Management Tools in 2021. CROC has always had a geo-distributed structure of development offices. We set tasks and wait for their completion, and if it is more convenient for a person to work, for example, on Saturday and Sunday, and rest on Monday and Tuesday (many of them show great productivity this way, without being distracted by work chats and administrative micro-tasks), then we go towards. During the day, developers can also have a different model.
Someone is ready to start the day at 9-10, while someone is more comfortable working all night long. If this does not harm the coordination of tasks within the team, then this option is quite acceptable. At the same time, there are, of course, video conferences on synchronization, they are usually held twice a week at the same time, and everyone is adjusted to them. But this does not bother anyone.
At the time of the global launch of remote telecommuting, we already had ready and actively used tools for linking charts and trackers, a corporate social network, and the entire CI / CD-DevOps stack. Moreover, all this was partially linked so that data from one system was automatically entered into another. For example, we agreed on something in the chat – it is enough to tell the bot, and he will add it to Jira. Subsequently, such a mechanism helped to solve the problem that in the first days after going to remote control, colleagues did not fill out their tasks in Jira – there was not enough time, it took a long time to connect to systems and deal with access, and this work is a priority, rather, for the manager. then for a developer. A week later, the situation was resolved.
Remote Team Management Tools in 2021
On our first day of working from home, the entire state believed that we were doing well based on the above experience. But then it turned out that there are a number of tasks that require the constant involvement of the team, inflating the calendars already clogged with meetings. An 8-hour working day suddenly turned into 10-15 hours. They began to figure out what was the matter. There are many ways to organize remote work of development teams on the Internet. It was possible to implement all of them indiscriminately and see what happens. But we decided to “look” into each development team, find those processes that waste the most time, and figure out how to optimize and automate them.
Automate actions with an accessible and easy communication channel
It turned out, for example, that in the new conditions, project managers had to get involved as much as possible and use chats to inform colleagues, for example, about the fact that stands will be updated, or about other similar current moments. This kept the efficiency of the team’s work, but it was very labor-intensive for the manager and wasted resources from everyone. In just 15 minutes, we wrote a chat bot that sent the necessary notifications to the developers from the team. We have previously used bots in different projects, but did not see the need for their widespread use. However, now they quickly realized that he could help, for example, introduce tasks based on the results of the discussion immediately into control systems.
Such issues were resolved at the company level, since there is no point in supporting 6 messengers, for example. It was necessary to select and use one channel, as well as quickly teach colleagues to use it.
Standardize IT infrastructure
We have many teams and customers who have their own characteristics, infrastructure, use different tech stacks and are at different stages of architectural development. But we tried to standardize the IT infrastructure. And if this is not justified, we do not put a new service into operation in order to reduce the cost of operating the existing solutions and maintain their integration.
CROC fixed for itself a number of tools that are offered for solving certain problems, and invited colleagues to contact them first of all. They are in the picture:
Choose convenient tools
Those who are accustomed to talking while pasting the walls with stickers have experienced a creative collapse because now it has become impossible to do so. The habit of using standard boards and markers also had to be abandoned. We tried to draw on a home board on a video – it’s inconvenient. Editors have tried – everything freezes and simultaneous edits of documents were not always successful. As a result, we switched to Miro – the solution was a revelation, and everyone got used to it. So far, this is the best option, which has the functionality necessary for such meetings. And a great brainstorming tool.
Think over convenient and efficient synchronization
As practice has shown, the need for synchronization with the transition to an unusual “home” format has become sharply high. At the same time, the time spent on excessive synchronization at the beginning was very significant, which interfered with efficiency and greatly irritated everyone.
We came to the conclusion that the project manager can make things easier for the whole team. Everything that can be taken from the reports must be taken from there. It is worth paying more attention to the formalization and clarity of setting tasks. We explain in detail in the letter what needs to be done, describe the desired result and discuss a convenient time to call and discuss the details with the contractor. This preliminary work allows you to shorten the call time and make it more constructive. Still, oral discussion will make sure you both get the point right and move in the same direction.
In one team, we noticed completely banal synchronization errors. Calls were scheduled for a time that was inconvenient for many and did not coincide with the cyclical nature of work processes, and therefore the meetings were not effective. There are also platitudes like time zones and coworkers’ daily routines. Having discussed them, you can determine a time of intensive work that is comfortable for everyone, when everyone is in touch and involved in the process. It’s perfectly okay to tell your management that you have children or other circumstances that might interfere with your work at any given time. Everyone is sympathetic. If, for objective reasons, the work schedule is shifted to late evening, then you can talk about the use of the most convenient tools at this time. For example, after 20:00 we send all urgent questions to the messenger.
A good approach is to write down the modes of each developer handy. We are accustomed to this because of the geography, but the additions like “from 16:00 to 19:00 only via the phone in urgent cases” help a lot.
Optimize meetings and appointments
I had to change the approach to meetings. Choose a single site so that you don’t have to jump from one to another during the day. Think over a universal meeting plan. For example, 1/3 of the time before the end of the meeting, we begin to finalize the results, stopping the discussion, or we decide to increase the time of similar meetings, if required. This approach visibly disciplines all meetings.
Delays were ruled out very simply – by talking and finding out the reason. It turned out, for example, that someone at the appointed time simply puts the child to bed and does not have time. We shift it by an hour – and everything is fine.
It is very important not to quickly share tasks, but to communicate normally. The world has changed and is dictating its own terms. And for companies there are two significant threats: professional burnout (when people are “squeezed out” and used “woodpecker-management” – constant jerking of people) and the issue of a complete restructuring of management structures, when teams understand that they can do everything quite autonomously, focusing on the new informal leader. This may end up with the fact that when the situation stabilizes, the entire team, which was so hard sought and trained, will stand up and go to their own project. Therefore, the main rule: do not bother people, even if productivity has dropped, and the time frame has decreased. It is important not to press, but to set an interesting task and give an image of the target result. Leaders within the project should be given room for decision-making on an equal footing.