New Team Culture

Many who previously were never able to, never had the opportunity to or never considered it, are getting used to working remotely from their main office, away from their team.

The adjustment to working remote is not a simple switch that gets flipped et voila it all works perfectly. Like working in an office, working remotely is a change in culture as now all the behaviours you would use when working side-by-side with someone are now going to be replaced with a new set of behaviours multiplied across your entire team.

Not only is one of you working remote, you are all working remote.

With any team culture, there is no rule book to follow or plan to implement to get you through it all in one fell swoop. It takes time to establish and just as you did with your on-site culture, it takes patience as everyone finds their footing in what they are doing and how they are going to do it.

Assuming you have the team setup and running, here are a few tips/tricks you can do to make sure things are going smoothly;

  • Check in with everyone – yes we all have work to do, but that communication is key to ensuring that everyone is still part of the team and still working together.
  • Use Video (where possible) – for big meetings, I’d say no to video as the streams and bandwidth would easily add up. But for one-on-one or three to four people meetings, turn on the video so everyone sees you and encourage others to stay the same. It’s good to smile and laugh with someone.
  • Ignore the Presence Icons – I can’t take credit for this, but the guys at Basecamp make a great argument for not holding people to what their presence state says. We all go to the bathroom, we all have things that popup, if someone is marked away for a long period of time, trust them and leave it at that. It doesn’t matter what state they are in (and these tools do get it wrong).

And have fun with it, your whole team is most likely wondering how long this is going to last and no one has the answer. But what you can do is make it fun in many small, different ways. Something as simple as changing your status note to something goofy or shaving your beard, won’t get people excited and relaxed.

Code Your Way Up is available today for purchase as an eBook or Paperback on Amazon (CAN and US).

Where did it Start?

I’ve been asked this question a few times over the last months as Code Your Way Up has got closer to completion and is set to be GA (Generally Available) in the next two weeks.

I’ll try to boil this down to a few key points on where the idea came from…

  1. I’d been writing and blogging on technology leadership mindsets for a number of years, having written over 1,000+ articles in the last four years on the topic ranging from development, design, deployment, team leadership, growth, delivery, drive and everything else in between.
  2. A few years ago I did a significant amount of research on LinkedIn reaching out to a number of tech leaders to get their thoughts on the topic and see if there were experiencing the same trends that I was seeing – people not being prepared for leadership roles, but at the same time, companies not being able to invest in these roles.
  3. I’ve had some amazing opportunities to lead teams, push products out the door, mentor junior developers and coach other leaders along the way.

But the exact moment where it crystalized in my brain why I wanted to write this book? I was on a plane, to another conference, staring at the window, had loads of work to do that I was leaving behind, wondering whether I should be going away or if I’ll just be spending the time worrying about the team. To cap it all off, as soon as I landed, I had a project that I record myself doing, where I had to speak to what I was going to do next.

Not being the best at planning (I had two weeks to think about it), it wasn’t until I was on the plane that I started writing furiously to put together the elements that I think contribute to the makings of scary good technology leaders in our industry. You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones that years later, you get together at a bar and you reminisce about how great they were and what they did for your career.

It was there that I realized being a leader didn’t start when you were promoted, it started when you dropped your first line of code, and every line of code thereafter is what would make you that leader.

So that’s where it started.

What does it take to Lead?

I’ve asked myself this question many times over the years as I took on new leadership roles or helped others realize that they to could lead.

Coupled with the fact that more often than not, the move towards leadership came about not because you were already “practicing” to be a great leader but rather because you were/are this energetic, relentless, amazing coder who always Delivers, always takes the Initiative, has the Drive to see things through to the end and never stops learning.

It has never been easy, there’s no manual on how to be a great leader, how to one day go from being a Peer to the next day being responsible for your what your team is shipping.

So I did the next logical thing I could think of.

I wrote a book – Code Your Way Up – it comes out in March 2020..

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