How to manage remote teams

I recently completed the five-weeks online course “How to manage a remote team” created by GitLab Inc. on Coursera and found it excellent. I can only recommend it to all leaders who would like to learn more about remote work or reflect on their current ways of working. 💪

Remote teams course certificate

You can find the course here:

Talk at ProductTank Vienna #13

A couple of weeks ago, I was approached on LinkedIn if I wanted to give a talk at ProductTank Vienna. As I’m passionate about everything Product and wanting to do more public speaking anyways, this was a nice surprise and I accepted. 😊

When it came to which topic I actually would talk about, one thing came up my mind pretty quickly – I think there are not many topics which are as essential to the overall culture, motivation, buy-in and lastly, success of your company as having a purpose that people stand behind and a compelling mission that drives them, both based on a user-centric mindset. So this Thursday, I was having my talk at ProductTank titled “The importance of a compelling mission and a user-focussed strategy”.

As the session was recorded, you can watch it on YouTube in case you’re interested.

Post on LinkedIn announcing the speakers of the meetup

There’s a couple of things I learned from the talk yesterday:

  1. I need to check my sense for timing. The talk was scheduled for about 20 mins and I took somewhat around 27-28 mins, so I’ll do test runs and watch this more closely in the future.
  2. Generally being someone who doesn’t like sitting still, yesterday I realised I really like to walk around a lot also while presenting. This works perfectly fine on a stage, but can be tricky in a more “cramped” home-office setup, which led to me walking out of frame a couple of times. 😁
  3. Also, as much as I love interacting with people in real life, I realised that in a remote setup I sometimes find it a bit awkward to maintain “eye-contact”, i.e. looking directly into the webcam, which could lead to people feeling I’m not addressing them directly.

Besides those topics, I’m really happy with how the talk went and I’m very much looking forward to repeating this on further occasions!

Mobile app experience of car2go

Some mobile apps have a poor user experience, some have a really great one. Time for positive feedback: I think car2go has a pretty awesome mobile app! I signed up for an account about two years ago but until now, did not use the service as a) I own a car and b) public transport in Vienna works absolutely fine and is cheap. However, visiting Burda Hackday 2016 in Munich this weekend, I had bad weather and was in a hurry, which is why I tried car2go. My conclusion: Getting the cars displayed in the app, reserving a car, giving feedback about the condition, ending the ride, etc. – everything worked fine and was absolutely intuitive. Great job! :)

Summary of the Agile Manifesto & Agile Principles

This post isn’t really news – the agile manifesto and agile principles have been put down on paper in 2001. However I wanted to post this here, so I can look it up anytime! :)

Agile Manifesto

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan

Agile Principles

  • Customer satisfaction by early and continuous delivery of valuable software
  • Welcome changing requirements, even in late development
  • Working software is delivered frequently (weeks rather than months)
  • Close, daily cooperation between business people and developers
  • Projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted
  • Face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication (co-location)
  • Working software is the principal measure of progress
  • Sustainable development, able to maintain a constant pace
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design
  • Simplicity—the art of maximising the amount of work not done—is essential
  • Best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organising teams
  • Regularly, the team reflects on how to become more effective, and adjusts accordingly

Examples for Definition of Ready and Definition of Done

The definition of ready and definition of done can potentially be a matter of discussion between product owners, developers, quality engineers, designers and stakeholders – to have a guideline, I think the following suggestions can be quite helpful for this topic:

Definition of ready

  • User story
  • Description of GUI with mockups & designs added
  • Description of story is consistent and clear
  • Acceptance criteria completed
  • Dependencies with third-party applications clarified (e.g. CRM or finance systems, DWH, etc.)

Definition of done

  • Acceptance criteria fulfilled
  • Deployed and tested on test environment
  • Test cases documented & executed
  • Handover to server engineers done