I work at OfferUp as a Principal Product Manager. Previously worked for eBay.
Tell us about your team!
The products I work on span across multiple teams - Data Platform, Warehouse, Data Science, Discovery, etc. I am heavily involved in Experimentation, Discovery Experience, and Business Analytics platform. Most folks I work with are engineers but I also work with the Business Operations team quite often.
My teammates are located in the United States and Mexico. We have teams in Bellevue, Miami and Mexico city.
I am responsible for shaping the vision and strategy for multiple initiatives that I mentioned above and making sure that we build the right set of features for our customers. My team is responsible for executing the vision and shipping product features.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
I’d say the main component is communication. At times, it’s hard to convey the message to another person behind the screen. Humans communicate 90% of the information through non-verbal means and only 10% is communicated verbally. In the remote environment, you can’t use gestures and eye contact to the fullest, therefore, as a leader, you have to become a master of verbal communication (both writing and talking). Over-communicating and repeating the same message multiple times helps a lot. It might seem unnecessary or redundant, but it gets the job done.
How do you make sure your team is happy and engaged in their work?
Simple - by making sure that the team works on stuff that excites them. People are happy when they are proud of their work. Ideally, most tasks should be in between “very difficult” and “too easy” to keep the team engaged. My job as a leader is to make sure that people on the team are happy, engaged, and challenged to deliver great work.
Humans communicate 90% of the information through non-verbal means and only 10% is communicated verbally.
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
I’d say keeping track of things and keeping everyone in the loop. Over-communication helps remedy this a lot. Remember - you can’t just walk to your engineer and ask them something, and there’s no watercooler talk. A regular cadence, status reports, and delivery schedules are all crucial elements of a productive remote work environment.
My Remote Manager Toolbox
Bi-weekly demos, virtual games, and local meetups are pretty common on my team. Seeing your team “in the wild” at least once helps a lot. We all are real people with real problems and desires, it’s easy to forget about this when you see your teammates on Zoom only.
We played online poker once, it was fun :)
Favorite icebreaker is talking about the person that is 2 minutes late to the meeting behind their back :) (joking) Generally, we talk about food, weekend plans, and family.
Products & Tools
We use Bonus.ly - this tools allows you to recognize your coworkers for great work they do and give them points they can later redeem for money. We also use culture amp surveys.
Resources for remote leaders
I love the podcast and tweets from Naval Ravikant. The clarity of his thinking is unmatched. I learned a lot about life, money and leadership from him.
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