In addition to myself, my team has 1 engineering manager, 6 engineers, 1 designer, 1 analyst, and 1 data scientist (shared across teams).
Where are your teammates located?
All over the US, coast to coast!
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
We build consumer experiences focused on driving retention and engagement on the platform. Our goal is to turn RealSelf into a one-stop-shop for consumers considering a cosmetic procedure by ensuring that our users have all the tools they need to complete their journey.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
Connection and inclusivity are key! Ensuring that we put people first and create intentional space designed for connection, both on a personal level and when solving problems for our consumers.
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?
Daily stand-ups, sprint retrospectives, and a private, team-only space to connect (private Slack channel) are the three most effective tools we employ to maintain a pulse on the team and their work.
Finding ways to replace the traditional ‘water cooler talk’ or ‘hallway chat’ has been particularly challenging.
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
Finding ways to replace the traditional ‘water cooler talk’ or ‘hallway chat’ has been particularly challenging. After finding more intentional ways to create space for these conversations, we’re finding that the perceived innovation that occurs during these touchbases can actually occur virtually!
My Remote Manager Toolbox
Monthly team game playing sessions (we carve out one Friday afternoon a month to do this). As a company, we typically do 1-2 broader events per quarter. Recently, we had a Trivia + Drag event, as well as a cocktail making event where everyone was sent a kit and we had a professional mixologist teach us how to make drinks!
Yes definitely! We really like Werewolf (kind’ve like Mafia) and any other logic games at Netgames.
Sometimes! We’ve often started team standups on Fridays by asking ‘what is one thing you plan to do that brings you joy this weekend?’
I also like to start 1:1s with a ‘temp check’ - in other words, where are you at on your personal temperature? Are you feeling hot today for XYZ reasons or chill because of ABC? Maybe somewhere between?
I also read a lot of case studies from other startups, subscribe to several Product Management mailing lists (like Product School and ProductPlan), and have spent a lot of time with Lean UX resources - specifics include books like The Lean Startup, Lean UX: Applying Lean Principles to Improve User Experience, and Lean UX: Designing Great Products with Agile Teams. I also really like podcasts: How I Built This and Masters of Scale are top favorites of mine!
Hot tip: many startups and product offerings leverage helpful resources/materials both as a marketing tool and as a way to generate leads. These are typically free and can be accessed simply by subscribing to their mailing list! Some of the best resources I've come across have been shared through channels like this.
A favorite starting place for understanding the Lean framework in the context of technical products is ‘The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses’ by Eric Ries.
I also strongly encourage aspiring leaders and PMs to tap into your networks and solicit ‘coffee chats’ from others in the industry so you can pick their brains - nothing better than connecting with another human in your field to understand what works or doesn’t work for them and their team/business so you can apply to your own!
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