Archive for the ‘Basics’ Category

  • Encouraging Involvement in Distributed Teams

    Encouraging Involvement in Distributed Teams

    Mar 14, 11 • In Basics, Featured, Practices, Tips & Hacks

    One of the biggest challenges in remote work is simply making sure everyone has a strong sense of involvement. In this article Steven Baker, a veteran of dispersed agile software development teams, shares his experiences and recommendations for keeping the communication, camaraderie, and personal connections alive in a distributed setting. When you don’t occupy the same office for the same period of time every day with your co-workers, you can’t walk to your co-worker’s desk, or turn around in your chair to have a chat about what you’re working on. There is no water cooler to mill around get in the loop on what’s happening, and having lunch together is difficult. Differences in location, timezone, and working hours, can all combine to make you and the members of your team disconnected from each other. This

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  • The Rambling Remote Worker: Marieke Guy on virtual teams, event amplification, and the future of remote work

    The Rambling Remote Worker: Marieke Guy on virtual teams, event amplification, and the future of remote work

    Nov 22, 10 • In Basics, Experiences

    Today we are lucky to have a guest post from remote worker and blogger Marieke Guy. In this article she recounts her own transition to remote remote work and then to becoming a champion for remote workers; discusses the concept of “event amplification”; and talks a little about the future of distributed teams. Hello, I’m Marieke Guy and I work for UKOLN, a centre of excellence in digital information management. I’ve been there for 10 years now and have worked on a variety of different ‘information management’ projects. The majority of my work today centres around the Web (especially Web 2.0 and beyond), digital preservation and innovation. There’s more on my staff page. Why be a Remote Worker? UKOLN is based at the University of Bath. For those of you who haven’t heard of Bath

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  • Conquering “The Fear”: 5 pointers for stress-free management of remote teams

    Conquering “The Fear”: 5 pointers for stress-free management of remote teams

    Nov 15, 10 • In Basics, Practices

    Managing a dispersed team for the first time can be pretty scary. How will you know if everyone is doing their jobs and staying on schedule? Here are some tips that will have you breathing easy again. Here’s the situation: you’re leading a dispersed team for the first time.  You’ve had a kickoff meetup so that everyone could meet face to face. You’ve assembled your collaboration tools. You’ve scheduled daily standup meeting at a time when everyone is available. But now the project has started, and you’re starting to get anxious. What is everyone doing right now? Are they working? Do they really understand their tasks? Are they on schedule? Are they being distracted by their families? Don’t look now, but you’ve got The Fear. It’s a creeping anxiety that affects many managers who have

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  • 5 myths of remote work

    5 myths of remote work

    Oct 6, 10 • In Basics

    Working in a dispersed team has its share of challenges, but some of the fears that people have about remote work simply aren’t born out by the experience of real-world teams. Here are a few if the more common misconceptions I’ve encountered. Working outside the office is distracting. This is one of the most persistent myths I’ve run into. Sure, working from home can be distracting. But out of the remote workers I’ve talked to, the majority find their home office a better environment for focused work than a traditional office.Which shouldn’t really come as a surprise. After all, if you work with people you like, it means that your workplace is going to be filled with people you have a lot in common with, having conversations about things that are interesting to you! While

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  • The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide, Part 5: Project Management

    The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide, Part 5: Project Management

    Aug 18, 10 • In Basics

    A project management app is an essential tool for any dispersed team. Here are some suggestions to get you started. The next application in your essential distributed team toolbox is a project management app. At it’s most basic, a project management app is a shared TODO list: it enables a group of people to divvy up a list of tasks between them. If your team is small, just two or three people, you may wonder if you need a project management app at all. The answer is yes. While it can be possible to get things done in a collocated team using informal task assignments and periodic check-ins, even the smallest dispersed team needs a “trusted system” to manage what has been done, what needs to be done, and who is doing it. Without such

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  • Landing a Job on a Wide Team

    Landing a Job on a Wide Team

    Aug 4, 10 • In Basics

    A reader emailed me, asking for advice on finding a job with a dispersed team. While I can’t claim to be an expert on the subject, I’m happy to share what I know. Start a Telework Movement at Your Current Job While I’ve never tried to do this myself, some people are successful lobbying for a telework policy at their current place of a employment. This will only become more common as new government regulations and the financial realities of collocation force more and more organizations to consider the remote option. Be Visibly Awesome For many employers, hiring a remote worker can seem like a risky venture. Employers need assurance that you are worth the risk. That’s why I recommend that you start your job search at home, by picking a niche that you love

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  • The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide, Part 4: Virtual Presence

    The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide, Part 4: Virtual Presence

    Jul 14, 10 • In Basics

    You have your mail hub, your video/audio chat solution, and your text chat service set up. What other communications tools does your distributed team need? To augment Campfire or IRC, I recommend setting up a team status/presence tool.  The two most popular tools occupying this space are Presently and Yammer. With the exception of some downtime issues, I’ve had good luck with Present.ly in several organizations. In a nutshell, these apps are like Twitter for private groups.They enable team members to post short messages about their status, what they are thinking about, or problems they are experiencing. You may be wondering: is such an app really necessary when you already have a chat application?  Don’t they overlap? It’s true, either a chat room or a presence app can be used to simulate the other.  But ideally, they handle two

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  • The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide, part 3: No message left behind

    The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide, part 3: No message left behind

    Jul 6, 10 • In Basics

    In a dispersed team, a good email setup and healthy mail habits are critical to success. In today’s installment of our getting-started guide for dispersed teams, I talk about the importance of capturing all team email into a searchable archive. I also list some disciplines which, once internalized by your team, will ensure that knowledge is not lost or fragmented

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  • The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide: Part 2

    The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide: Part 2

    Jul 1, 10 • In Basics

    In part 2 of this series, I talk about why face time is essential; the two types of realtime communication tool which should form the backbone of your day to day interactions as a dispersed team; and why instant messaging can do more harm than good. If you missed Part 1 of this series, you may want to go back and read it. Face Time A little face-to-face communication goes a long way with remote work. A day spent working with a teammate in person can change the whole character of your subsequent online interactions. Before, they were a screen name and an avatar. After working with them in person, with every instant message or email they send you’ll have a mental picture of their tone and mannerisms to go with it. People become more

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  • The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide: Part 1

    The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide: Part 1

    Jun 22, 10 • In Basics

    Part one of a multi-part guide to getting started as a geographically distributed team. In this article I talk about the attitudes that form the foundations of an effective dispersed team. This is the first installment of a multipart guide distilling the basics of what I’ve learned so far about effective distributed teamwork. This series will take a concrete, prescriptive approach, with specific practices and tools recommended. Any distributed team will eventually need to customize their workflow and tools to their own preferences and needs. The advice here is simply a starting point based on common elements that have worked for other distributed teams

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