As a digital company we are lucky to have good tools to work effectively from home. Those who work in product development in Vipps work daily in teams. The team’s routines, ceremonies and daily communications and clarifications usually take place physically in the office. But the Corona virus force us to think and work differently. To support distributed team and a new way of working, we have written down our best practices for how to work remotely at high velocity:
Principles and rules
- Keep core hours even though not in office (9–15)
- Establish a daily and a weekly rythm.
- Working from home works best when everyone has concrete and well specified tasks. Agree on deliverables in the team.
- Try to avoid working on a task alone.
- Keep task management boards up to date. Assign tasks and update statuses.
- Use a collaboration tool, and update your status with “Working remotely” symbol (or other relevant status if you are not working)
- All teams are encouraged to have at least one daily video call when working remotely over a longer period
- Communicate more than usual. There are no such thing as stupid questions! Ask another member of the team, or in a team channel, rather than leave things uncertain.
- Also, update your team on when you’re away for lunch etc.
- Keep all discussions in threads in public channels in the collaboration tool. Even though you don’t think the initial topic has everyones interest, the conclusion might have and it’s far easier and more transparent sharing the thread with all arguments instead of just the conclusion.
- Create an open video-meeting for each team when people want to discuss things. Leave the channel open. Turn off microphone and video when you do not wish to share something but do want to be available to help out. Unmute and speak when you wish to say something to your team. Leave the channel temporarily to show that you are unavailable.
- Best practices for meetings are also valid for remote meetings. Keep the planned meetings and avoid ad-hoc cancellations.
- Working from home works best when everyone has concrete and well specified tasks.
- Teams should conduct planning meetings for assigning tasks
- Have stand-ups in a team channel: with auto reminder and team aliases in your public team channel. The stand-up should probably include a bit more information than when you are co-located in the office. Example of how to set a reminder (must be done in the channel that the alert should “fire” in)
Example format (Y-esterday, T-oday, I-mpediments):
Y: Worked on feature X with John
T: Merge branch A to master
I: Unsure how merging work, Can someone pls assist?
- Team up on development tasks and try to pair/mob program to reduce fragility. Experiences show that it works well in a pair, while three or more people in the same session might be more error-prone.
Recommend witch tools to use
We also have a channel that most of the Vippsers contribute, where we share the experience of working remotely. In this way we can help each other and come up with new solutions.
We share pictures and stories from our home office with other persons in Vipps. Some has “clean desk policy” at home, others have cats or dogs. In the channel there is a social life with picture, emojis and comments like “Please, some more cat picture!”. I smile a little extra during the day, because of this.
Maybe we will get to know each other better, even if we are far apart. ❤
Kristian Skønberg Løvik and all the people in Vipps who contributed on the principles/best practice!
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