I’m a Product Manager at Ably, the edge messaging platform for developers to power live and collaborative experiences like chat, GPS location tracking, and document collaboration. I’m the product lead for our Eureka pod where I help the team identify pivotal moments that show the value of Ably faster so we can delight developers who are getting started with Ably.
We’re a remote-first company headquartered in London, UK and we recently opened a hub in Boston, US. Today a majority of the team is distributed around the UK, but we increasingly have people working in different parts of the US and Europe!
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
As a product management team, we help Ably’s customers solve the hard engineering problems that come with powering live and collaborative experiences. We work with commercial and engineering teams to turn market and user needs into features our customers love, making sure we’re consistent in our approach and that we’re all heading in the same direction.
As part of the development team, I lead by giving direction to the team in what problems we will solve next. I listen and learn about problems our market has, I describe and prioritize the opportunities, I collaborate in our ideation and validate some of our hypotheses, I help developers build and operate our ideas into production, finally I measure and confirm if we have achieved success.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
Shared values across the organization. For remote work, shared values and communication norms and expectations across the organization are critical. We’re open to all and believe technology needs humanity. With these two values we build a culture where we can be honest with each other, create an environment where people can work flexibly, and work to continuously improve ourselves and our communication flows.
Strong remote cultures are built on strong connections. Strong connections are built with Hailey.
How do you make sure your team is happy and engaged in their work?
Being human and respectful. Everyone is unique and have their way of being happy and engaged in work. For example, we can choose to show ourselves on video in meetings. However, some people are more comfortable not having the video on. In the end, we respect the decisions of the individual, and we all perform at our best, where we as individuals know how we can be our best.
How do we ensure we bring value to all our meetings? How do we help save time learning things over and over again? How do we make decisions effectively? We’ve had some success with a written-first approach that aims for deliberate communication at the right time and in the right way for the situation (asynchronous / synchronous).
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
We’re scaling fast, and the culture has scaled with us. The biggest challenge is communicating in the most effective way possible. With remote-first work you need to be deliberate in how you communicate. How do we ensure we bring value to all our meetings? How do we help save time learning things over and over again? How do we make decisions effectively? We’ve had some success with a written-first approach that aims for deliberate communication at the right time and in the right way for the situation (asynchronous / synchronous). This is harder at scale and we’re still working this out, but we’re determined!
My Remote Manager Toolbox
Socials, Coffee time, Quarterly remote retreats.
Mainly we play retrospective games using Miro.
We don’t, but we do have an icebreaker for new joiners at our weekly all hands meeting.
Products & Tools
We mainly use Confluence to document our values. Our main tool is to connect us all together using video conferencing tools and Slack for communication.
Resources for remote leaders
I use books, tried courses, mentoring. However, the theory is not enough. Getting the time to put it into practice and improve is key in growth.
Make your company a great place to work
"Adding Hailey has been by far the lowest effort, highest impact thing we’ve done to bring our globally scattered team together!" - Mary Grace Reich