Managing Remote Teams

These are challenging times we find ourselves facing.  A lot of organizations and government bodies now find themselves managing bigger than normal remote teams.  We at CelticQA Solutions have been delivering our services remotely to clients in the UK, US, and Ireland for the past 15 years.

Over that time, we have developed routines and processes that ensure successful outcomes for our clients while helping our engineers remain focused and productive.

We often receive calls from other leaders asking how we manage our remote teams.  We thought it might be useful to share some of our knowledge.

Managing remote teams requires a schedule of regular virtual meetings with your teams.  The challenge here is finding time for the meetings that suits all team members (especially now that we are looking after our families at home) and defining the process for keeping these meetings productive.

Communication is critical when working remotely, and accountability and responsibility need to be clearly defined. It is important to ensure that people’s day is structured and has regular touchpoints.

CQA uses Slack as our main communication tool, it gives us connectivity across mobile, desktop, etc.

Here’s a shortlist of remote communication options that are widely available:

  • Teams (comes with MS Office365)
  • Slack
  • Google Hangouts
  • Flock

Daily scrum calls:   Regardless of the tool you choose, and there are many more not in the list above, it’s important to set up daily checkpoints (stand up/scrum) to start and end the day. It’s equally important to have someone responsible for making that happen, taking note of actions that affect the team and individuals and making sure they are taken care of.

This keeps the team focused and accountable.

We hold two daily scrum calls via Zoom (can also use Slack or Teams for this, but we like to have more than one option for the flexibility) to discuss the delivery plan for the day.

This gives our teams the platform to prioritize their daily workload and inform us if they need any additional support to deliver their daily or weekly goals.  It also gives the team leads an opportunity to ensure that all our employees are in good health.  During the coming days, some of our colleagues may fall ill or will need to care for family members that fall ill.  It is important that we are aware of this and the team can support each other during this time.

Instant messaging: All our engineers use instant messaging.   We invite our clients into a shared channel in slack.  This ensures that everyone involved in a project has visibility of communications.  Instant messaging is very powerful for improving response times and effective communication.

Channels: Set up specific channels for projects and special interest groups to communicate.

Video calls:  Using video calls is very effective for building team morale and trust, video chat rooms can be kept open for a long duration to give people office like informal chats or for long term collaboration and screen sharing of work.

One to One video call:   There is still a need for regular one to one meetings to support team members who are dealing with work challenges.  This is a good way to ensure that your team members are connected and can support one another outside of the official group meetings.

We hope some of the above information is of value to you and supports you with managing your remote teams successfully.

We know some businesses are struggling with adapting to this new reality, and it will take time to adapt to the new normal.  If we can help you with your digital business continuity challenges and keep the workflow going through these unprecedented times,  Check us out at www.celticqa.com and info@celticqa.com if you wish to find out more about our services.

We wish you, your team and family continued good health as we all work together to act responsibly during the current crisis.