Product teams create value by working together to solve problems. While a remote approach is not the primary goal, for most high performance product teams, a combination of co-located and remote team members is the future.
Most of us have become comfortable working remotely, but the strategies of many remote product teams are lacking in at least one area of ââcollaboration. Here are seven practical tips to make remote working work for your product team.
7 collaboration tips for remote product teams
1. Select the right technology tools remotely
Synchronizing conversations and productivity progress is essential for remote working. And email is the worst effective communication channel for almost anything besides general announcements which can be digested at the reader’s pace.
Building a robust technology stack no longer requires expensive hardware and bandwidth. Connect with all of the product’s teammates (and even collaborate with other teams you work closely with) to understand how they are most productive personally. Depending on what you learn, spend time selecting the tools that belong to your tech stack to allow team members to thrive. Whether you choose Basecamp, Google Slides, Figma, Apptentive, Sketch, Dropbox, Zoom, or a myriad of other tools, there are plenty of ways to keep your tech stack at bay light and efficient.
2. Create a shareable research center
Take a page from the book by Gap Inc.’s consumer analytics team and create a large research hub to share data between departments. When you’re no longer working near other departments or even people, you need to find new ways to share information with large groups of people at once.
Creating a research hub or central location to put all your consumer information and customer data will make it easier for everyone to collaborate and prioritize customer needs.
3. Adopt routines and rituals
âRoutineâ means something different for each product management team. Daily standups, weekly demonstrations, monthly get-together, quarterly in-person retreats or annual team summits, these are all forms of rituals and routines that help keep distant teams on track and connected to their goals and objectives. to each other.
Whatever your pace, ritualizing the gathering is essential and shows that collaboration is a priority. When adopting a new routine, be sure to set attendance and participation expectations ahead of time so that everyone is properly prepared and time spent together is valuable.
4. Rely on the visuals
When working remotely and entirely online, it can be difficult to explain complex concepts through Zoom or Slack. Whiteboards are very popular in offices for a reason; Sometimes we just need to bring things out to make sense. Keep this in mind when chatting remotely with your team and management.
Would you have shown what you are presenting visually if you were all together in a meeting room? If the answer is yes, you will need to develop creative solutions to replicate visuals online. Some programs will allow you to draw live while sharing the screen on Zoom, or maybe buy a large whiteboard for your home office. Whatever you do, try to remember that some people are visual learners and really need visual aids to understand and remember complex systems or concepts.
5. âSee each otherâ regularly
Video is a useful substitute for in-person collaboration. And we’re not just talking about video conferencing – video fatigue is real, and not all meetings require two-way cameras. Use recorded visual explanations, drawings and flows to make your post more personal, even when created asynchronously.
At Apptentive, we like to use the Zoom app to record audio and video to share visual explanations even when unrelated to meetings. We can also easily extract transcripts if needed. This method adds attention to detail, clarity and signals our commitment to ensuring our teams are on the same page.
6. More communication
To truly thrive while working remotely, you need to be a great communicator. In many cases, that means learning to communicate too effectively.
When there are so many digital channels (and distractions), it can be easy for people to get distracted, ignore you, forget things, etc. Improve your project management skills and send meeting summaries, clearly outline action items, give project status updates and ask questions. With remote working, there’s nothing quite like touching the base too frequently.
7. Celebrate victories
When we are not celebrating, we cannot breathe out, step back, and prepare for our next great ascension. It’s made more difficult without happy hours and team events to set aside time to take a break and be together. When you and your team are all working remotely, find ways to come together online without working to celebrate successes.
Get a very high response rate on a new survey integrated into the application? Increase the NPS of mobile customers? Get more people signed up to your mobile loyalty program than expected for the last quarter? These are all things you should be celebrating! Whatever your KPIs, there is always a reason to thank and show gratitude from your team. This boosts morale which then increases productivity. It’s a win-win!
Remote working can be a barrier to progress, but it can also be a huge opportunity to hire world-class talent, increase productivity through empowerment, improve employee happiness, and change corporate culture. Approach it the right way so that your remote product teams can have a chance to thrive and be successful.