Wide Links #16: Meeting, Coaching, Bridging, Chatting

Wide Links #16: Meeting, Coaching, Bridging, Chatting

Dec 3, 10 • In Links

  • tags: wideteams

    • Don’t forget the small talk.When separated by distance, it’s even more important to make small talk about the little things in life to build rapport. Don’t forget to establish a sort of virtual water cooler for your folks by talking with them about their lives, the big game or whatever you can find to make a personal connection. Consider having your team virtually share their favorite recipes or books each week to help them stay connected while telecommuting.
  • Jason Fried of 37Signals talking about why most offices aren’t the most conducive environments for getting focused work done.

    tags: wideteams

    • Fried talks about the how absurd it that many people are most productive in trains, cafes, dens, but not in the office. One of the more salient remarks in Fried’s talk is that “people go to work and they’re basically trading in their work day for work moments“. In essence, Fried is suggesting that creative work that requires long uninterrupted stretches of focus is inherently disrupted by the distractions of modern office life.
  • Here’s some advice to get you started forging working relationships across cultural borders.

    tags: wideteams

    • Getting to know someone’s culture helps you start to understand them. Most people are happy to talk about where they are from. Keep your questions very open-ended and let the other person talk for a while. Did you grow up near London? What is it like to live in Provo? Are there many good restaurants in Brisbane? These questions may seem bland, but they are a good safe way to get conversations started.
  • If you don’t pay attention to your natural needs for socialization, remote work can leave you feeling pretty isolated. This article is a good prod to step outside your home office and meet up with other people.

    tags: wideteams

    • Find folks in your town that workshift, and go for coffee, or lunch and get to know them. I find that sometimes I get pretty cranky if I’m spending too much time alone. Sometimes the simple act of meeting a friend for a coffee is enough to get my mood on the upswing and get me re-motivated.
  • This is all sound advice.

    tags: wideteams

    • Don’t start with a brand new tool. If you haven’t used the software you’re planning to run your next meeting with, do a dry run with it before the day of the meeting. Every tool has its own quirks and the middle of a meeting isn’t the best time to figure them out. If you can run a test with a few of the people who will be attending your meeting, so much the better.
  • GigaOm has started an open thread for discussing managing remote teams.

    tags: wideteams

    • When managers are no longer dealing with their staff face-to-face on a daily basis, the nuances of in-person communication are lost. Then there’s the trust issue: how do managers they know that their staff are working? If people who haven’t worked together before are being brought together to work on projects in ad-hoc “work swarms,” how do managers get their teams to gel together? And how do companies ensure their employees’ needs are being met and that they’re happy? These issues can partly be resolved by the use of technology, but they’ll also likely require a shift in management style, and even a change in the way that some companies are organized.
  • It’s important to make time to bring new members of a dispersed team up to speed.

    tags: wideteams

    • In my experience I have found that it is easy to underestimate the amount of time required to coach virtual team members. As a leader, it’s not enough to simply set goals and then let the team find its way. Some members will figure things out on their own, while others will struggle for quite some time before mastering the skills and communication involved in doing the job well.
  • Brian Criscouolo makes a good case for iChat being the perfect instant collaboration tool. at least for Mac users.

    tags: wideteams

    • Combine the text chat with audio and video, throw in a sprinkling of screen sharing and a distributed team (even a single remote member) will find that their “instant” communication needs are almost always covered by a single application.
  • tags: wideteams

    • The most important difference in communication between remote agile teams and co-located agile teams is that most of the communication on a remote team is written and not verbal. It is critical that everyone on a remote team has excellent writing skills and be able to express themselves clearly and unambiguously in writing. For a co-located team, that which is unclear can be worked out right in the room. For a distributed team, that activity becomes very expensive.
  • One of the most challenging configurations for a dispersed team is when you have an office full of workers AND remote team members as well.

    tags: wideteams

    • Given the tendency of on site workers to ignore remote workers , how does one encourage unity in a mixed group? One way is to make communication between on-site and remote workers as easy as possible. This will minimize any difficulty for on-site workers to reach remote workers, and vice versa. You can do this by selecting communication channels that are easily accessible to everyone on the team. Whether it’s email, instant messaging, or a collaborative app, make sure that members can send and receive messages without compromising clarity. This is especially true with channels that are dependent on speed and signal quality, such as audio or video chat.

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