Ways of Working
For almost more than one month, we have been working in a distributed manner (I do not like the term remote). This was a new environment for us as most of other companies and learned few things along the way and in this post, so I want to share some of these learnings.
Health & Safety
It goes without saying that the most important thing is to communicate to your team that they need to be healthy and safe. This is a number one priority.
- Follow news about the pandemic situation to be informed for what comes next
- Follow WHO and CDC recommendations
No longer are those chitchats in the kitchen happening; no longer can you sense and understand the mood of people that are just “showing up to work”. No longer can you do check-ins on certain meeting outcomes with people through debriefs. This can increase frustration and can feel at times being isolated or “out of the loop”. However, this also is a good opportunity for everyone to double-down on communication to mitigate some of these issues and increase the feeling of “being in the loop” for you and your team.
- Make your team feel connected
- Relay more and more information to your team to get them involved as well as making them part of the team
- Be available
- We have now greats tools like Slack, Zoom. If this fails, good old phone still works for every other purpose
- Prefer written communication over 1-1 video Communication
- Everyone in the team can have access to information if the information is captured in the written form
- Increase the check-in frequency with your team
- Have your team to inform their manager about their wellbeing and safety
- Have verbal communication when necessary
- Zoom is great for certain items that you cannot communicate in a written form or get closure
- Have also vide option in zoom whenever you can
- Be clear and strive for clarity
- Without in person communication, there will be miscommunication. Be open to it and try to resolve conflicts with this in mind.
- Be explicit and ask clarifying questions
- Confirm your understanding through follow-up questions
- Be flexible
- Have your own schedule and accept the same flexibility for other people
Many websites are experiencing high traffic and usage, so make sure you have enough hardware to support a smooth customer experience. Customers need us the most in these times, so we should make sure that every system is purring.
- Coordinate deployments to be done in a synchronized manner to deliver high quality releases
- Review your on-call rotation and make necessary adjustments with people’s schedules
- Run various different playbooks for different failure scenarios and make sure that your system and your team is ready to respond to incidents
- Dry runs would be especially important and comes in handy for preparation
- Have a contingency plan on how you can support the systems in case if some of the team members become sick
- Make sure your team have internet connection and the tools that they need to do their job effectively
- Be rigorous for changes in production and have virtual war-rooms