Working Effectively As A Distributed Team

working effectively as a remote team

A type of magic happens when a group of intelligent, creative and innovative people are placed in a room to solve a problem. For example, every agency employs a war room dedicated to developing a new pitch or marketing campaign. Anyone in the distributed team can contribute ideas, references, and questions, etc. Close collaboration leads to breakthroughs within a short period. 

Creating a digital war room

With many teams working effectively in a distributed manner, the war room might seem impossible to replicate digitally. But luckily, with tools such as Miro, one can provide much of the same collaboration advantages to distributed teams.

Miro consists of boards and inside is a blank canvas. Your team has the freedom to import static and animated gifs, webpages, freestyle shapes, and more. Most people love the combination of using it as a digital scrap board and low fidelity mockup tool since not everyone has a design background. 

Once your team has access, each can work together with an arrow pointing to their working area since boards can become quite large. Adding comments and communicating effectively at work can be helpful to get feedback when team members are unavailable. 

In addition, Miro allows you to duplicate boards across accounts to assign team members to specific boards without accessing client boards. 

The Watercooler

Slack or MS Teams are digital equivalents of the office water cooler where informal discussions can happen. Having a place to share random links, videos or conversations is excellent for fostering team cohesion. In addition, slack channels are great for keeping conversations limited to specific members or topics. 

MS Teams has deep integration with Office 365. For example, an Excel link and previewed inline or edited in the browser. Files uploaded directly into Sharepoint for cloud storage. 

I have one gripe with Teams – it won’t let me hop between accounts easily, and I rely on the desktop app for one version and the browser for another to get real-time notifications. 

Meetings

There is an embarrassment of meeting software. At last count, I’m using the following:

Each has its pros and cons, but all offer table stakes such as video chat, screen-sharing, etc. I was stunned when a teammate asked to take control of my screen during a conference call. Teams have taken advantage of the deep integration offered by Microsoft’s ecosystem. 

Distributed teams can work well together if the organization encourages collaboration in practice vs. marketing speak.

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