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What To Do When Remote Projects Go Awry - Ambition & Balance

Asynchronous Communication

Asynchronous communication happens when you are not forced to respond to each and every ‘ping’ in real time. Its benefits:

  • Communication becomes less ‘urgent’. It makes for less firefighting and more ‘deep work'.
  • Conversations are meaningful and are not ‘hurried’.
  • Quick movement of teams.
  • More transparency.
  • Less work stress.

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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

What To Do When Remote Projects Go Awry - Ambition & Balance

What To Do When Remote Projects Go Awry - Ambition & Balance

https://doist.com/blog/remote-projects/

doist.com

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Key Ideas

A Central Management Tool

Physical presence does play a large part in moving our projects forward. Managing a project remotely requires a diligent and transparent approach to keep track and maintain the various tasks, deadlines and processes.

It's important to deploy a project management tool, assigning each different task to all the team members. Have regular check-ins and status update meetings. Having a singular place for distributing information ensures that team members do not complain that they were not updated or didn’t know where the specific file was.

Keep teammates accountable

Creating accountability is a great way to manage the work remotely. Accountability is shifted to the teammates, who are now supposed to be responsible for their own work and decisions.

One way to build accountability in remote teams is to assign groups and let teammates hold each other responsible. Also make teammates share their work experience and any issues they face, publicly (within the team) so that it acts as a ready solution for others, reducing repeat work.

Document Everything

Even if the team is small, document, formalize and map each process, making it scalable and automatic.

Standard Operating Procedures, if used correctly in a remote setting, can act like a central nervous system.

Open Channels

Open channels of communication are imperative in managing remote work. Effective communication is the single most important part of handling a remote setting, and is also the most challenging.

Use your favourite software, like Slack or Microsoft Teams and ensure that everyone adheres to the same.

Asynchronous Communication

Asynchronous communication happens when you are not forced to respond to each and every ‘ping’ in real time. Its benefits:

  • Communication becomes less ‘urgent’. It makes for less firefighting and more ‘deep work'.
  • Conversations are meaningful and are not ‘hurried’.
  • Quick movement of teams.
  • More transparency.
  • Less work stress.

Best Practices for Communicating Asynchronously

  1. Allow Offline work, so that team members do some real work.
  2. Use the right communication tool.
  3. Minimize status meetings, as they are mostly a waste of time.
  4. Make Transparency the default setting.
  5. Overcommunicate to make sure all the pieces of information are in place and known to all.
  6. Adapt, as you grow in scale, as what is working for 5 people won’t work for 500.

Overcommunicate and Trust

Trusting your remote coworkers is the only way for it to succeed. Trust the employees and use empathy. Do not assume the worst.

To avoid any communication breakdown, always overcommunicate and ensure questions are asked and answered.

The "No Response" Situation

If there is no response to a request, it is crucial to figure out if everything is ok, after a stipulated amount of time( according to the urgency of the task). Many people can feel isolated and as monotony sets in, some can withdraw or stop contributing.

Regular interaction can minimize the ‘no response’ problem. Setting up partners to look after each other for a project completion is also a great way to ensure productivity.

Conflicting Priorities

Multiple complex projects require juggling of conflicting priorities, making it a challenge to meet deadlines, and separating urgent work from important work.

The way to look at priorities is to step back and see a birds eye view of the overall objective that is to be achieved. Add resources or delegate as needed.

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Assembling the Team

... that's capable of executing in a remote setup:

  • Hire doers: they will get stuff done even if they are working from a secluded island.
  • Hire people you can trust....
Software/Tools

In a remote team, you'll need the right tools to make sure everyone stays on the same page and can continue to execute without a physical person standing next to them.

You likely will need a tool in certain categories like group chat and video conferencing to make remote successful.

Processes

Good processes let you get work done in the absence of all else. They provide structure and direction for getting things done.

A few examples from Zapier:

  • Weekly Hangouts;
  • Weekly One-on-Ones;
  • Bring the team together 2 times/year somewhere cool;
  • Automate anything that can be automated.
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Asynchronous Vs Synchronous Communication
  • Asynchronous communication is when we send a message (such as emails) without expecting an immediate response. The recipient can take hours to answer it.

  • Synchronous (or real-time) communication is when you and the other person are engaged in a face-to-face audio or video conversation, like a video call or a phone call. The information discussed is responded immediately.

Instant messaging tools like Slack or Teams are synchronous, and in some companies, email is also used as a real-time communication tool.

Communication Boom

Team communication has increased by 50 percent in the last 20 years. We spend an average of three hours a day working on emails. On an average, Slack users send about 200 messages in a day.

This near constant communication hampers work productivity, with video calls, one-on-one meetings, e-mail and team chat leaving little room for actual work.

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