DEV Community

Rebecca Ferrao
Rebecca Ferrao

Posted on • Updated on

Being a hands-on dev & leading a remote team like Star Trek’s Chief O’Brian

When we spoke to Ryan, software dev & architect for 15+ yrs, one thing that was very prominent about his work was the leadership style and how he got the best of both worlds. The two worlds: Being a hands-on developer as well as leading the team, fully remotely. And although he was extremely proud of the fact that he could lead like Star Trek’s Chief O’Brian, this didn’t mean that there were no challenges involved.

Right from onboarding someone new to making sure that your team has a good experience while working is something that the leader of the team should strive to achieve. You need to understand the objectives and goals and know the stakeholders. Here are some helpful tips towards getting this right.

Onboarding new hires

(More detailed article here)

The first step in ensuring that the team works well together is to train the members and ensure completeness from the very beginning. The beginning is not just the first day, but from the day they are selected to the company. You can follow a checklist encompassing all the points that need to be taken care of for this purpose. This checklist covers up all the things you need to take care of, although there might be some variations based on the manner in which things happen at your firm. So you can keep this checklist as a framework and modify these as per your team’s requirements. You would also need to properly understand the working of your team, what size is suitable for your Scrum team, how these various sizes will affect its working.

Ensuring good collaboration

(More detailed article here)

One can never stress enough on the need for good communication and collaboration practices in a remote team. You need to work towards this in a very dedicated manner and make sure that the members align towards the team culture. Harnessing a team oriented mindset is a necessity. This way, the members will keep not their own, but rather the interests of the team as the top priority. This will ensure that every action that the person takes will be towards delivering the goal as a team and not just at an individual level.

However, there is no one key to successful teamwork in your remote team. This is a combination of a number of factors right from the hiring process itself. Making each person’s role in the task, as well as your expectations about the things they need to achieve, clear to them is vital in ensuring top notch performance from the members.

You need to make use of the best tools from hiring to programming to hosting. Check out apps such as Heroku and AWS for hosting and Indeed and LinkedIn for hiring. If you have any design needs, use premium tools like Gimp, Photoshop, Krita and Lightroom.

To make the work more interesting for your team and get them in roles they are good at, you could also employ some other practices such as job rotation or regular feedback and monitoring sessions. These will help you gain a good idea of how things are progressing in your team and will also enable you to focus on improvements in a more structured manner. The feedback sessions could also help making sure your team works to live and not the other way round.

Employee Satisfaction

The negative impacts of an inept leadership are factors such as lack of motivation, poor performance and a poor work culture. For this, you need to find a balance between being a people oriented leader and being a task oriented leader. Do not be harsh and understand that working remotely can be overwhelming as your team is constantly pushing themselves to work well while also helping them out with the best practices they can follow.

Your team needs to be able to able to get along with ease with the other members of the team. The ability of the team to come together and work is going to be greatly marred if there is friction between the team. To make this a smoother ride for you, practice some activities that are going to build the trust and cooperation among the team members. Encourage them to find ways to spend time together, maybe have a group session for just drinking coffee where everyone can chill out. These will not only make the work better, but given the nature of remote work, will also be beneficial in making sure that the members have friends and do not live in hermit mode at all times. Also, a lot of the employees might not be very comfortable with this style of working and can get stressed out. Encourage them to find and use ways to decompress and take care of their health. Remember that the team needs to have a fresh mindset to work well and take action accordingly. Tools such as Hiyaa for help with interviews, Plutio and Basecamp for better management, and Atium for better bonding are also good to make use of so as to improve your leadership game.

Crank things up a bit in the payment, too. You can make use of crypto apps to pay your employees. Check out some and decide:
Bittrex vs Binance
Coinbase vs Robinhood
Kraken vs Coinbase
Uphold vs Coinbase.

Also employ cool games to cool off with your team. Check out some such as Terraria and Fantasy Grounds. Also consider Nancy Drew Interactive games, Neopets, Champions of Norrath, Poptropica, Fantage and Pummel Party, EmuParadise and alternatives.
You could also consider alternatives to games like Animal Jam, House Flipper and Evony.

Do you think the above are good practices and suggestions for remote team leadership? Do you have anything to add to this list? Do drop a line below sharing your thoughts :))

Top comments (1)

Some comments may only be visible to logged-in visitors. Sign in to view all comments.