April 26, 2019

Slack journal is my office blog.

I use slack at work, which is not a surprise as many teams do. Our team is also remote, not fully remote but everyday some part of the team is not in the office. This changes how we work together, and it in my opinion affects communication most. To tackle problems with remote teams it is best to look for advice from companies that are remote as they most probably solved it already. While looking for such advice I found a great guide to remote teams. It has 4 chapters on: hiring, communication, management, and culture. I highly recommend reading the whole guide.

What I have focused on is communication, as this was issue that in my opinion caused most problems. Too little exchange will cause misunderstandings, and may give false impression that no one is working and little is going on. Decisions made without notifying all team members may cause misunderstandings as well. Such decisions are sometimes made in a channel, or in a private talk, or during a meeting.

To improve visibility in what I'm working on I have started keeping a journal on Slack, as described in chapter on communication. I'm documenting what I do, what I read, and my thoughts and opinions on different tasks or projects, for more than a year now.

My slack journal

Journal allows my colleagues to chime in on my channel as well. Numerous times someone had jumped in with a great advice regarding some problem I had been struggling with, or simply with some tool that would solve it, or with a new library I should be looking at. I find it really helpful, as I can track my work during the week so when filling time sheets I can review what I've been doing. I'm really bad at keeping track so this solves one of my issues. While writing my journal I have received a lot of new information back, hopefully helped someone, and what is most important provided a visibility in what I do when you can't see me.

Other thing we are trying is documenting every important decision for others to read. Not everyone can attend a meeting, video call or a small face to face discussion and it is vital to pass this information to other members of the team. So there is no urgency to attend everything, and there is no FOMO as all will be documented.

Tags: slack remote work