At Preqin we have a fast-growing development team based in Bangalore and they are great. Last week I had the last retro with one of the Scrum teams I’ve closely worked with during the last few months and I must say the session was somewhat emotional. It’s been a great experience working with this lovely bunch and hope it’s not the end of a story, it’s just the end of a chapter.
Working remotely and working across different time zones does have challenges in many ways, but this is what I’ve learned: it can work! It will have many challenges on the way, but as long as you know that and you prepared to steer the wheel back to the middle and focus on the road ahead of you, things will be just fine.
These are my takeaways from the last few months, to be applied to the upcoming months and beyond:
1. Learn about each others’ jobs, motivations and challenges
I was lucky enough to travel to Bangalore twice during the last few months and spend some face to face time with the people I interact with online on a daily basis. To improve our relationship and learn more about how I’d like a ‘designer-tech team relationship’ to work, I did a workshop with the team in Bangalore and with another member of the team joining us from Bristol (due to popular demand, I had to do a V2 when I was there again second time around 🙂. This was, because I wanted to encourage them to think about the end user and let them understand what my approach and motivation is when I’m working on a piece of design. I felt this really bonded us together as a team and it helped them understand I’d like to have a collaborative approach going forward and that the design work I do should be challenged by them sometimes.
2. Be honest and transparent
When we are not all located in the same place, we can naturally miss out on things that happen at other locations where our colleagues are. Also, when we connect online we may not have the exact same energy or mood we had for instance two days ago, we might be juggling with more task or you are under more pressure, etc… I believe it’s important to be transparent and explain to others if we are in a difficult situation and there are issues we are facing, so we know how to approach each other. This doesn’t make us less professional, it makes us human.
3. Introduce some fun and personal touch
Since we work in different locations and across different time zones, the meetings and ceremonies we have are mostly focussed on topics we need to discuss around the work we do, but introducing some fun and personal touch to meetings is always important and helps the team dynamic, as well as the individuals’ general mood. My experience is that it also allows people to bond and give more honest feedback to each other which is crucial, especially during Retros.
4. Challenge each other and keep each other motivated
To keep each other motivated, it’s good to challenge and push each other. When we work in a different location as the rest of our team and we don’t have someone next to us, it can be easy to fall into a routine and and loose motivation, so being challenged and inspired by colleagues and team members is very important. i think it’s important to reach out for each other, and have a chat about a piece of work we do or ask for feedback on something we work on.
5. Give constant feedback and express your appreciation
I probably don’t need to elaborate on it too much, just say that feedback and expressing appreciation is important, so I want to say Thank You LPDD Team for the last few months, it’s been a great team to work with and a great project to work on, I’ve learned a lot and had met some truly great people.