Managing Distributed Teams#

In the Managing a New Community and Team and Leadership in Data Science chapters, we have already discussed in-depth how we can manage a new online community and build healthy leadership for a team. Therefore, in this subchapter, we have listed a few reminders of tasks that are specifically important for managing distributed teams.

  • Set clear expectations for the team members about the project and their roles and responsibilities.

  • Help establish all modes of communication, tools, and resources according to the team’s requirements for both their project and social interactions.

  • Coordinate the development and maintenance of all the required documentation such as the organisation’s policies, participation guidelines, project charter, and information of other team members.

  • Ensure that details of these resources are available for all members through a central repository, with information on how they can access them.

  • Respect time differences when dealing with members across different time zones and assigning tasks. Allow a degree of flexibility as per their working situation or caring responsibilities they may have.

  • Schedule team meetings where everyone can share what they are working on and invite contributions and support from others in the team.

  • Before the meeting, provide the meeting agenda in a shared document, preferably that can be updated by the team members in case they want to suggest a new agenda point. This document can also be used for taking notes during the event.

  • Share minutes (and video recording when possible) to make sure that everyone is up-to-date, even those who couldn’t attend the meeting.

  • Schedule regular one-on-one meetings to ensure that your team members can check-in with you, align ideas as per the project’s requirement, hold accountability for their work, and receive constructive feedback.

  • Create opportunities for informal interactions that can help create a friendly work environment and build a strong sense of team spirit.

  • Encourage and embrace diversity and a culture of collaboration.

Further reading#