It is highly unlikely that you can choose a group of people from all over the world, put them together and then do something great together.
In order for a team that exists locally (remotely) to work well together, you need a number of things: The Team, the resources, rules and agreements.
The most important element of this collaboration is, of course, the team. Not everyone is able to work in a decentralized environment. Not everyone can lead a decentralized team (I believe that this can be learned by managers). That is why it is extremely important to hire the right people who can work in a decentralized team.
Make sure you look out for Doers. These are people you don’t have to give tasks explaining how to do something. These are people you send in a direction with preconditions and they ensure that the task is carried out. They are people who get the work done even if they are in Siberia.
A decentralized team falls apart when there is no confidence in the person you have assigned a task to. If you keep wondering what someone else is doing, you can no longer work on your own tasks. Trust is absolutely important.
That is why it is also wise to manage on the basis of expectations instead of constantly looking at someone.
A decentralized team has separate people with a great deal of knowledge. That is why it is important that good communication takes place between people. Because communication will often be written. Good writers are then worth gold. They document better and record everything well.
A decentralized team has less social contact with each other than a team that is together. It is important that your team members know this and that they also find this a pleasant environment to work in.
Without the right resources, you can’t keep a team going. The right resources also ensure that the team pursues and implements the same goals.
With a central team, it is always possible to quickly get everyone together for a meeting. To make the right arrangements and then continue. With a decentralized team, you will have to use the right resources so that everyone can continue without anyone really present.
Slack is one of those resources that you can hardly do without. It is, as it were, a virtual office in the form of a chat group. Slack can therefore also ensure good bonding with each other.
Depending on the number of people per team, you can create channels (channels) in Slack. This allows you to separate groups that are too large or too general so that no noise occurs. But wait to create channels because otherwise there will be a proliferation of channels.
Is a channel no longer applicable? Then archive it. In addition, not everyone has to be a member of every channel. Think of channels such as #marketing, #support, or channels per project.
Trello is one of the ways to oversee and keep projects running. Whenever something needs to be done, add this task to Trello. If his tasks are “too big”, you turn them into projects. The main thing is to prevent a proliferation of cards here again. If a map is added, add information to it to clarify why this is an important task.
Trello is ideal for keeping projects, tasks and documentation together so that everything is completed on time.
It works great for decentralized teams because you only have to log in to select and complete a task. Or to get an idea of the things still to be carried out in a project at a glance.
The most difficult of all cloud services are associated with passwords. You want a different password for each service. With LastPass, you can easily capture all passwords of shared cloud services and share them securely with team members. This way the work can continue in the middle of the night.
Writing documentation can be done very easily in Google Docs from GSuite. Here you can also immediately use Google’s spreadsheet and presentation program. They are fast light applications that you can use quickly. In Google Docs (and the other applications) you can also immediately work on the same document with several team members simultaneously in real-time (at the same time). And conduct the discussion within the document.
When a certain document is ready and it can be recorded, you can move it to Evernote in the Business notebooks. This way all knowledge remains within the company should a team member eventually leave the company.
There are a lot of video conferencing applications. Two that are extremely handy and easy to use: Zoom.us and Google Hangouts. If you already have a google account with all members of the team, then Google Hangout is the easiest to use. Image, sound and of course also sharing your own screen to make things clear are included. Zoom offers the same, but not hangouts.
Rules and agreements
The final ingredient for a superhero team is rules and agreements. I know from experience that many people prefer not to spend too much time on this because it can be based too strongly on rules. Either it is all becoming too rigid or it is boring. But when you start from “How we work”, describing and recording the agreements becomes a lot easier.
Good rules and agreements ensure that tasks are carried out even when you are not there. Or that someone else can take over the business. It provides structure and guidance (without actual guidance).
This will only work if you are also willing to agree on matters around which you can bend the rules if necessary. Here are a few rules and agreements you can use, or as you will call them from now on “How We Work”.
Everyone also works on support
The customer is the starting point in all companies. Every day we work hard to solve a customer’s problem so that they are “relieved”. When everyone also works on support, everyone hears “the voice of the customer”. This way you are also aware of new questions that may arise. Or customer irritation moments.
Schedule a weekly meeting with your team members. This way you get to see everyone again. Also, because it is not always possible to get all team members together every week for a consultation. Have a fixed agenda that also includes sharing knowledge. Have each team member demonstrate something new.
Monthly one to one call
Keeping in touch is extremely important, especially when you don’t see your team members on a daily basis. Are your team member’s personal goals still the same? How does he want to grow? What resources are missing? You can map out these points through a monthly one-on-one meeting. Because the questions are known in advance, the conversation can be easily prepared. turn into.
Also, record the conversation in a Google Document or Evernote Business note and share it with the team member. So, you both know what you talked about last time. It also allows you to see if progress has been made.
Is your group too big? Then you will have to divide teams among a number of people.
A culture of responsibility
How do you know if everyone actually works? That is one of the most frequently asked questions. An easy way is to post a weekly progress message within Slack channel. Have each team member write down what they have done, what they are running into and what is the current status of the tasks for the next week.