Beyond Remote: Six Steps to Successful Remote Teams
At Clevertech we build people first, then technology
Since 2000, we’ve been helping the world's most innovative organizations build incredible, game changing technologies. We hire world-class people and give them the freedom to produce their best work, again and again.
Our team is made up of parents, travelers, motivated professionals, and people looking to grow in their careers. We communicate primarily via Slack and video calls, and have created a tight knit community where you feel like you have the worlds greatest co-workers at your fingertips.
Meet Chad Furman, Chad is one of the Tech Leads at Clevertech. Chad loves working remotely because it’s allowed him to continue to grow in his career without having to go into a traditional office every day. Chad’s going to take us through 6 lessons he’s learned along the way to help him find success.
1. The key to success is communication
While managing a remote team, the most valuable lesson that I’ve learned is that my project’s success relies on one thing above all else: honest, consistent, and frequent communication. These three principles help to: build trust, maintain relationships, set expectations, clear blockers, and organize priorities.
How can you tell if you are on the right path? Listen to the mood of the team. See if your team is enthusiastic and if they’re contributing independently. If they’re not, it’s a great time to help them find solutions to their problems and work with them to find success
2. Building trust within your remote team
As a Tech Lead, the success of our project depends on your knowledge of the technology, and your ability to manage people. To lead a project, you must earn the respect of your team and clients. You must also respect yourself (don’t take it all on your own shoulders). When you respect yourself and are confident in your ability, it’s easier to inspire others to respect and have confidence in you as well. Believe in yourself, because you can do this. Maintain a positive attitude and lift the team with you.
How to build respect with your team:
Get buy-in from your team and client on any important decisions
Learn how to set and deliver on expectations
Be a problem solver, and know when to ask for help
Consistently be trustworthy and dependable
Lead meetings, manage expectations, resolve conflicts and otherwise carry out your role trusting yourself and the other people on the project. Build and protect that trust.
3. Sharing ownership with your team
The product you’re building is as much for you as it is for the client – you want it to ultimately succeed as much as the client does. Together you can build something beautiful and innovative.
When you truly own a product, you care about it. You understand what the business needs, and you have a stake in those needs being met. Whether it’s making a site look great, creating a positive user experience, or completing a product and generating sales. This is your creation, and you want it to be successful! You’ll also make better technical decisions while more easily maintaining the client’s trust. All because you know both the business, and technical priorities.
It’s easy to forget, but always make sure to share the ownership. Make sure your team feels comfortable voicing their ideas and concerns. It’s important that their ideas are heard and acted on, and to always thank them for their contributions
4. Don’t forget...your personality
With only remote communication to rely on, you need to bring your personality to each project. Clients will enjoy discussions with you more, and you’ll be able to build trust and create stronger relationships. Communication is an important building block for managing remote projects.
Being a personable leader also helps with your team. If your team is able to talk to you, they’ll feel more comfortable asking questions, making suggestions, and coming to you with the hard stuff. When people are comfortable in a conversation, they usually provide you more honest feedback which is essential to growth and success.
Ideas: Everyone wear hats on release day, use Zoom or Google Hangout’s draw tools to color-in the lead, or tons of other fun ideas to bond the team in a fun way.
5. Meeting IRL
Having a remote team doesn’t mean that you never get together in real life. An occasional meeting, especially when it makes sense for the project like at an important milestone or presentation, gives you the ability to eat a meal together and toast each other with an actual glass! Take the opportunity to meet in person if that’s a possibility and it makes sense for the stage of the project.
6. Curating your dream team
Every team member must be geared for success, and there are some traits that are helpful when assessing teammates.
Here are some things our hiring team looks for when hiring for the Clevertech team:
Critical Thinking: Can this person independently find the answer to a hard problem?
Curious: Does this person get excited by new challenges?
Cooperative: Will they build up others or tear them down?
Coachable: How well does this person take assignment, direction, and feedback?
Detail-oriented: Does this person create solutions which ignore edge-cases?
Reliable: Is this person online, in stand-up, sending updates, and contributing?
Collaborative: When this person is stuck, do they pair or ask for help?
We hope these six steps help you and your remote team succeed. Tweet us and let us know how you’ve used these steps with your team. If you’re interested in joining a fully remote team check out our open jobs on: https://www.clevertech.careers/
Want to peak into our daily work? Our coaches recount real world situations shared as learning opportunities to build soft skills. We share frameworks, podcasts and thinking tools for sr software developers.
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