Mark Pearl

1) Have bookends to signify the beginning and end of day to help you transition into/out of the work mindset i.e. running in the morning, going for a brief walk at the end of the day

2) Communicate as if everyone was remote

  • If in meetings, have everyone dial in separately
  • Move communication one level up, if you were going to DM someone, rather communicate in the team channel so others can participate
  • Use tools that are consumable remotely, i.e. Conflunece or Miro

3) Use appropriate mediums for communication

  • Informal chat with responses same day > Slack
  • Formal written conversation that requires some formatting/structure and response within 48 hours > Email
  • Immediate response / near immediate response > Video Meeting

4) For mission critical immediate responses use text message / phone call (see medium chart)

5) Documentation

  • Create an index that allows people to self-discover information on your wiki
  • Create a welcome to the team document that you share with new starters explaining where to record what

6) Healthy async communication practices

  • As you go through your day keep your team informed about what you are working on
  • At the end of each week write a brief update about what you’ve been working on and why, and what is top of your mind going into the next week
  • When having meetings, maintian an agenda with notes that contains the history of what has been talked about. Record each meeting and store it in a shared filesystem
  • Have a regular cadence where people “clean up” your written documentation, that means adding things that are missing and archiving things that are no longer relevant

7) Scratch patch is a place to put short lived documents, long lived documents need to be moved out of the scratch patch and into a proper index

8) Have spaces between meetings, I need time between meetings to get my head in the right space, organise 20 or 50 minute meetings and always start meetings on the hour or half hour.

9) Consider a regular newsletter to send out around each value stream

10) Async videos tips

  • Keep to under 5 minutes
  • Link to any artifacts, ie. slide show

11) End of each day list what you have acheived and what you would like to achieve tomorrow (direct team - SEM’s & Principal Engineers)

Manager points

12) Offices are organised to remove any unrelated distractions to that staff can focus on getting their work done effectively - what needs to change at home to enable this?

13) Connundrum, how do you know what appropriate pace/capacity is. We are looking for a 8 hour commitment day to day.

14) Allowing remote work means you have to give trust to people, trust that they are using their time wisely. To manage remote people you have to focus on outcomes instead of business.

15) Overcommunicate, repeat, remind, repost, use different angles

16) Master the remote tools - whiteboard, voting, notes, diagramming

17) Leave loudly each day - let people know when you are knocking off for the day

18) Have frequent “Ask me anything” sessions where the team are encouraged to discuss anything tath’s on their minds about the team, product, and company.

19) What does flexible hours look like, when does everyone need to be together

20) Have a handbook that people use for engineering that is open and visibile to everyone

21) Where are we on the remote spectrum where looks something like office bound, office bound remote once a week, home bound in office once a week, home bound in office once a delivery cycle, home bound in office once a month, home bound in every quarter

  • Physically colocated: A company where all employees are working from the same physical location, which is typically an office.
  • Globally distributed: A company where employees are working from one of a number of offices, potentially distributed worldwide.
  • Hybrid remote: A company where some employees work from an office, of which there may be more than one, and some work remotely. This includes employees that split their time between working in the office and at home.
  • Remote-first: An extension of hybrid remote where remote work is the norm and office-based work is the exception.
  • Fully remote: A company where all employees are remote and there are no offices.

22) Having an office can be an attractor for talent wanting to immigate (ie come work for us we will get you a visa to live in New Zealand)

Medium Length Reply expected Reply time After hours Good for Bad for
Phone call Short Yes Immediate Yes An interruptible urgent matter Anything else. Calling someone’s phone directly can feel intrusive
SMS Short Yes Same day No An urgent alert, such as a system going down Anything else, as per phone calls
Slack Short Typically 24 Hours No Informal conversations, light interactions, broadcast messages that could have engagement Finding importnat information later. Not suitable for formal communications as can get lost in the noise
Video Call Medium Yes Immediate No Rapid discussion, feeling connection to fellow humans, discussing nuanced issues or ideas where there is perceived misalignment Finding time for everyone to be available.
Email Medium Not always 2 business days No Formal and archival communication, broadcast updates across wider org groups Matters requireing quick replies and ensuring that everyone has read your message. Back and forth communication on an aspect of an email.
Slack broadcast recorded video Medium No 24 Hours No Material that will be rewatched repeatedly, or that can be watched out of sync by a wider group Searchability and brevity
Slack conversation recorded video Medium Yes 24 Hours No Conversation on a sepcific topic where the topic is sensitive or needs to convey a human element Quick responses or brevity
Written Confluence Document Long No N/A N/A Developing complex ideas through writing and getting others involved through review Time poor recipients may not engage. Writing is hard, and poorly written documents may repel people more than they attract them
Medium Length Reply expected Reply time After hours
Phone call Short Yes Immediate Yes
SMS Short Yes Hours No
Slack Short Typically Hours No
Video Call Medium Yes Immediate No
Email Medium Not always Days No
Slack broadcast recorded video Medium No Hours No
Slack conversation recorded video Medium Yes Hours No
Written Confluence Document Long No N/A N/A

For the above, for all of these mediums comment/feedback is appreciated, so where you see a “no reply expected” do not feel that means you cannot give feedback, it just means it is not expected

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