Posts Tagged ‘communication’

  • 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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  • Wide Links #14

    Wide Links #14

    Nov 12, 10 • In Links

    Another fresh serving of articles and presentations about remote work and distributed teams, from all around the web. In this edition: building trust, collaborating on visual design while distributed, keeping a team together during dry spells, and much more! Creative Remote Collaboration » IQ Blog – Annotated tags: wideteams   Remote collaboration is important for any line of work where people are divided by time and space, but the need is expanded in a creative industry where there is an increased requirement of collaboration, communication, and execution of ideas. When you work for a creative agency with colleagues and clients around the country (and developers around the world), how can you improve and streamline the creative collaboration process?   Building Trust Within Virtual Teams – Small Steps Add Up – Annotated One of the ideas

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  • Have a spam day! Making communication tools fun.

    Have a spam day! Making communication tools fun.

    Nov 8, 10 • In Practices

    Picking a new team communication tool is one thing. Getting everyone to use it is another. Here’s a fun technique for easing adoption of a new tool. So you’ve evaluated the options and picked a chat tool for your distributed team. Or a presence app. Or maybe you’ve decided to use video mail. Now you have another challenge ahead of you: getting everyone to use it. Some people are natural early adopters. I’ll try any tool out if it’s new and interesting, and keep using it if I find it helpful. Others are slower to change. One way to get over that initial resistance to a new tool is to make a game of it. One one of the teams I work with, the engineering leadership decided to roll out Yammer for status updates and

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  • The Endless Break

    The Endless Break

    Oct 18, 10 • In Practices

    Everyone needs to take a break from time to time, especially if you’ve been collaborating closely for an hour or more. But when working together remotely, breaks have a way of stretching out longer than intended. Here’s one simple rule for avoiding the Endless Break. It’s a common enough scenario: you work together with a coworker for an hour or so, and then you hit a stopping point and decide to take a 5-minute breather. Both of you go for a walk, maybe grab some water, and then head back to the desk and sit down again to get some more work done. When collaborating remotely, it doesn’t always work out like that. You get back to your desk, and check your teammate’s IM status. It doesn’t say “away”, but she hasn’t posted anything on

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  • Staying in Sync with a Core Hour

    Staying in Sync with a Core Hour

    Aug 11, 10 • In Practices

    One of the attractive features of a dispersed team is the ability for the team to get things done without all being on the same schedule. Members of the team are able to use their time more flexibly, scheduling work around life instead of vice-versa. They may also be scattered across time zones as well. This advantage comes with a significant dark side, however. With less time spent in direct communication, teams members have a much increased potential for getting out of sync with each other – leading to delays, duplicated or unneeded work, and confusion. Collocated organizations that practice flex time often define a block of “core hours” when every employee is expected to be in the office. While it is typically impractical – and quite possibly inefficient – for a dispersed team to

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  • Wide Teams Podcast, Episode 8: Interview with Loren Johnson

    Wide Teams Podcast, Episode 8: Interview with Loren Johnson

    Aug 2, 10 • In Interviews, Podcast

    Today’s interview is with Loren Johnson, a Ruby on Rails developer and a remote worker for most of his career. I talked to Loren at RailsConf 2010 about some of the tradeoffs involved when choosing to live and work in a geographically isolated area, and the challenges of being the sole remote worker on a team

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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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  • Wide Teams Podcast Episode 4: Interview with Mike Zazaian, Part 2

    Wide Teams Podcast Episode 4: Interview with Mike Zazaian, Part 2

    Jul 5, 10 • In Interviews, Podcast

    In this episode of the podcast, listen to the conclusion of my interview with Mike Zazaian at RailsConf 2010. In it we talk about the importance of getting to know your remote team members as people, and we discuss the state of remote collaboration tools, among other topics

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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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