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Async: The Remote Unlock ๐Ÿ”ง - Issue #3

How Remote Works
Async: The Remote Unlock ๐Ÿ”ง - Issue #3
By How Remote Works • Issue #3 • View online
Hi everyone,
welcome to the third issue of our bi-weekly newsletter about remote work.
This time we dive into asynchronous workflows and why they can solve communication problems in your remote team.

Physical Distance: The Fog of Remote Work ๐Ÿ˜ถโ€๐ŸŒซ๏ธ
Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic more and more people started working remotely ๐Ÿ‘‡
(source: https://econ.st/3xPyR6T)
(source: https://econ.st/3xPyR6T)
This particular figure shows that a majority of developers is permanently remote.
But many other functions like sales, customer service, marketing, finance, etc. are also moving out of the office space.
This can cause problems ๐Ÿ‘‡
Philip Herrmann
@artlapinsch @andreasklinger @darrenmurph i think distributed is the most complicated because it can be such a wide spectrum.
- majority is co-located and a few are remote
- the remote ones are close to location or not
- etc.
To understand the root cause of many problems it helps to look at โ€œremoteโ€ in more fidelity.
One dimension we can unpack is physical distance ๐Ÿ‘‡
Michael Taylor
Yes, 100% this! Way before remote work was popular (or even allowed) I worked with companies where the majority of my colleagues weren't on the same floor or in the same building - it felt exactly like remote feels now. From https://t.co/yF1tIspwFF by @artlapinsch https://t.co/z0ZxeWMzaJ
โš ๏ธ** The screenshot above is an excerpt from my in-depth email-based course about remote team leadership.
Sign up via this link and you will receive the first email for free.
โ€ฆ
Bottomline: Physical distance can cloud communication.
Thereโ€™s a best practice at the worldโ€™s best-run remote companies to solve for this ๐Ÿ‘‡
Asynchronous Work: "The Remote Unlock" ๐Ÿ”ง
This tweet hits the nail on its head:
Tiago Forte
Making work remote without also making it asynchronous only makes it worse. You get the isolation of working alone without the benefit of control over your schedule
Letโ€™s talk through three practical examples for a team of 5 people:
#1: Update Meeting
Teams should be on the same page:
  • [Sync] Meeting: Meet via video call for 30 minutes to give spoken updates.
  • [Async] Written Note: Written update into team chat tool. Every individual contributor writes an update in a standardized format. Team members reply via ๐Ÿ‘€ when they have read it.
#2: Brainstorming
Creative work benefits from the brain trust:
  • [Sync] Meeting: Meet via video call for 120 minutes to discuss and brainstorm.
  • [Async] Collaborative Document: Create a shared document (Google Doc; Google Sheet; Miro Board; etc.) and individual contributors collaborate at their own schedule.
#3: Candidate Interview
Hiring processes are needed to evaluate candidate quality:
  • [Sync] Real-time Case Study: Recruiter and candidate spend 30-60 minutes to go through case study questions together.
  • [Async] Self-paced Test: Candidate goes through an automated recruitment flow and receives a realistic case study to complete at their own schedule. My friend Mike wrote a fantastic blog post outlining Ladderโ€™s recruitment process.
โ€ฆ
Synchronous work locks in time of all participants.
Asynchronous work unlocks time for all participants.
Art Lapinsch
@PhilipHerrmann3 @andreasklinger @darrenmurph agreed.

that's why async is a true unlock.

physical distribution matters less once async is in place.

once that genie is out of the bottle it's tough to go back ๐Ÿงžโ€โ™‚๏ธ
You can rethink workflows for your team via this sequence:
  1. ๐Ÿ“ Create a list of all meetings and workflows
  2. โ›ณ๏ธ Write the desired outcome of those meetings and workflows
  3. โŒ Cancel all meetings and workflows where there is no clear outcome to unlock time
  4. ๐Ÿ”Ž Audit all meetings and workflows with a clear outcome to see how you can re-design it into an asynchronous workflow
Hereโ€™s another example of how GitLab uses asynchronous communication ๐Ÿ‘‡
Hopefully all of the above gives you some helpful ideas for your own team.
Please reply to this email if you have specific questions.
Alternatively you can sign up to my upcoming email-based course about remote team leadership where Iโ€™ll cover many topics like this in more detail ๐Ÿ‘‡
The 80/20 of Remote Team Leadership ๐Ÿ
โ€ฆ
Thanks for reading this issue ๐Ÿ™
Let me knowย if you have any feedback, suggestions, or critique.
Onwards and upwards.
Art
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