The home office is a challenge that startups have long since overcome. To contain expenses and access resources from around the world, this type of company has a series of tools and methods that transformed the Home Office into Office.
At ACE, we also apply these techniques to our Corporate Squads, as well as we guarantee the teams to function even from a distance, and we managed to keep teams engaged and delivering high value.
We always work on three main pillars:
- Communication and engagement;
- Management and checkpoints;
- Sense of community
Communication and engagement
Communication must always be clear, transparent and above all connected. Through Slack, we create and share videos, quick checks, news and all types of communication that positively impact people, organized in groups or projects.
Communication is our most powerful weapon for squad management, it is what allows us to build an internal and external image of each project. When people feel comfortable communicating openly, productivity and integration between members improves significantly. Having a professional, direct and open channel is essential to start remote management.
The second point is to keep that member engaged. Each squad has a goal and a value delivery - which should, initially, maintain the first wave of motivation. For everything to work, even far away, it is necessary to monitor each individual separately. But how? We adopt 1: 1 routines for each sprint and / or important event, ensuring that the team's anxiety about delivery is controlled and expectations are aligned. This ritual also allows the manager to have a macro view of the project, and can propose new directions or facilitate actions that have resulted in improved teamwork.
Two rules of thumb facilitate team alignment and communication:
People aligned with our values:
- Entrepreneurial attitude;
- Be the best in the world at what you do;
- Be data first and Pareto lover;
- Own your own path;
- Be frank in any situation; and
- Create an environment of hospitality and fun.
Get rid of labels:
- A diverse team is a vital rule at ACE. Each person is different, and a good manager needs to know how to separate and deal with the differences between each member;
- Horizontal management. Leaders cease to exercise power over people and become references in the themes they dominate;
- Everyone has the freedom to improve the process.
When you are well fed with information and aligned with objectives, leadership is independent of the proximity between individuals, since many leaders may be in the same room as their followers, but they may have no power over them. The leader becomes, in this case, just an engine of motivation and direction for the teams.
Management and checkpoints
Working with agile it is essential to manage and understand the performance of our teams in Home Office. The framework routines alone create ways for members to work individually, but also have collective moments. All of our squads follow the scrum, holding daily their daily meetings and each sprint a feedback meeting and a planning meeting.
Planning meeting: The work to be carried out in the sprint is planned at that meeting. This plan is created with the collaborative work of the entire team and should aim to:
- Define the tasks of each member;
- Define the weights for each task;
- Set the delivery date for each task; and
- Understand the delivery definition for each task.
Daily meeting: It is a 15 minute video call, so that the team can synchronize activities and create a plan for the next 24 hours. During this meeting each member answers three questions:
- What did I do yesterday that helped the team meet the sprint goal?
- What will I do today to help the team meet the sprint goal?
- Do I see any obstacles that prevent me or the team from meeting the sprint goal?
Feedback meeting: Alignment meeting on the deliveries made in the sprint and also on the individual performance of each member.
- Check what has been done and what has not been done;
- Inspect how the last sprint went in relation to people, relationships, processes and tools; and
- Identify and order the main items that went well and the potential improvements.
At ACE, we use the Trello as a tool to measure sprint progress. That way, teams can make their schedules and perform their tasks according to the schedule. It also helps with team transparency and prevents misperceptions about the delivery of coworkers. As the weight of each task and responsibility are defined together, the charge on delivery is under the responsibility of each member and not the squad.
The importance of monitoring
In addition to this internal work, the leader makes weekly checkpoints by video call to follow the evolution of the team and the product. The goal is to check for locks in the process and alignment failures, the leader also checks if the tasks were measured correctly in terms of their weight and can make adjustments to the direction.
What we indicate to the remote squad is:
- Prioritize tasks and start the day working on the most difficult. This helps to decrease anxiety.
- Create routines. Having the right time for activities helps in the performance of tasks and consumes less mental energy.
- Do not multitasking. If you have 3 things to do during the day and focus on doing it once, energy expenditure will be less than doing half of each thing and alternating. In the first case, the number of exchanges will be 2, while in the second it will be 5; so if the exchange uses energy, in the second case we are consuming more mental resources.
- Video calls with the cameras on. This allows more proximity between the team and makes it focus on the meeting and not be distracted during the meeting.