We all have been greatly helped by Scrum and the Agile manifesto. It freed us from waterfall planning and excessive process. But working remotely and continuous delivery need something more.
At GitLab we love to work remotely, but that means we need to communicate as effectively as possible.
The following are GitLab's eight principles for modern teams working remotely:
1. Work from anywhere you want
Working remotely allows you to be there for the ones you love, and be more available for them. It allows you to see more places, without ever having to commute. On top of that, working remotely removes almost every distraction.
2. Communicate Asynchronously
Don't try to mimic an office. Communicate using issue mentions and chat tools. Reduce task switching and put an end to email overload. Choose the right channel of communication according to the necessity of the task you're working on. Can it wait a few minutes, a few hours, even a few days? Don't take someone from their work if you don't have to.
If people are working from the same location, it is important that they do not skimp on writing things down.
Everyone should use the same tools to communicate.
3. Recognize that the future is unknown
Ship stuff when it's done, not when the sprint (planning) is complete.
4. Have face-to-face meetings online
There is no need to cut back on face-to-face meetings. The technology is readily available and it's easier to use than ever. We're human, we like to converse. Some times it can be critical to talk, even if only for a minute, when all other communication is written.
5. Daily stand-up meetings are for bonding, blockers and the future
Don't talk about what you did yesterday, this is not a reporting moment where everyone tries to look busy. Rather, kickstart the day with some bonding, solve anything blocking and share future plans so people can plan and act and ultimately save time.
6. Estimate workload on a need-to-know basis
Don't get fixated on trying to estimate workloads. This is mostly a waste of time and usually inaccurate. If it's to get a general idea, use T-shirt sizes for a measure. S, M, or L. If you get to XL then you can guarantee it's inaccurate.
7. Bond in real life
Hanging out together in real life is awesome and totally worth it. These are the best days of our lives. Spend time together and make sure to do more than just work. Do a martial arts workshop together, visit the parents of an employee, go to a festival together: have fun.
8. Give credit where it's due and remember to say thank you
At GitLab we have a Slack channel
#thanks for this purpose. It always feels good to give and receive a thanks.
Inspired by this post on pandastrike.com.