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How to manage a remote team of developers

Recorded – watch the full episode on YouTube.

You want to try and keep your developers motivated, you want to think about how you can keep them engaged and keep good communication lines, all the while working remotely. How do you tackle that?

Jordanna Kwok: Certainly the pandemic accelerated how we're working in terms of being remote. The plan for our team is really once things are safe and we can open offices up again, we will allow people to decide and choose whether they want to kind of co-locate because some people love the office, it's like, I personally miss just having people around, the human interaction. But some people feel like they are more productive remote, and in terms of our plans for remote I definitely want to clarify it's currently we are looking for remote in the US.

But as more details come, whether it's remote internationally and whatnot, I'll give updates there, but I know I've gotten some comments on Twitter about clarifying this. So, just wanted to clarify it here: certainly we're starting with the US just because, you know, I'm not a lawyer, but I'm sure there are legal reasons why we are able to move more quickly in the US. But, yeah, keeping engineers motivated, we have a team of 15 right now, there's actually two main iOS teams, there's actually a playback streaming team and they also have around 15 people.

"I personally miss it too, just having people around, the human interaction. But some people are like, "Yeah, I feel like I'm more productive remote."

So, it's a fairly sizable team – it's not hundreds of iOS engineers, but it's also not just five engineers either. So we are encountering interesting challenges where there might be, let's say for example, three engineers working on a specific part of the UI, but they might not know about that at the same time, and it might cause some overlapping changes or conflicts. So, we're finding ways to better communicate that so it's not just doing a stand up a few times a week.

It's more than that, and I think there's more visibility that we need to give that scaling, because just going one on one with each person on the team is not going to be scalable, what happens if the team is 50 people? You're not going to talk one on one with 50 people. And even then, the stand up, when you're saying, "Hey, I'm working in this space", there are 49 other people – are they paying attention?

"I think there's more visibility that we need to give that scaling, because just going one on one with each person on the team is not going to be scalable."

Paul Hudson: Absolutely, yeah. So, I'm just thinking, because as you said it's remote but in the US, so anywhere I'm presuming in the United States. But is there an advantage to being Canadian? Because I'm thinking of you and Adam!

Jordanna Kwok: We're figuring that out, we're trying to figure out, I think with employment law and whatnot, I'm not familiar enough with it so I can't speak to it, but there's probably something there that the company needs to figure out and, yeah, we certainly would love to see it expand to Canada and beyond.

This transcript was recorded as part of Swiftly Speaking. You can watch the full original episode on YouTube, or subscribe to the audio version on Apple Podcasts.

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