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How to Manage Remote Teams During Quarantine?

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Upplabs
  • Date Published
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Some business owners don’t believe the idea of effective remote work. Who controls their developers? How to trust them? How to establish clear communication with them if they’re 100% time away?

UppLabs gathered the best remote team management practices and shares them with you. Regardless of your business type, following those practices, you will succeed.


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1. Project Management Methodologies Are a Must

Your remote team must remain in constant communication without overdoing it. One way is to adopt a certain management process that fits you best. Such a project management methodology helps foster honesty and accountability while boosting the flexibility and productivity of both teams. A shared dashboard like Jira, in conjunction with other plugins, can help your project managers monitor the progress.

There are several project management methodologies you should be aware of:

Agile

Collaborating to iteratively deliver whatever works. Agile is a set of principles are outlined in the Agile manifesto outlines four values:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools;
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation;
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation;
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

Being Agile is more of a philosophy and set of values to follow, rather than a process you can directly apply to a project.

Scrum

Enabling a small, cross-functional, self-managing team to deliver fast. Scrum is a project management methodology which proposes principles and process to improve delivery. The goal of Scrum is to improve communication, teamwork, and speed of development. If you hear people talking about sprints, scrums, backlogs, and burndowns, they’re probably talking about Scrum or some derivative of it.

Scrum is a light approach and defines a simple set of roles, meetings, and tools to efficiently, iteratively and incrementally deliver valuable shippable functionality. Scrum advocates using a small, cross-functional team of up to 9 people who work together.

Kanban

Improving the speed and quality of delivery by increasing the visibility of work in progress and limiting multi-tasking. Kanban focused on Lean principles and a strict process to increase efficiency. It’s similar in many ways to Scrum — it’s all about releasing early and often with a collaborative and self-managing team. But compared to Scrum, Kanban is a more
evolutionary change, a softer landing into the world of Agile as it’s less prescriptive.

The core practices are visualizing the workflow, limiting work in progress, measuring the lead time, making process policies explicit and continually evaluating improvement opportunities. Kanban focuses on measuring Lead Time — how long it takes, after being briefed, to deliver.

Lean

Streamlining and eliminating waste to deliver more with less. Lean methodology is a project management methodology focused on the theme of efficiency. Arguably the Godfather of Agile, Lean is all about doing more with less. It starts by identifying value and then maximizes it through continuous improvement by optimizing the flow of value and eliminating wastage. It’s a theme with principles, rather than a methodology dictating process and things to do. It suggests you can do more with less by addressing the three dysfunctions that create waste (3Ms):

  • Muda (about eradicating waste — removing process or anything that’s
    not ultimately adding value to the customer)
  • Mura (about eliminating variations — removing the overhead that
    variances to the standard process create)
  • Muri (about removing overload — the optimal capacity is working at
    60–70%)

Xtreme Programming Methodology (XP)

Doing development robustly to ensure quality. eXtreme Programming (XP) defines values and processes to improve software quality and ensure responsiveness to evolving customer requirements. The values or principles are very similar to Scrum, around simplicity, communication, feedback, respect, and courage.

Where it really deviates from Scrum is in defining rules or prescriptive processes. Some of these are similar to Scrum but there are rules around technical practices around designing coding and testing that make it specific for development projects. These rules include making mandatory; Including user stories, Test-driven development (TDD), Pair programming, and Continuous integration among many others.

Waterfall

Planning projects fully, then executing through phases. Waterfall methodology, often referred to as SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle) has a very simple approach that values solid planning, doing it once and doing it right, rather than the Agile approach of incremental and iterative delivery. It’s simple to understand because you simply make a good plan, and execute it. The project manager tends to be large and in charge, and work is planned extensively upfront and then executed, in strict sequence, adhering to requirements, to deliver the project in a single, and usually very long cycle.

PRINCE2

Controlled project management that leaves nothing to chance. PRINCE2 methodology is a full-stack Waterfall project management methodology that includes principles, themes, and processes. The acronym PRINCE2 stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments. It is a process-oriented methodology, dividing projects into multiple stages, each with their own plans and processes to follow. The methodology defines inputs and outputs for every stage of a project so that nothing is left to chance.

The system emphasizes justification of the course taken by a business, and so the first step is identifying a clear need for the project, who the target customer is, whether there are real benefits and a thorough cost assessment.

PMI’s PMBOK

Applying universal standards to Waterfall project management. PMBOK “methodology” is a framework of standards, conventions, processes, best practices, terminologies, and guidelines that are accepted as project management industry standards. Even so, the PMBOK framework from the PMI is often thought of as a traditional project management methodology.

The PMBOK refers to the five process steps of project management: initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing. It contains many processes and techniques of project management by which to evaluate or complete the way you run your projects.

2. Automate Your Setup Whenever Possible

For every activity or task create a simple getting started guide. This might be hard at first, but when ready it will simplify and speed up a lot of processes.

3. Always Set a Concrete Definition of a Complete Task

Explain what do you mean by completing the task, so no questions and misunderstandings left behind. Also, it is necessary to describe these parameters of the completed task in a document every remote team would have access to.

4. Always Set Deadlines

If your employee has no strict deadline, a work could last forever, because some tasks might be evaluated as ones with the higher priorities and the finish line for the one we talk about could be shifted to eternity.

5. Establish Communication Channels

Don’t underestimate the time zones difference and set the time that suits best for daily calls with your team. Take advantage of the best business management and communication channels in 2020:

Communication

  • Slack
  • Google Hangouts
  • Skype
  • Zoom
  • RingCentral

Task Project Management

  • Jira
  • Trello
  • GitLab
  • Asana
  • Zapier (for integrations)
  • Redmine

Customer Service

  • Zendesk
  • Hubspot
  • Hootsuite
  • MailChimp
  • Zoho
  • Calendly
  • Basecamp

File Management

  • Dropbox
  • Google Docs
    and more…

Don’t neglect email for important agreements and negotiations with your clients. Download the cheat sheet to manage your remote team here!

6. Communicate All Decisions Made to Your Team

Critical decisions are oftentimes made in an informal tone or setting. This can result in lots of wasted time before every team member involved knows of the updates and stops working the outdated way. Also, sometimes, informal tone causes misunderstanding as your employees can’t understand the level of serious matter you talk about. Instead of sending out decisions through email or chat, you do better if you add it to a corporate wiki or guide for faster access to everyone involved. You can also ask team members to set up email notifications for important pages or groups.

7. Use Video Chats to Keep a ‘Human Face’ With Your Teammates and Clients

This option reminds you of the importance of live communication. Also, creating and nurturing personal connections add trust, minimizing missed expectations and increasing self-organization.
This approach will positively impact on daily calls about work statuses you organize with your remote team. When visible to your colleagues from home — you remove a level of official pressure present when daily statuses provided from office in the official atmosphere.

8. Automate Everything You Can

Intelligent automation allows team members to put their time and effort into high-impact work, instead of trying to figure out the mundane, routine processes.


However, if you feel that remote team management exhausts you — UppLabs is here to help!

We are ready to take charge of your remote team!