Ways to engage your developers when working remotely
Hey 👋 I’m Z, CEO @ Flairs.ai. As a creative person with a technical background, I always seek for new ways of engaging the community @ Apptension (creative software house) and I do it @ Flairs.ai too.
Being engaged as a developer means having opportunities to grow and excel - right projects and people.
At Flairs.ai we teach future tech leaders on how developers should be engaged within companies, to sky-rocket their performance. This is also the reason why we created Flairs.ai - a platform that helps developers know more about their peers, projects and organization. We believe this knowledge is now more important than ever before.
About this series
Industry has changed recently. We did a very fast transition to fully remote companies - all feel it’s time to push toward more remote-friendly solutions. Slack announced just recently that they grew more than ever before in the COVID times! Companies reach out to tools to ease their work.
With this series, We are on a mission to help developers stay engaged using the smart tools offered by the development community.
If you are aspiring to become a technical leader, you are just a dev eager to learn more and keep improving or you are an old-school CTO this content can be your inspiration to bigger changes in your work routines!
How do I prioritize the ideas?
We are all humans and it’s easy to get biased with multiple factors considered that’s why I use ICE to easily set the scores for the ideas. You can just easily get lost and take wrong path based on your personal gut, not most important factors. I use this one particularly because it allows me quickly filtrate the ones that are bad from the start without too much effort putted into the grading.
What is the ICE scale?
ICE is Impact, Cost, Effort rating. It has a 1-30 scale (1-10 for every point).
My ICE scale for ideas:
- 10 - Huge, the whole team can participate, it have a long lasting impact on how well developers are engaged.
- 1 - Small, it’s just an activity to boost impact of one single person
Cost / Time cost:
- 10 - time: 30 minutes, 0 external cost - i.e. doing a day-to-day task by myself
- 1 - more than 2 sprints (1 month), XXk external cost - i.e. organizing an event
- 10 - Low - I can do it on by myself
- 1 - Huge - The whole team needs to do it, otherwise it sucks
The 3 ideas to boost your development team engagement.
Here’s 3 ideas that I come up with that might help you as well in your day-to-day job as a technical leader and keep your team engaged:
1. Share the technology of the week/day
Let people learn more about the company’s direction.
Internal communication about expectations regarding technologies / technical skills is one of the most important job factors when choosing the company. Top companies like Zalando, prepare technical radars to show their teams what their technical direction is. It’s very helpful for candidates, on onboarding and during feedback sessions with developers.
From the other hand the leadership should have the opportunity to present technical stacks that lead the company's existence in order to decide better on which skills matter the most in the IT Teams.
You can lead by example by showing what technologies are trending within the company and which are the most important ones (mostly used).
Send a group email or channel message with 5 tech highlights of the week/day you found or use links to Flairs.ai dashboards with the cool technologies. Grasp who use it and where. Mention the people to share what they’ve learned - snippets, cool links. ICE - 7,10,10 = 27
You can always reverse it and send over a question to the whole group with the incentive. People love to share when they have opportunity! ICE - 5,10,8 = 23
Here’s an incentive to help you bootstrap this on your #development slack channel:
Hey @channel! 👋Just a quick question: did you use any cool tech recently? Can you share it with one key takeaway why it’s good? I'm also happy to learn why you've chosen this one instead of any other. We are preparing a list of cool tech that our team use to organize some internal workshops around them! We really appreciate your input 🙇
Play a 1h of online games with your devs
This is inspired by what the CTO of Basecamp do at their company to keep the team engaged. I loved the podcast by the way…
Here is the tip: Bring the team together for 1 hour per week competing in online games. It’s easy to do, use Quake Live for the old sports, CS: GO, or just create a Haxball channel for fifa fans. Find the first game freaks and let them set up the servers!
You don’t need to do it every day, but it’s a great engagement booster. I give it ICE (10,8,9) = strong 27! Really love it.
Organize a Knowledge Day
We know people read about different stuff. But once in a week/two they can engage in a special time to exchange the knowledge. Recommendation is a powerful engine to grow people's career. To not overwhelm the team you could ask people to post 1 link in a week, with 1-3 key takeaways from the article they read, or video they watched.
It needs to be short and catchy. So when you read it always feels like: what am I getting by reading this article/tutorial or watching a video?
Hey Devs! Today is the Knowledge Day. Share the best links you have about software development to give your friends a bit of recommendation about good practices, cool tools and stuff you like as developers.
To start with, here’s one I recently watched about the principles of designing the systems: John Maeda: Designing for simplicity.
I suggest starting this simply as an e-mail or slack topic...
I think it’s a perfect fit for a growing company. The knowledge about what people recommended shows the interests and directions people pursue in their careers. Additionally if you want to use Flairs.ai you can do two things:
- Development team can share content around specific technologies
- Flairs platform aggregates those links from specific Slack channels
... so they can be available for new teammates and are easily searchable. The newcomers and existing people can better understand the tech culture and drive company values in a more open - community-driven way. ICE 10,8,8 = 26
You can use Almanac or Confluence or Notion.so - really beautiful tools designed to help great teams develop cultures of shared knowledge.
Text pages need to be updated. I think the effort in this is high.. We already have a lot of tasks to do and do not really have time to write up additional documents. As devs - We write code everyday. And this is our work :) ICE 8,5-8,6 = 19-22
That's it! Give it a try and let me know how this worked :) I hope you liked it!
P.S. I always follow the rule: release sooner than never and get feedback :)
If you feel like you want to add any new tips to upcoming series, or you might have questions - let me know, I’m all open to new ideas! E-mail me email@example.com