On remote teams, managing them and in-person meetings

All the craze nowadays is about how you can manage your entire business online and build virtual teams. Last week I wrote about how important I think in-person meetings are, and that I don’t think they can be completely replaced. I do however completely believe in online and remote teams.

Putting it in another way, how could I not? I built most of my customer base in the United States while being based in Sweden, having never set foot in the US, that before I even had local clients. What a different world we live in today and am I not grateful for being able to have these opportunities!

The thing is, for a remote team to work, all parties need to believe in it. If it is us with a client, the client also needs to believe that geography isn’t an obstacle. Not all clients do. It is the same with a more typical team. Everyone needs to be on board with the idea.

I have worked in projects, both us with clients, and in other positions that failed miserably because not everyone believed it could be done and would take responsibility for making it work.

You see, the key, I believe, to remote teams is to use a lot of text based communications in an open chatroom kind of format as possible. This creates the office atmosphere and what I think is most important, creates a transparent environment that you have in an office.

Email is a very closed system that ideally is just between a couple of people. In an open chatroom, your team can read up on conversations between other team members, may jump in with an insight, and at the very least just be aware of what is going on in the organization.

All projects with remote teams that I have worked with that have failed, have lacked this transparency and openness. Consider this a key to a successful remote team. And remember the two golden rules of communication: Nobody has ever been blamed for communicating too much, and, communication is what the listener does.