Building and managing remote or distributed teams present a unique set of challenges, and we want to build a tool that solves them.
A recent tweet by one of our investors, Brianne Kimmel, caught our attention:
What tools are you using for remote teams? Asking for a friend.— Brianne Kimmel (@briannekimmel) July 1, 2019
Brianne’s tweet garnered 250 replies, 96 retweets and nearly 700 likes. Here’s what everyone had to say (kudos to Thomas O’Brien for aggregating this list):
Slack and Zoom led the pack, with 115 and 76 mentions, while Trello came in a distant third with 39 mentions. Asana and G-Suite weren’t far behind, with each product garnering 35 mentions. What’s striking about this list is that none of these products are explicitly built for remote teams. In fact, these are the same tools used by any co-located team in Silicon Valley.
We found this interesting, and a bit problematic, because building a remote or distributed team comes with a unique set of challenges. From speaking with managers of remote and distributed teams, three areas in particular are more difficult:
- Building a strong team culture. Remote managers need to be more explicit about building culture and social interactions across their teams. Remote teams don’t have the opportunity for “watercooler talk” or grabbing lunch together.
- Fostering team collaboration and communication. Keeping the team aligned on priorities and blockers is a constant challenge, particularly if your team spans multiple time zones. The costs of over communication are much lower than those of misalignment.
- Coaching and developing direct reports. Frequent check-ins, structured one-on-ones, and a trusting relationship are requirements for effective remote management. If you don’t develop your direct reports, they’ll eventually find a manager who will.
As remote work continues to grow, it’s important that managers have the tools necessary to help them handle the challenges of building a remote team. That’s why we built Humble Dot and that’s why we’re launching this blog.
We’re really excited to help managers navigate in the future of work. So stay tuned for updates and if you have any input, we’d love to hear from you.
Macgill Davis is a cofounder of Humble Dot. You can follow him on Twitter at @Macgridcupcake