Navigating the smooth delivery of projects when teams and clients alike are working remotely can be challenging. But when it comes to working collaboratively with international, multidisciplinary teams there is a checklist for best practice that can ensure consistency, team satisfaction and quality of output.
Here's how we’re continuing to deliver amazing things together while being apart:
1. Get set
There’s nothing more important than ensuring all team members are kitted out and ready to rock remotely.
Slack and Google Hangouts are our lifelines when it comes to continuous communication. We use a whole suite of tools to support our collaboration, but the holy trinity is Google Drive, JIRA and Figma.
Aside from this, getting the tools, tech and environment just right is very much down to personal preference. For instance, some team members have found that using a second screen, noise-cancelling headphones or working from the garden, have been integral to their efficiency.
2. Better basics
Remote working encourages us to form new habits and skills in the tools we use and how we use them. But we’re careful not to forget how important it is to continue to do the basics really well:
Establishing clear goals and commitments to project objectives.
Transparent communication underpins everything we do.
Having clear roles and responsibilities.
Using tried and tested processes for repeatable success.
3. Work to the rhythm
Establishing (or maintaining) a regular cadence for our teams is essential.
Candyspace kicks-off every morning with a video call between the sales, delivery and finance teams to share an overview of the prospective and live projects running through the agency. It only takes fifteen minutes but serves as our daily foundation to understand business priorities and who is doing what.
Our project teams continue to work using our preferred delivery methodologies: either Waterfall or Agile Scrum. These frameworks help us to relax into a familiar structure as we tuck into each day and get stuff done.
Some of our teams are also benefiting from a brief end of day catch up, which provides a less formal space for discussion of the day’s achievements.
4. Inspect, learn, improve, repeat
As with all effective teams, we take the time to evaluate ourselves and our processes in structured project retrospectives. These are always positive and effective sessions that ensure we continuously improve what we do and how we do it.
Are we empowering ourselves to work in the most efficient way? Should we ringfence a “no calls zone” in our diaries? Should we use a tool like Mural or Miro for our collaboration sessions?
Everything is a process and this is especially pertinent when teams work remotely. Hey, we don’t want our team members being so overrun with Zoom calls that they create their own AI digital twins!
5. All work and no play is a no no
With the lines between workspace and homespace becoming blurred and no commutes to contend with, it can be super tempting to live at our desks. But being respectful of “office hours” and breaks is really important to us and enhances our productivity.
Whilst there are no serendipitous “aha!” moments at the coffee machine, remote working doesn’t need to be isolating - we still enjoy virtual lunch dates, tea breaks and beer o’clock together.
At Candyspace, the full team dials in every Friday to enjoy a drink and a quick update across our projects. We have found this to be a fun way to see everyone’s faces and celebrate the great work that runs through our virtual building.
If there is one single learning from our “distanced working” it’s that communication is everything. Do not underestimate the power of shared information and the desire and need of your teams to know what’s happening beyond their own home office, and beyond the project on which they are working. That way you’ll have happy teams, great outputs...and hopefully some laughs along the way.