As the COVID-19 crisis continues to ramp up, businesses around the world are preparing to grapple with the short and long-term impacts. While the full economic effects of the coronavirus are just beginning to be felt, organizations are already feeling the pinch. Teams around the world are scrambling to prepare for remote work and potentially long quarantines or shutdowns.
In a tech talent market already dealing with a talent and tech skills gap, this will likely present quite a challenge.
Here at ProFocus, we’re continuing to serve and support our clients and consultants, we’re just doing it remotely in many situations. Our team routinely works with remote contractors and consultants, so we have a lot of experience filling these types of positions, and in helping our remote consultants to be successful in these roles.
Below, we’re sharing our own remote work action plan for maintaining collaboration and productivity, along with some key tips for effectively managing a remote tech team.
Work From Home Action Plan: Collaborate/Communicate
In the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak, our team is using video for all meetings, standups, and one-on-ones. Here are some other strategies we’ve implemented, that you might want to borrow for your own team:
- Communication is key! When in doubt, overcommunicate.
- Call each other often. Don’t hesitate to call others — or multiple team members for a group call — as if they were still in the workstation next to you.
- Avoid knowledge silos. Share all important communication with all need-to-know team members.
- Keep office hours. Notify the team when you “arrive” and when you are heading “out of the office” for the day.
- Share your availability. Keep your calendars accurate and up-to-date.
- Stay in touch. Replace your daily stand-up or scrum with daily stand-up calls.
- Be consistent. If you already use agile, stick with that — now is not the time to switch things up. Check out these tips on managing a remote agile team.
The right tech tools can make the remote work transition smoother. Look at adding these types of tools to your workflow, if you haven’t already:
Data / file access – Make sure everyone can access the files they need to do their jobs. Microsoft OneDrive, Dropbox, and other file syncing and sharing tools make collaboration seamless.
Collaboration / communication tools – Here at ProFocus we use MS Teams — Slack, Zoom, and other apps are popular choices as well. Whatever tool/s you use, make sure everyone on the team knows how to use it, has the access they need, and knows when they’re expected to be online.
Project management tools – Jira is a classic that enables software teams to work together to plan, track and support projects; to collaborate as a team, and manage and release code. Jama Software is a local company here in Portland that provides a solution for requirements, risk and test management.
Security tools – The good news is that during the COVID-19 outbreak, people are staying home — and likely not working on insecure coffee shop or airport WiFi networks. Still, VPN software, password managers, and other security tools can help to safeguard your company data.
Remote Work Tips: How to Be Productive at Home
The key to effectively working from home is to stick to a routine. You’re still at work, even if you’re not AT work. Encourage your team to stick to these work-from-home ground rules:
- Keep regular office hours
- Create a morning routine and dress the part
- Pretend like you are going into the office
- Set ground rules with others in your home
- Take breaks, get out of the office every once in a while
- Avoid distractions
- Create an end of your day routine
Recommended Resources for Managing a Remote Software Development Team
How to manage remote project teams during the COVID-19 outbreak
Managing telecommuters due to coronavirus COVID-19? Here are 8 management tips
COVID-19 Has My Teams Working Remotely: A Guide for Leaders
Keys to Success for Continuous Delivery with Distributed Teams
Agile Software Development with Distributed Teams
If you are a ProFocus client or consultant and have any questions about our response to the coronavirus outbreak, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We have remote contractors / consultants available, and our recruiters are ready to help with your tech talent needs.