GIVE IT TO
March 13, 2021
As COVID-19 was spreading across the planet to the point of becoming a Pandemic and finally arriving in Brazil with force, leaders and managers were (at least they should) preparing to distribute their teams so that, as the possible, to continue their work remotely.
The VUCA (or BANI , as you prefer) world in which we live calls for agility in short-term decision-making in contexts that require us to quickly change direction and prioritize.
Brazil was already the 3rd country in terms of Home Office growth acceleration, this scenario we are currently experiencing was just a little push that some companies needed to adapt.
According to Vagas.com, the volume of vacancies offered jumped from 594 positions in 2019 to 2,428 in 2020.
The sectors that most contributed to this increase in positions in flexible working arrangements were:
Consulting and Business Management (10%)
Adapting to this work model is not simply based on hiring a person who cannot move to the city or who does not need to commute daily to your company's plant. It is necessary to understand and apply a series of compositions and methods that must be in accordance with the company's culture, but that many leaders, tied to an outdated work concept, refuse to understand. Now more than ever, this reality is being imposed on those who want to continue browsing.
"Oh, but you can't collaborate or brainstorm without the energy in person"
"You can't be creative without face-to-face exchange"
Sentences repeated until today (can you believe)?
Yes it does.
From well-known software for video calls and communication to big news that promise to bring the office environment to the virtual world , solutions are popping like popcorn before our eyes, seeking to generate greater adaptation to this demand that was already evident.
First, the conversation is about culture
This was an adaptation that, fortunately, we didn't have to go through in the internal routine of Ensaio. In a company that operates Agile in its essence, remote work was already a reality, especially in the Content area, which was already 100% distributed. I will tell you how we do this.
At Ensaio, we value the independence of each employee in carrying out their tasks. This is not to say that there is no integration, quite the contrary. Everyone knows what everyone is doing, the difference is that the focus is not on delivery deadlines and the final result, but on the processes and learning throughout execution. I'm not going to tell you about discipline and personal routine. You can read more about this in other editions of the Tour .
The misperception that I'm away from work is one of the barriers built by the concept that must be broken. Each of the employees is responsible for their objectives and tactical conduct, which are built together with the entire team.
In practice, what is the difference between my work at home, in a cafe or anywhere with a good internet, to one where people sit at a table, put their " noise-cancelling " headphones on and only interact on time of the coffee?
Yes, I like face-to-face work. When possible, I would go to the Essay office to interact with the staff and help with the execution of some content projects and quarterly planning. The point is that the restrictions imposed by COVID-19 have not changed my routine.
Organization is everything. This is the foundation of a job well done, no matter where it is conceived. You can read more about some practical tools we use to make this happen in the best way here. We have other even deeper tips in our Secret Group .
The Future is Asynchronous
In order to have a more organic and noise-free adaptation to remote work models, we strongly recommend that the entire team adopts Asynchronous Communication.
The process of interaction between people or groups in which the recipient of the message does not necessarily have to respond to it immediately.
In theory, there is not a big distinction in the basic elements of communication between the asynchronous and synchronous models. Naturally, for the message to be transmitted from a sender to a receiver, it needs to go through a channel (physical or virtual) and a code (in our case, the Portuguese language). The difference is only in the time relationships between the answers and in the ways to eliminate possibly present noise.
In the remote work model, we consider asynchronous communication to be a kind of requirement, which must be supported by good processes, quality tools that align with the demands and, of course, as it is a human movement, it is extremely important that people engage involved.
Greater control over the working day: within this model, the organization of individuals' time in self-management of their personal and professional affairs becomes more dynamic, thus reducing their stress level. Since, when trying to perform multiple tasks at the same time and answering all of them immediately, the individual expends a lot of his mental energy.
Greater quality of communication: there is a greater incentive for messages to be as complete as possible. The briefing of ideas, whether for a marketing action or the creation of a new product, is more objective and direct, with the rest of the contact focused on specific questions and successes.
Focus on what creates value: control, planning and quality in communication combined result in above-average productivity for employees. And the main gain is in this individual's understanding of what their priorities are for the moment.
The general focus of activities in any company should be on what generates value for it, mainly on revenue gains, and on optimizing services for its customers. Without the noise in communication, which tends to be clearer and more conclusive, it is easier to understand what the most urgent demands are.
Essay's content team has been able to operate in a 100% distributed way for 2 years. The first step for this to happen here is the fact that we have a working framework focused on agile methodologies and scrum in our essence. From product planning and communication strategies, based on quarterly OKRs, to the definition of roadmaps (tracks that guide the weekly sprints of each area). Attention: the roadmap is extremely important for describing the path that each strategy must follow to be executed, so that each employee, including newcomers, is in tune and can execute the tactics, which are accompanied and iterated by the scrum rituals :
Here, each sprint lasts for 2 weeks. Every Friday, the leader meets with his area to analyze the progress we have made against our goals and, thus, define exactly all the tasks and count the hours we will have in the sprint to be followed. Each task must have a title, description, definition of done, status, completion date, execution time, priority and vertical to be met. In this text , Jessica, Essay's Design Lead, gives you tips for a good Sprint Planning
When we analyze the last sprint as a whole, we understand what went right and we can improve; and what worked and we continued to do.
Daily 15-30 minute meeting in which the entire growth team is updated in relation to the tasks already performed and those that will still be performed after the end of the meeting; in addition to serving as an update, it is a time to raise your hand and share obstacles and insecurities with the leader in relation to the tasks to be performed.
Here, we use an hour of our week for a person from the sector to present a task performed for the rest of the team to make assessments and suggestions. Example: In a week, I can take a Landing Page to capture leads and present it to the team, who silently write down their perceptions. We use the Parking Lot concept. We've separated the review into 4 essential quadrants: it worked well, needs to change, unanswered questions and new ideas. After the presentation, each team member presents their points and the owner of the idea works on them.
It works in a very similar way to the review, but this time, involving the entire team at Ensaio, with a duration of 1 hour and 30 minutes, we sought to analyze in depth, the progress of 1 or 2 OKRs. The owner of this OKR presents what we are doing to reach the goal and what blocks are preventing the KRS from reaching 100% expansion. In silence, each of the collaborators writes down their suggestions, to later share with the whole group.
In this way, we are able to maintain organization, integration between teams, scalability of the work to be performed, in addition to valuing learning and iterating on progress before something goes wrong and it is too late for any changes. We also have in our routine, carrying out and designing experiments based on absurd hypotheses. This process I can explain to you in another opportunity.
OK. But how to execute this?
Time to turn your phone screen face down and put collaboration into practice. To keep the rituals going, carry out ideation processes, brainstorming, manage tasks, monitor progress and analyze data, we use some tools:
Mural: a sensational tool built specifically for remote collaboration. We use a lot in carrying out plans, scripts and content storyboards, brainstorming, ideation processes (including in projects, with our clients) and reviews. Soon, we will provide materials and tools for you to help you and show you, step by step, how we do this.
Monday : a working operating system that has so many possibilities that I don't even feel comfortable defining it. Around here, we use it to organize everything. From each employee's vacation calendar to the progress of OKRs and the execution of each task in the sprints. A folder for each area, with various boards referring to roadmaps that guide our tactics and sets of elements that guide our sprints.
Slack: internal communication tool that we use at Ensaio. We create channels for each of the areas, as well as others for specific subjects, such as "People and Education" in which we share tips for courses, events and lectures with everyone. It features integration options with several other platforms, such as Monday and Autopilot, which we use to alert us when a lead falls at a certain stage in the funnel, for example.
Google Calendar + Hangouts: these I think are best known to the crowd. We practically use it to organize our calls and meetings. Everything that has a defined time schedule goes to Calendar, which generates a direct link to make the call through Hangouts.
Zoom: another well-known linking tool, we use a lot for recording Prototipando, our podcast . With fast and quality mechanics for capturing pre-editing audio and video, we were able to send the meeting's link for respondents to access wherever they want, without the need for physical presence.
My experience with the distributed work routine is very positive. We believe that this success in the organization of the team, which is highly perceived internally and also by our customers, should be shared with the entire audience of Ensaio Lab. Therefore, we are preparing even deeper content to touch on specific points of this organization and how to place it. it in practice.
I hope that these processes shared here will help us to overcome these challenges and reinvent ourselves in the face of new volatile scenarios and unique contexts that are yet to come.
We have a provocation to do on the next Pico .