Have you been trying to figure out this new world order with regard to work-from-home (WFH), remote work, distributed teams, and the like? I’ve opened up my calendar for 30-minute chats. You can schedule them with me here:
https://calendly.com/amontalenti/distributed — Update: after over a year, I’ve now shut down this link on May 27, 2021
If you want to read up on distributed teams, here are some past posts from my blog and the Parse.ly blog on the subject. Open up these links and skim to get a sense of my past writings.
- Fully Distributed Teams: Are they viable? (May 2012) — discusses the “three models” of distributed teams, and the challenges/gotchas of mixing models.
- The ‘How’ and ‘Why’ of Parse.ly’s Fully Distributed Team (Feb 2016) — discusses how Parse.ly approaches its own fully distributed team, from a nuts & bolts standpoint. Our more recent materials are clearer on more modern tools, but the principles are the same.
- Fully Remote, But Here For Each Other (Nov 2016) — discusses the human element that can be missing from distributed teams, and how you can attempt to layer that human element back in even though you may be “remote” from one another.
- Parse.ly Onboarding HOWTO (2017) — a guide on onboarding in a distributed team setup. It’s a bit focused on developers/engineers but could be adapted to anyone.
- Fully Distributed & Asynchronous (December 2018) — a SpeakerDeck slide presentation covering the history of Parse.ly’s distributed team.
I think you’ll find that some of the best advice on distributed teams come from people who have been doing it for years — rather than from folks that are scrambling to do it, under less-than-ideal circumstances, in the last few weeks. Again, if you need help, you can find me on my calendar here.
It’s more important than ever that you lead and inspire your teams in an effective way. Remember: not only are they operating on a fully remote model — possibly for the first time in their lives — but, also, there is a wider economic calamity around them. They are looking toward work for a sense of normalcy and purpose.
People are looking toward their work life — assuming job is secure — for a sense of normalcy & purpose when the wider economic calamity seems senseless & cruel. If you're a leader, be careful not to cause further burnout to your staff. People are burnt out right now by default.
— Andrew Montalenti (@amontalenti) March 20, 2020
If you can give that normalcy and purpose to them, you can do them a great service. I am glad to help in any way I can to think through the leadership challenges in a distributed setting.
Stay safe out there!
Why might I have a good background to chat with you about distributed teams? I’ve been doing it for over ten years. I currently lead the engineering, product, and design team at Parse.ly, which is one of the earliest practitioners of the “fully distributed” model among modern software & SaaS companies. It scaled up to millions in revenue and a staff of 50+ amazing contributors. Parse.ly’s fully distributed team spans across sales, marketing, support, product, engineering, and design. In February 2021, Parse.ly was acquired by Automattic, and became part of its enterprise/SaaS division, WPVIP. Parse.ly is therefore now part of one of the largest fully distributed teams in the world. Even prior to my time at Parse.ly, I worked on distributed teams in the open source community and in Fortune 500 firms. Feel free to get in touch.