Overview

I have been managing a mix of onsite and remote teams now for about seven years and prior to that worked with remote teams as an engineer for about twelve years. In that time, I have accumulated some opinions of what works and what doesn’t.

This essay is meant to help managers who are faced with a distributed team and are suffering from some of the disadvantages that come with it. Many of the things here jive with the many, many articles on the topic. …


Your co-workers are your partners. If you don’t have their support and trust, you will have more trouble getting your own work done and will, most likely, be less happy while making the attempt.

I posit that understanding and empathy are cornerstones of a healthy organization. Not a bold theory but one to keep in mind as I discuss the broad classification of personalities.

Identifying Archetypes

Everyone is unique. But there are definitely some traits that seem to pervade every company I’ve been in. Understanding those personalities is an important part of communication.

It is important to note that these personalities are never so easily categorized. Most people have aspects that overlap more than one. But in most cases, there’s one that is more evident than others. …


  • How do we choose our goals?
  • How do we avoid doing the wrong thing?
  • How do we avoid wasting people’s time and money?
  • What happens if we’re wrong?
  • How do we learn from our mistakes?

How do we learn from our mistakes?

These are all questions that have difficult answers. The danger, as it happens, is not doing the wrong thing — the danger is doing nothing. And, I believe, the source of our paralysis is actually the goals we’ve chosen. …


Projects have a pulse. Like most living things, they are born, grow, mature and finally, well, let’s call it retirement. The phases of their lives bring different challenges and opportunities. Trying to treat every phase of life the same way will not yield the best possible results. So I’d like to touch on the different phases of a project, their difference and some approaches to managing them to yield the best possible results.

Birth

Ideas come and go. Some make enough of an impression that they stick. When that happens, there are so few constraints that wheels tend to spin. Either because there isn’t enough focus to make decisions or because no one is invested in the idea because it’s so far from becoming project that everyone is focused on their current “real” projects. …


Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful. — Albert Schweitzer

I’m obsessed with happiness. Probably because it has been so elusive. Looking back on my career, I realize that the times I have felt most fulfilled is when I have been trusted and given the freedom to do what I believe is best for an organization. I wanted to use this space to reflect on what each of us can do to make both ourselves and our teams happy. Not just because it’s good for the company or even for each person but because it elevates us as a culture. …


For those who are driven, documenting what you’ve done is not only a waste of time but a task that robs you of the time to create new things and improve existing ones. On top of that it seems so pointless. Anyone who’s got even a modicum of technical ability should be able to follow the code. The code is the best documentation — and it’s always up to date. There’s no stale documentation if the documentation is the thing that is being documented.

So let’s say you were just hired. The code you are meant to help maintain and improve was written only a couple of years ago so not greenfield but not truly legacy either. I would say it’s a pretty common situation for a developer to find themselves in. …

Karim Shehadeh

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