Stack Builders News

A collection of thoughts and notes by our team

Hector Garcia

Remote work at Stack Builders

It has been six months since the mobility restrictions started all around the world. This experience has reshaped the workplace, and at Stack Builders, we are no exception. Thankfully, we’ve had experience working remotely since the company was first founded and the transition of a big part of the team to a remote fashion was relatively seamless. I want to share some thoughts on what has worked and what adjustments we have seen during this challenging time.

Communication and empathy

Effective communication is the key to success. We value face-to-face conversations, not only because we follow the Agile values and principles, but because we think it’s easier, more effective, and helps to better connect with each other. This is still the case when working remotely. Now, instead of getting together in a conference room, we strongly believe that video conferencing calls allow us to communicate efficiently therefore we gather in Zoom or Google Meet video chats.

We all face different challenges while working from home, social isolation, distractions and family responsibilities. Therefore, we are supportive to one another and have open different spaces to communicate, proactively coordinating time off, and fostering candid communication when some of us have challenges that surpass our organization.

We have weekly meetings with the entire team to share news and announcements and we continue to have brown bag meetings to share insights and experiences with each other. We recently had an informational talk about nutrition and healthy habits, and we are creating a parenting group to support our team in different areas of their lives.

In terms of projects, we all work in distributed teams. We have regular meetings such as standup meetings, various other Agile rituals, and maintain transparent task boards that keep us accountable and focused on our daily activities and deliverables. Since we are committed to our work as a team, we communicate often to cover and support our teammates when needed.

Feedback and growth

We have a strong feedback culture both within projects and company-wide where we foster giving and receiving feedback in the spirit of continuous improvement. We keep having regular virtual face-to-face meetings between direct reports and managers to:

  • Give and receive feedback
  • Recognize the collaborator’s accomplishments
  • Set engaging goals to work towards
  • Think about ways we can support each other
  • Grow as a team together

We tend to reference back to Agile values and principles and this one in particular resonated with me, especially during the times we are today:

Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

I believe the successful adjustment process that we have been living through for the last five months is the product of clear processes and a consistent culture focused on individuals, interactions, and growth that enables us to be motivated, flexible, and own our work.

Process Improvement

We are adjusting the way we deliver trainings to keep attendees engaged, and we keep working on ways we can enhance our work with the wider community. We are having more live virtual collaboration and brainstorming meetings, and we continue to make minor adjustments within different teams in the company as needed. Flexibility and an open mind are key to successfully adapting to change.

We are also improving our virtual onboarding processes as we have recently hired several new team members. They have structured plans for the first month and regular check-in meetings with managers where we work on “job shadowing”, pair programming, training progress, and goal setting.

At Stack Builders, we keep working with a continuous improvement mindset. This is not only in the sense of delivering quality software, but as times shift the way we work, we want to grow and adapt with our collaborators as a team, support and learn from each other, and remain building together.

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