Remote – Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson

The book consists of a list of great tips of how to deal with remote work and distributed teams. Here are some quotes from the book that might be worth remembering:

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37signals.com

Give a remote work a real chance or don’t bother at all. It’s okay to start small, but make sure it’s meaningful.

Make sure all technology and infrastructure is in place before rolling out the program.

Dealing with clients:

  • When pitching business, let the perspective client know up front that you don’t live where they live
  • Provide references before the client even asks
  • Show them work often
  • Be very available
  • Get the client involved and let them follow along. Make sure they feel that this is their project too

Keeping a solid team together for a long time is a key to peak performance. Doing great work with great people is one of the most durable sources of happiness we humans can tap into. Stick with it.

The human connection is even more important when hiring remote workers because it has to be stronger to survive the distance.

Small misunderstandings that could have been nipped in the bud with a wink of an eye or a certain tone of voice can quickly snowball into drama.

That’s one of the key challenges of remote work: keeping everyone’s outlook healthy and happy.

It’s never a good idea to let poisonous people sick around to spoil it for everyone else, but in a remote-work setup it’s deadly.

No asshole-y behavior allowed, no drama allowed, no bad vibes allowed.

About recruitment: it’s entirely unnecessary to go to the indirect route. Instead, you can ask copywriters to show you copy, consultants to show you reports or results, programmers to show you code, designers to show you designs, marketers to show you campaigns, and so on an so forth.

It’s the work that matters. Look at the work and forget the abstractions.

The mental shortcut usually goes: in the office from 9-5 + nice = must be a good worker.

Someone who’s had a chance to taste the dysfunction of several companies as a contractor is more likely to appreciate a company that actually gets remote work.

Key ingredients of open source success:

  • Intrinsic motivation. Programmers working on open source code usually do it for love, not money.
  • All out in the open. (…) People with the most knowledge about an issue get easy access.
  • Meeting occasionally

Quick calls prevent issues and concerns from piling up without being addressed. Morale and motivation are fragile things, so you want to make sure to monitor the pulse of your remote workforce.

Start by empowering everyone to make decisions on their own. If the company is full of people whom nobody trusts to make decisions without layers of managerial review, then the company is full of wrong people.

As a manager, you have to accept the fact that people will make mistakes, but not intentionally, and that mistakes are the price of learning and self sufficiency. Second, you must make sure that people have access, by default, to everything they need.

Abundance and value are often opposites.

Instead of trying to treat motivation as something that can be artificially ginned up with just the right tricks, treat it as a barometer of the quality of work and the work environment.

Ghandi’s model for change: “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win”

 

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