Our team works with customers in various regions and different projects. We use 4 languages to communicate with clients, up to 10 time zones and run the projects on IAAS, PAAS, DevOps, Managed Services on analytics and cloud operations. Quite differentiated scope of works, many of which done remotely.
When quarantine became strict limitation to work and to communicate at the office in one place, we have switched to remote work within a couple of hours. That fast switch was possible due to settled practice of using help-tools, which allows the team to communicate, create, track and perform tasks wherever they are.
Many companies are struggling with organising of remote work now. In this article I share our experience and hope my tips will be helpful for companies during and after such tough period.
For tasks setting and assignment, project and incident management we use Jira Service Desk both for external (Customer's) and internal (Our Company's) tasks. Jira allows to organise tasks in one place, keep the data safe and secured. There we create different channels for 1st line and 2nd line support, projects, internal development. It's easy to admin and set up the tool.
Once tasks are set up manager need to track and control the performance. For task tracking and performance control we use Power BI Dashboard which is integrated with Jira Service Desk and helps visually track tasks statuses, assignees and many other metrics depends on what you want to track. Integration should be done in the way your data are refreshed automatically when change in any task occurs. We use kanban board on Power BI with tasks statuses, it is very easy to find any task using filters and drill downs. In case manager wants to comments any task he or she easily can go from Power BI to Jira via link on the task, mention assignee and leave the comment or notification. Power BI Dashboard allows to organise notifications to mobile/mail when some important changes appear. Manager saves plenty of time for tasks control.. Jira+Dashboard helps to minimise time consuming task tracking meetings and focus more on the results.
Working remotely it becomes more difficult to control team productivity and time spent on each and every task. To track time spent on tasks we created metrics in dashboard that calculate time that is spent on task performance by specialists. In this way manager easily can check and review productivity of the team and manage it. You will know who from the team overtimes and who underperforms, manage team capacity remotely.
For teams meetings, conferences and chatting we explore Microsoft Teams. It is integrated in many Office 365 types of licenses and helps to organise team communication in very structured way. Different channels of communication can be easily created in Microsoft Teams. Also you can insert appropriate Power BI dashboard in each and every Teams channel. That gives us one point for communication, chat, meeting, calls, tasks tracking there. File sharing and co-work with documents also can be done there.
Access management is getting more important when employees stay at home. We control accesses through Azure Active Directory, service provides single sign-on and multi-factor authentication to help protect your users from 99.9 percent of cybersecurity attacks.
In Chinese language the word 'crisis' is spelled as 'weiji' ( original 危机） which means 'danger+ opportunity' at the same time. So let's care about our safety and at the same time let's stay focused on opportunities that we face. Take care, stay secured and productive.