Align Remotely
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Align Remotely

How to achieve together, when everyone is working from home

About the Book

You've had a few months of sliding by with your remote team. You've installed the basic tools. You've dissected the evolving situation with stakeholders, customers, and team members. But now, you're ready to adapt to the situation. It's increasingly unlikely we will ever return to a world of work like before.

If we're being honest, there were a lot of assumptions we made in 2019 which were tenuous if not misleading. For one, most people assumed that team productivity summed up individuals' productivity. If that was true, adding more people to a project would always bring in the dates. There is little point in pressuring employees to meet individual targets. It increases their anxiety and their chances of making mistakes. Now that we're working remotely, it's even more obvious that's the case.

Team dynamics are much more important when remote than when working in-person. Teams want to stay productive, not just grimace, grunt and survive.

In turn, managers want to unblock their productivity. And make sure that each person remains motivated. And for sanity's sake, everyone still wants to work. To ship. To hold on to the remaining scraps of our reality from before the pandemic.

This book will help you and your team of knowledge workers transition to a remote-only team format. By focusing on systematic re-alignment and patterns from flourishing remote companies. At all levels.

Consider this book a permission slip. Muscling your way through what you'd originally planned will only get you more stuck. Your previous assumptions may imprison you, if you aren't methodical. If you need to, let yourself and your team off the hook. Reassess your strategic plan and budget. Because honestly, that will be the fastest path to thriving in a crisis. 

Instead, position your team for maximum productivity. Figure out the best way to spend your time together, now that everything has changed. Take into account all the details you are aware of. Clarify what needs to happen. Earn buy-in. And make it all happen. Together.

In this book, you will learn:

  • Why you need to realign your teams when shifting to remote only
  • How to track productivity in real-time using an operational heartbeat
  • How to run successful meetings, ones where you arrive at good decisions quickly
  • Why obsessing with Gantt charts blinds you to true progress, and what to do instead
  • Why you can often fix erratic behavior with a structural issue, one that's hidden in plain sight
  • Why remote work requires a different work breakdown than what's acceptable in person
  • Why remote management problems stem from differences of opinion about one specific topic
  • Why working harder, harder, and harder when going remote becomes a trap
  • How to reduce the number of meetings everyone attends while increasing team productivity
  • How to use the limitations of distributed solo-working to bolster team output
  • How to maximize team buy-in to the company's strategy
  • How to shift your culture to one of greater accountability, respect, and inclusion

All without hiring, firing, or late-night phone calls with HR at headquarters.

Alignment is the key to keeping your sanity when things are moving a million miles an hour. If you are doing exactly what you should be, you are patient, clear, and productive. You naturally get into flow. You know what to say and do at any given moment. You achieve effortlessly.

Your mindset spills over to a team level, even during a crisis. You coordinate and communicate to achieve something meaningful. Align execution with strategy. It is the key to the same patience, comfort, and confidence for teams. And companies.

The fact of the matter is that crises often help people come together. And to help each other out. Now, more than ever, you need to open your eyes to see what is happening. To lean into your company's strategy. And to align it with what actually happens on everyone's screens at home. 

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    • Teamwork
    • Business and IT Alignment
    • Engineering Management
    • Organizational Psychology
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About the Author

Luke Szyrmer
Luke Szyrmer

Luke has managed or participated in remote only knowledge work teams for almost a decade. Most recently, he lead a program of approximately 30 distributed across 13 time zones and 8 different locations. Over the last 9 years, he has lead teams building software, running marketing and sales, and launched a bestselling book. Remotely. In many cases, with people he never met or spoke to in person. Now that everyone has been thrust into a similar situation, he is keen on helping other leaders come to grip with this pandemic, by sharing what has worked well for him in the past. 

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
  • Rethinking productivity
    • So how do we know our people are really working?
    • Why overall productivity doesn’t add up
    • How to track productivity in real-time
    • Why what matters most is… when the team is done
    • What you can do now
    • Section takeaways
  • Rethinking alignment
    • Why realign when moving to remote only
    • Why department boundaries matter most
    • Who needs to be involved
    • How to align or realign within a company
    • If the direct approach fails
    • What you can do now
    • Section takeaways
  • Rethinking meetings
    • Why rethink meetings when going online
    • Why re-establish participant context online
    • Why virtual “space” defines how groups interact
    • How you hold meetings online implies your priorities
    • How to run successful meetings
    • How to move meetings online successfully
    • What you can do now
    • Section takeaways
  • Epilogue
  • Appendices
    • Principles, quotes, and rules of thumb
    • Glossary
    • Resources
  • Notes

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