Team, Tools, Processes

Found a good read on “Remote First” company culture here from Wade Foster of Zapier.  I particular liked many of the Processes he uses at Zapier.

The bits and pieces from the third category, Processes are:

1. Everyone does support

The customer is our lifeblood. We strive everyday to solve our customers’ problems and help make their job just a little bit easier. When everyone on the team does support, everyone gets to hear the voice of the customer.

Also, the people who build the product also end up supporting the product. If a customer is angry about a bug, then the person who introduced said bug is going to hear about it and fix it right away.

5. Monthly One-on-Ones

In every job I ever had (even co-located ones), there wasn’t enough feedback between me and my supervisor. So at Zapier, I setup a recurring monthly event with each team member where we both jump on Skype or Google Hangout to chat about four things: what’s one thing you’re excited about, what’s one thing you’re worried about, what’s one thing I can do better to help him with your job, and what’s one thing you can do better to improve at your job.

These questions are consistent so it’s easy to prepare and so that it’s easy to measure changes over time. We specifically limit it to one item per question. One item is easily achievable for a person each month. But over time, being able to fix one issue a month adds up.

The answers to each monthly session are logged in a Google Document so that the next session we can reference the previous month’s information and check on how we did.

The below point is the most challenging question of working with remote teams……

6. A culture of accountability

One question often presented is “how do you know if people are doing work?” Any easy way we know is with Friday updates. Each Friday, every person on the team posts an update to Async about what they shipped that week and what they are working on for the next week.

This makes it easy to keep in the loop on projects and also keeps everyone at Zapier accountable to everyone else to do their part.

8. Automate anything that can be automated

The core of Zapier is automation. There are a couple reasons why we automate things. One, it allows us to keep the team size small since we don’t need people on staff to perform repetitious, mundane and boring tasks. Two, it lets teammates focus on high impact work nearly all of the time rather than figuring out less impactful things, like the proper deploy commands.

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