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Remote Teams
5 things I am doing wrong
and maybe you should too.
Ted Tencza CTO
finder.com.au
@darthted
Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years.
finder.com.au has developers in:
Background
Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years.
finder.com.au has developers in:
SYDNEY
Background
Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years.
finder.com.au has developers in:
SYDNEY
WROCLAW
Background
Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years.
finder.com.au has developers in:
SYDNEY
MILAN
WROCLAW
Background
Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years.
finder.com.au has developers in:
SYDNEY
MANILA
MILAN
WROCLAW
Background
Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years.
finder.com.au has developers in:
SYDNEY
ADELAIDE
MANILA
MILAN
WROCLAW
Bac...
1. Remote teams are
primarily a cost saving
1. Remote teams are
primarily a cost saving
Slide 1 of the pitch deck from our partner
1. Remote teams are
primarily a cost saving
Slide 1 of the pitch deck from our partner
1. Remote teams are
primarily a cost saving
We do not use remote
teams as a cost saving
We do not use remote
teams as a cost saving
Our primary goal was finding talented developers
We do not use remote
teams as a cost saving
Travel
Facilities, Hardware, Office Supplies, Furniture
Recruiting
Training (in...
2. Have a different Management
style across locations
ITALY
TURKEY
POLAND
SOUTH AFRICA
USA
PHILIPPINES
AUSTRALIA
INDIA
SIN...
2. Have a different Management
style across locations
ITALY
TURKEY
POLAND
SOUTH AFRICA
USA
PHILIPPINES
AUSTRALIA
INDIA
SIN...
2. Have a different management
style across locations
Difference in management style should
be tailored to people, not loca...
Clarity of instructions and requirements
We have the same management
style across locations
Autonomy is vital for distributed teams and non-
distributed too
Training and opportunities should be available
Ensure sha...
Manifesto
How We Make Things
• Heterogeneous over homogeneous
• In-house over external
• Outcome driven over date driven
•...
3. You can rely on free
communication tools
3. You can rely on free
communication tools
Communication is key
3. You can rely on free
communication tools
Communication is key
3. You can rely on free
communication tools
Communication is key
We don’t rely on free
communication tools
Invest in high quality Video Conferencing tools
Document sharing, real time anno...
4. Don’t use ‘hybrid’ teams
4. Don’t use ‘hybrid’ teams
Need to have all co-located or all remote
Need to have geographic centric teams
4. Don’t use ‘hybrid’ teams
Both co-location and remote:
Team members have different needs
Trains team to treat distributed employees like full
members...
We use ‘hybrid’ teams
Non Geo-centric:
Location not a significant factor in team assignments
Prevents us vs. them
Encourag...
5. You can have lower
standards for Offshore teams
When all else fails …
lower your standards.
We have the same standards
across all teams
Make no allowance for lowering the bar of technical
competency
Do not create a...
Results
Results
Results
Not all sunshine and rainbows:
Results
Not all sunshine and rainbows:
Split geographic teams increases workload of team leads.
Results
Not all sunshine and rainbows:
Split geographic teams increases workload of team leads.
Spreading the pain means m...
Results
Not all sunshine and rainbows:
Split geographic teams increases workload of team leads.
Spreading the pain means m...
Results
Not all sunshine and rainbows:
Split geographic teams increases workload of team leads.
Spreading the pain means m...
Results
Went from 0 to 16 distributed employees in 18 months
Total employees from 7 to 34 in 2 years.
Results
Zero distributed team resignations in Manila over 12
months
Staff attrition rates are between 25% to 50% (depending...
Results
High levels of job satisfaction - Local and Distributed
Flexible work schedules
Attract Talent
Team given chance t...
Conventional wisdom
not all that wise
Thank you
Remote Teams: 5 Things I am Doing Wrong and Maybe You Should Too.
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Remote Teams: 5 Things I am Doing Wrong and Maybe You Should Too.

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CTO summit 2016 Remote teams - 5 things I am doing wrong
and maybe you should too. Thoughts on leading distributed teams.

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Remote Teams: 5 Things I am Doing Wrong and Maybe You Should Too.

  1. 1. Remote Teams 5 things I am doing wrong and maybe you should too. Ted Tencza CTO finder.com.au @darthted
  2. 2. Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years. finder.com.au has developers in: Background
  3. 3. Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years. finder.com.au has developers in: SYDNEY Background
  4. 4. Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years. finder.com.au has developers in: SYDNEY WROCLAW Background
  5. 5. Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years. finder.com.au has developers in: SYDNEY MILAN WROCLAW Background
  6. 6. Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years. finder.com.au has developers in: SYDNEY MANILA MILAN WROCLAW Background
  7. 7. Leading distributed teams for close to 15 years. finder.com.au has developers in: SYDNEY ADELAIDE MANILA MILAN WROCLAW Background
  8. 8. 1. Remote teams are primarily a cost saving
  9. 9. 1. Remote teams are primarily a cost saving Slide 1 of the pitch deck from our partner
  10. 10. 1. Remote teams are primarily a cost saving Slide 1 of the pitch deck from our partner
  11. 11. 1. Remote teams are primarily a cost saving
  12. 12. We do not use remote teams as a cost saving
  13. 13. We do not use remote teams as a cost saving Our primary goal was finding talented developers
  14. 14. We do not use remote teams as a cost saving Travel Facilities, Hardware, Office Supplies, Furniture Recruiting Training (including language skills) Communication Equipment Incorporation Overhead Talent
  15. 15. 2. Have a different Management style across locations ITALY TURKEY POLAND SOUTH AFRICA USA PHILIPPINES AUSTRALIA INDIA SINGAPORE UK
  16. 16. 2. Have a different Management style across locations ITALY TURKEY POLAND SOUTH AFRICA USA PHILIPPINES AUSTRALIA INDIA SINGAPORE UK
  17. 17. 2. Have a different management style across locations Difference in management style should be tailored to people, not locations
  18. 18. Clarity of instructions and requirements We have the same management style across locations
  19. 19. Autonomy is vital for distributed teams and non- distributed too Training and opportunities should be available Ensure shared vision Set clear expectations for everyone in organisation We have the same management style across locations
  20. 20. Manifesto How We Make Things • Heterogeneous over homogeneous • In-house over external • Outcome driven over date driven • Do it correctly over do it quickly • Autonomy over control • Finish one task completely over multi-tasking How We Function as a Team • Rapid releases over batching it up • It is not done until it is live in production • Automated testing over manual checking • Do not be afraid to experiment • Build tools to allow other teams to experiment safely over saying no How We Operate • As flat an organisation as possible, but no flatter • Cross team/cross project cooperation at all times • Grow team at sustainable rate • Retention and promotions over new hires • Make time to learn and grow as developers • Be active in the developer community We have the same management style across locations
  21. 21. 3. You can rely on free communication tools
  22. 22. 3. You can rely on free communication tools Communication is key
  23. 23. 3. You can rely on free communication tools Communication is key
  24. 24. 3. You can rely on free communication tools Communication is key
  25. 25. We don’t rely on free communication tools Invest in high quality Video Conferencing tools Document sharing, real time annotations, pair programming easier Asynchronous communication patterns are preferable
  26. 26. 4. Don’t use ‘hybrid’ teams
  27. 27. 4. Don’t use ‘hybrid’ teams
  28. 28. Need to have all co-located or all remote Need to have geographic centric teams 4. Don’t use ‘hybrid’ teams
  29. 29. Both co-location and remote: Team members have different needs Trains team to treat distributed employees like full members of the team Retain talent We use ‘hybrid’ teams
  30. 30. We use ‘hybrid’ teams Non Geo-centric: Location not a significant factor in team assignments Prevents us vs. them Encourages cross geo-communications Allows flexibility
  31. 31. 5. You can have lower standards for Offshore teams When all else fails … lower your standards.
  32. 32. We have the same standards across all teams Make no allowance for lowering the bar of technical competency Do not create a second tier remote team for scrub work Extra work Resentment Give distributed teams same access to training / career enrichment
  33. 33. Results
  34. 34. Results
  35. 35. Results Not all sunshine and rainbows:
  36. 36. Results Not all sunshine and rainbows: Split geographic teams increases workload of team leads.
  37. 37. Results Not all sunshine and rainbows: Split geographic teams increases workload of team leads. Spreading the pain means more people feel pain.
  38. 38. Results Not all sunshine and rainbows: Split geographic teams increases workload of team leads. Spreading the pain means more people feel pain. Communication is still more difficult
  39. 39. Results Not all sunshine and rainbows: Split geographic teams increases workload of team leads. Spreading the pain means more people feel pain. Communication is still more difficult Time zones still exist
  40. 40. Results Went from 0 to 16 distributed employees in 18 months Total employees from 7 to 34 in 2 years.
  41. 41. Results Zero distributed team resignations in Manila over 12 months Staff attrition rates are between 25% to 50% (depending on source) amongst skilled outsourced teams. Zero distributed team resignations anywhere else in the world (except for Sydney) over past 2 years.
  42. 42. Results High levels of job satisfaction - Local and Distributed Flexible work schedules Attract Talent Team given chance to self organise, overwhelmingly wanted cross-geo teams Increased awareness of problems facing distributed teams
  43. 43. Conventional wisdom not all that wise
  44. 44. Thank you

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