As remote work becomes even more ubiquitous — and with the trend likely to continue post-pandemic — companies need to rethink the way they communicate culture, values, and expectations for how teams work together.
As a pioneer in remote work, GitLab has scaled to more than 1300 team members across 68 countries without opening any offices. GitLab Co-founder and CEO Sid Sijbrandij shares five tips from his playbook on building and managing remote teams:
Reinforce your company's core values. Sid says that many organizations take the time to articulate their values, but neglect to infuse them through daily work. When the GitLab team makes key decisions, they reference their values in 17 ways, and reinforce them with every process and project.
Be transparent. GitLab takes this to the extreme by publicly posting every team member's current workflow. By working in the open, everyone is more easily able to see and understand what others are working on without meetings or interruptions, which both enhances belonging and prevents communication silos.
Differentiate between synchronous and asynchronous collaboration. At GitLab, live doc meetings are meant to catalyze weeks or months of asynchronous work. They are largely reserved for clarifications and discussion, not one-directional updates. All meetings have an accessible agenda for discourse to happen before, during, and after, being inclusive of time zones. Whenever team members have progress to share, they post video updates.
Give decision-making power to the person who will ultimately do the work. GitLab encourages contribution and feedback from every team member, and at the same time empowers project owners to call the shots.
Document everything live. GitLab is rigorous about documentation. Meeting agendas serve as a collaborative record of group discussions. These notes are then shared with everyone in the company — with key takeaways added to its expansive handbook — reinforcing the values of transparency and efficiency.