a remote work environment, especially given the current economic and psychological uncertainty. She highlighted that it is crucial for people to feel secure in their workplace, as anxiety over job loss or health issues can adversely affect productivity. To cultivate a culture of trust, Sha’s team implements various initiatives, such as weekly photo exchanges during team meetings featuring family snapshots and even a dedicated Slack channel for sharing pet photos. These small yet meaningful acts of kindness, she believes, can contribute to building a more trustworthy society.
The significance of trust was emphasized by the Chief Technology Officer of the company, who advocated for an empathetic approach when dealing with a decrease in an employee’s performance. He suggested that if an employee’s work is unsatisfactory, it is important to take the time to understand any personal issues that may be affecting their performance.
Tools and Their Utilization
During the event, there were numerous questions and comments about tool usage, with several helpful suggestions from the attendees. One participant mentioned that without guidelines, Slack conversations could quickly become chaotic due to multiple simultaneous discussions. They suggested that if a discussion requires more than one Slack message, it should be moved to a Zoom meeting, as Works recommends. Moreover, some attendees suggested maintaining permanent Zoom connections between sites to allow visitors to virtually “drop by and say hello.”
The Works team has achieved significant success by using Kudoboard to virtually “high-five” one another, a tool suggested by the speakers. In addition, they employ Slack bots to notify each other when pull requests are created on GitHub and a proprietary software that enables users to compliment each other on their personal and professional qualities. During the virtual audience, one participant recommended using Status Hero as a platform for virtual stand-ups.
Hiring and Onboarding
The discussion on onboarding new employees was a crucial and timely topic. In the past, GitHub used to fly new hires to their San Francisco headquarters for onboarding, but current circumstances make that impossible. Accordingly, both Sha and The Works‘ Chief Technology Officer recommended creating comprehensive wiki pages to provide new hires with the necessary information and resources to learn independently. Additionally, Sha suggested assigning “buddies” – experienced workers who can be contacted via text or email – to help new employees with any questions or issues that may arise during the onboarding process.
The present reality is that the world is consistently adapting to a shifting social and professional landscape, which indicates that there is no uniform or standardized “new normal.” Companies must discover novel approaches to collaboration and progress while also adhering to the continually changing regulations governing travel and in-person activities. Further, businesses must become well-versed in remote-first hiring and onboarding procedures. To delve further into these subjects, join us for our upcoming webinar. It is essential to remain vigilant as the situation develops.
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