Managing a Remote Team – feat. Software Solved

We caught up with Ian Russell, Director of Operations at Software Solved to talk about ‘Managing Teams Remotely’.

Here, we gather and share the most effective ways of running activities remotely, sharing the insight of a number of industry leaders on how they’re tackling this challenge. This is part of our Ask the Expert series.

The team of innovators at Software Solved are using Machine Learning to create unique Custom Software and Data Solutions.

ADLIB: Firstly, is remote working new to the business?

Russell: Remote working is something that we’ve encouraged for several years at Software Solved so, although it was still a transition into lockdown, we were well prepared to make it happen quickly and smoothly.

ADLIB: What character trait do you think is most important when getting the most out of projects worked on as a team working remotely?

Russell: It has to be ‘pragmatic’. This helps keep a focus on the realistic and practical elements of a project both of which are of vital importance when it comes to a successful project and also helps keep the project team on the same page.

ADLIB: If you had to pick one, what tool enables your team to work at its best when remote?

Russell: It has to be Microsoft Teams. It’s provided a great communication tool both for us internally but for meetings with customers, partners and suppliers too. Through the choice of IM, video call, audio call and the ability to share documents and conversations with specific groups of people it’s helped keep collaboration and communication active.

ADLIB: What process, approach or methodology have you found to be most beneficial to remote working?

Russell: Although we have always encouraged remote working having the whole company move to it at once did mean we needed to add some additional approaches to transfer the office environment and culture online as much as possible. To support this, we implemented some additional tools and mechanisms including;

Donut on Slack – this saw people randomly paired with a colleague 3 times a week to spark conversation and encourage those ad-hoc conversations

Use of video during calls – we’ve worked to encourage the use of video via Microsoft Teams so that people can actually see teammates, it also means Line Managers can see staff and keep an eye on how they are doing.

Regular comms – since lockdown comms from Lindsay Lucas (MD) have increased to help ensure that everyone feels informed, in addition, a regular Q&A session has also been set up so that the team get the opportunity to regularly ask Lindsay any questions they may have.

Staying social – an important part of a culture team quizzes and regular challenges have been set to keep the ‘banter’ going.

ADLIB: And finally, what would your one key piece of advice be for those looking to help remote teams function to their optimum?

Russell: Be available and proactive – moving to remote working under normal circumstances can be a challenge but the pandemic brings more challenges for individuals. Making sure you are available when your team needs you is vital to ensure they know that support is there when needed but don’t make this a passive affair ensure you proactively reach out to your team too as many may not want to make that first move.

Thank You for your time.