Full disclosure. We’re not here to strike fear. But, as the current outbreak of Coronavirus (COVID-19) spreads to what may become a global pandemic, companies everywhere are suddenly forced to rethink how they work. How will teams continue to work if they’re not able to come to the office for an extended time? As the CDC has told us, it’s not time to panic. It’s time to prepare. That’s where we at Tuna Traffic can help.
We’ve Been Collaborating Remotely For A While
We have a corporate Tuna Traffic office, chock full of Tuna Team Members doing what they do best to deliver innovative marketing, agile development, and strategic business enhancement services. We also employ many highly-skilled Team Members who rarely step foot (or fin) through our doors. They’re remote. On any given day, you’ll find Tuna team members working anywhere from the Midwest to Moldova. We’ve been collaborating remotely for a while. And, we’ve made it standard practice to train every single Tuna team member to have the ability to work remotely.
Plus, We’ve Been Down This Road Before
Not too long ago, we had to put our remote training to the test. The building that houses our corporate office fell prey to environmental issues that required immediate attention. Our building was shut down. We had to switch from a physical office to a virtual one. And we did it. Without missing a beat.
How’d we do it? By fine-tuning our use of tools, technologies, and work habits to optimize our team efforts, no matter where we office. You could say we’re ahead of the curve. In 2018, a whopping 44% of global businesses didn’t allow any remote work. And, according to a survey by Harvard Business School and Boston Consulting Group, (in this New York Times article) only 30% said their businesses were prepared for remote work. There’s no time like the present. Learn from us and follow these three steps now to enable your teams to work remotely.
Step 1: Make Technology Work For You, Rather Than You Working For Technology
Here at Tuna Traffic, we work collaboratively and cross-functionally in agile, client-focused groups we call Well-Formed Teams. Organizing this way allows us to put our clients’ needs first, building a deep understanding of their business, seeking feedback, and aligning with emerging needs and changing business objectives.
Invest In Smart Project Management Software
We can’t emphasize enough how important communication is for our workflow to, well, work. That’s why we realized our team needed an easy to use, visual project tracking tool to keep us all in the loop (and make us a ton more productive in the process). We are huge fans of Get To Done. Whether we’re planning a big marketing campaign or breaking down a web development project into tasks, Get To Done let’s us engage the right people in the right conversations at the right time, whether their desk is in the same workspace or in a different zip code.
Chat It Up
When you can’t peek over a cubicle wall and ask a question, an instant messaging system is the next best thing. We use Slack to create a virtual version of those casual workplace conversations. Better yet, we customize Slack channels for our specific project teams, allowing us another quick avenue to get questions answered, pin frequently used documents, and keep connected.
One Word. Video.
We video conference all the time. And it’s paid off in our efficiency, clarity, and focus, not to mention our camaraderie. We use Google Hangouts (instantly linked in our Google calendars) for everything from a quick clarification to regularly scheduled meetings.
Share And Share Alike
We’re idea people who thrive on feedback. That’s why every document we create, we store and share in Google Drive, making instant collaboration a reality. Our content writers will tell you that some of their best light bulb moments were sparked by someone’s editing comments in a Google Doc.
Step 2: Improve Your Agility
We work a little differently than your typical marketing/development company. We are card-carrying agile enthusiasts. We practice Scrum, which is an agile methodology that breaks down big work into smaller bite-sized chunks of work that we can complete in shorter timeframes. By tackling these chunks of work, we’re better equipped to focus on quality, gather feedback, make changes, and deliver the best products to our clients. Additionally, Scrum provides several regular activities that hone our work habits and nicely complement remote teams. (BTW, If you’d like to learn more about Scrum, including hands-on training and certification on Scrum, we think these guys do a great job at making Scrum usable and practical.)
Sync Up On The Daily
We coordinate our daily activity with a Stand Up meeting (In Scrum, this is also known as a Daily Scrum.) We literally stand up in front of our computers and hold a quick 15-minute morning video conference meeting. In this meeting, we talk about what is important for that day, such as client priorities and areas we need further collaboration. We don’t solve deep problems. We simply detect critical conversations that need to happen after Stand Up. Then, we break into smaller groups for those conversations. These quick touch-base conversations cannot be overrated.
Swarming (think of bees) is a method to maximize efficiency, focus, and collaboration. At Tuna Traffic, a small group of us will swarm (or work) on one work item at a time and finish it completely before moving on to the next work item. Given our technology that makes sharing work a breeze, swarming has really boosted our productivity.
Get In Rhythm
In Scrum, we work in Sprints (shortened two-week periods). We begin each Sprint with a planning meeting, which sets the pace for our work rhythm and ensures we are ready to roll. This meeting includes the key stakeholders and is facilitated by the service delivery manager (or person in charge of delivering the goods). By establishing our rhythm, our team is empowered to be productive no matter where they office.
For us at Tuna Traffic, one of the most valuable activities is our Sprint Review, once our Sprint has ended. During this time, we gather meaningful feedback from our entire team and the key stakeholders. Did we achieve the right results? Was our work rhythm the right pace? We continue to ask questions and relentlessly reflect on how to improve.
Step 3: Get Started
We don’t want to alarm you. But, the reality is, whether it’s the Coronavirus or another future unknown, the world is changing quickly. Take a breath. Learn from us at Tuna Traffic and prepare your business for what may come. And, if you’d like to dig deeper into how your company could benefit from our agile team approach to marketing, development, and strategic business enhancement, we’re prepared for that too.
Remember, it’s not time to panic. It’s time to prepare.
We got this, and we can get you there too.