Working in distributed teams

Celebrate successes

This post series is a summary of my talk about the challenge working in distributed teams. Find the other parts here.

In an environment where we are continuously pushing out changes it is hard to find clear milestones or even changes that are “big”. If you work in an organization that is a web based business you work towards processes that allow for multiple updates per day you will have a dozend bugfixes, new features and adaptions per week.

This is good! Being able to release and adapt quickly is one of the key factors of the successfull organization. But you lose these “ahhh we just worked months to release this thing, lets lean back and celebrate” moments.

But this is important. Celebrating and praise is something everyone will remember and also creates the understanding that everyone contributes towards a common goal.

Because it will be hard to exactly pin the moment when everyone has achieved something outstanding at the same time you as a manager need to keep track of the progress and arbitrary decide when it is time to party!

On the picture you see me during the ICANN 50 conference in London in 2015, where we celebrated with our partners and especially as a team the launch of the .hiv TLD. I will never forget this day in my entire career and even if I wore a silly hat this strengthened our bonds as a team.

I told you before that it is very important to bring people together once every now and then … obviously this is a good occasion to celebrate, too. But sometimes it can take a while if this is possible, so my last protip is …

Protip #5: Send everyone a cake!

I mean who doesn’t like cake?

… the idea is that even if your team is distributed you can organize for them to have a special gift so you can celebrate your victory via video chat on that day. In general you learn what everyone in your team loves and send them a present once in a while. The idea is to take some of your time and invest it in the happiness of your coworkers. For me this is my primary job. And yes, we can achieve this with a lot of process work, but these small things are really fun, too! So, that’s all I have today …

Closing notes

I hope I gave you some ideas how to bring more joy to your remote team experience! It's basically all about creating trustful and deep relationships with your coworkers and this is something that can be achieved even in a distributed team.