Remote Management

These days team are split up geographically. How does a good manager cope with this challenge? Start by putting your expectations in writing. This is advised even if you have local employees.

Next you should offer a bonus to those who finish their tasks ahead of time. There should be some incentive to stay on task when you are physically away.

I hear that you should also have a short talk on a daily basis. This is like the daily team standup meeting. Personally I hate these. They seem like a waste of time. I find that they usually are never short.

Require your developers to have a predictable work schedule. Even if they are at home in their pajamas, they should still be working regular hours. Finally put some short milestones in the schedule. This also applies to local workers. It allows you to detect problems as early as possible.

Do Your Best

We were looking to hire some developers about a year ago. We went through a lot of candidates. It was important to get the right fit. There is so much domain knowledge to pick up on the job. Therefore we don’t have time for people to pick up the tech knowledge as well. You got to know our technologies already.

During our interviewing process, a manager from another group approached our big boss. He had a dev that was working for the company but did not have a project. From one big boss to another, there was a request to put this guy on our project. I was asked whether the guy could make any contributions.

This guy’s resume was not a good fit. However I determined we could have him do some work. One would think some work it better than nothing. Big mistake. It turns out the guy was not happy with the transfer. He did not like our project. He wanted to improve his career by learning hot skills. Our project is filled with legacy technologies.

Fast forward one year. This new guy we acquired on our team is just not working out. He can’t or won’t complete any of his tasks. We are constantly reassigning his work to other developers because it needs to get done. Last week was the final straw. We were late on a delivery because his part was not done. So we split his remaining work. After everyone else finished up, the guy could not even complete his lessened workload.

I told my manager that we need to deal with this situation now. It was affecting morale. I myself was tired of doing my own hectic job as well as doing some of the lackey’s work. Plus I was getting extra tasks to plan how we could deal with his inadequacies. All of this could have been prevented by sticking to our guns and demanding we have a good fit before we hire anybody new on the team.