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5 Ways Working Remotely Changed the Way I Think About Teamwork

January 27, 2020

By Don Brown

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For the last three years I’ve been an architect on the Hipchat team working remotely, with the rest of my team working far, far away from me in San Francisco and Austin.

People talk a lot about remote work these days, but as with most things, you never truly know until you’ve experienced it. I’ve learned quite a bit about remote teamwork along the way as an architect and developer. Here are some of the highlights:

1. Put people over product.

In just over a year, my team went from a close, eight-person unit to over a hundred people. That’s a lot of growth in a little time. As more and more people were joining the team, I found myself focusing on the many features that needed to get out the door, instead of training and onboarding new developers (who were basically left to fend for themselves).

As an architect, I should have realized how short-sighted that was. As an Atlassian, I should have realized that our values for teamwork were more important than our code.

Like bad first impressions, on-boarding done poorly can leave lasting damage that takes a long time to repair. On-boarding is about much more than teaching a developer where the source code is located, it is about communicating and living your company values, in our case, “Play as a team” or “Be the change you seek”.

Personally sitting down and working shoulder-to-shoulder with a new team member imparts far more valuable information about your values than a hundred powerpoint presentations. When someone new joins a company, they come with a fairly blank slate for how things work and what is expected from them, so it is essential for them to see a team’s values in action and be given early opportunities to build relationships and contribute value.

Lesson: Let that new feature release slip by a week. Sit down with a new team member and work on something together. Let them see rather than just read about your company’s values. Put aside the inconvenience of traveling for work and make that extra effort to connect with a new team member. The impression you give them, the relationships you build and the sense of purpose you instill will benefit the company far more than one week of coding.

2. Ownership is more important than perfection.

During a particularly busy time at work, my team brought in a bunch of new developers who had a steep learning curve ahead of them. As a developer, I was concerned about the quality and consistency of the code, so I doubled down trying to review and be consulted on every change to the system. I might have been a tad bit overbearing. Looking back, I wish I realized the value of ownership, and how important it is for people to feel like what they’re working on is theirs.

In my world, these types of extra duties might be fixing what’s broken, cleaning up unnecessary elements, taking …read more

Source:: HubSpot Blog