Have you ever faced a situation where a sales manager has left you with a brand new client, and you have a whole team of developers who only shrug when asked for estimates?

What would you do if I told you that I’ve dealt with such cases with neither the client nor the dev team in the same room?

Obviously, due to the pandemic the world’s changed and most of us managers have to manage teams remotely, doing our best to keep clients updated, teams motivated and stakeholders informed. It is not a secret that managing  people whom you know personally or have at least shared a cup of morning coffee with is much easier than trying to approach those behind the screen of your 13 inch laptop. 

My thoughts are that distance isn’t a barrier once the processes are set up right. Take a look at the simple list of principles that I try to follow to keep all of my fellow riselabers happy & on track. 

Online calls are the new meetings.

Remember how cool it was to ask a Lead developer out for a lunch and discuss all of the project risks and details in person? Well, you can do the same in GoogleMeet, – just change your background, make a joke for a good mood and jump to your questions. Sometimes quick sync online calls are a huge time-saver. 

Don’t forget to write agendas and follow-ups to your meetings. 

Once you take a deep breath and decide to create the e-meeting with your colleagues, – make sure the meeting has an agenda. We’re all busy and are familiar with the quote ‘time is money’ so letting those invitees know what the meeting is going to be about really helps set the pace and  tone. Although, be prepared for no shows; not everyone you invite will be able to attend. No worries though! – write a short follow-up that consists of all of the major points of discussion as well as the action plan if necessary. Be sure to pass this on to everyone, so that all of you are  on the same page. 

Have a little break.

Work is hard. But remote work sometimes feels like it is 10x harder. With that said, why did we all forget about traditional team building, corporate meetings and regular coffee breaks? I believe that distance shouldn’t change everything that we loved about our office lives and having some shared free time with your teammates is critical. Especially, if you’ve never seen them. Try to start with a traditional monthly meeting when you can gather all of the team and retrospectively review the previous month. For those of you who run teams using Scrum methodology – please do not hesitate and host a retrospective meeting at the end of each sprint. If you don’t know how to start a dialogue with a bunch of unknown faces in the GoogleMeet room – try and make them play some games. Two truths and one lie is a great icebreaker and usually helps the team to get to know more about each other. 

Transparency is the new black. 

 Okay, repeat after me: transparency is important. I always set transparency as a rule and here at Riselabs we tend to share everything with each other. I think that it’s better to make an apology and ask for the third time for the sake of a clear understanding than making conclusions based on your own assumptions. Once you start building transparent relationships with your teammates based on trust rather than fear – you’ll be surprised with how motivated and happy people are. 

Delegate doable deals.

We all know that you’re capable of doing everything perfectly fine on your own. However, running a project isn’t a one-star-show, it’s a musical with a group of invited celebrities so please do not be afraid of sharing some of the limelight. Share the project briefs with your teammates in terms of discussion on the potential projects, task your colleagues with valuable things that are out of your comfort zone, greatly appreciate any  help offered. We have all been there and sharing the daily routine or some challenges is something that we can all benefit from. Appreciate it.

And last but not least, turn off your Ego. Sometimes it might feel like you’re the almighty octopus or a superhero but don’t overestimate your human capabilities. Love your teammates as much as your morning coffee and make asking for help as easy as writing a christmas card to your client.

Alina

Alina

Alina keeps our projects running smooth, our teams coordinated and our clients informed. She is our resident octopus of Project Management, with arms connecting to all that is happening in Riselabs.