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At Passfolio, our teams have been remote from the start. Here’s how we work from anywhere.

Recently, many companies have been forced to have people work from home in an effort to contain the coronavirus disease. At Passfolio, however, we’re lucky to have been a remote team from the start. 

Given our experience with remote work, we thought it might make sense to share a little bit about how we manage to stay productive with a team spread out across the globe.

 

Remote work is a growing trend

Before we get into how we do things at Passfolio, perhaps it’s worth mentioning a few stats about remote work that might surprise you. If you haven’t considered adopting remote work policies at your company, think again:  

  • 42% of remote workers plan to work remotely more frequently than they currently do in the next 5 years, and that more than half of on-site workers want to start working remotely. Source: State of Remote Work 2019
  • Since 2016, the number of job posts on LinkedIn that mention work flexibility rose by over 78%. Source: 2019 Global Talent Trends Report
  • 57% of people who work remotely reported thinking they are more productive when they work from home. Source: Indeed Remote Work Survey 
  • People believe they would be more productive working remotely due to fewer distractions than the office (76%) and fewer interruptions from colleagues (76%). Source: FlexJobs’ 6th Annual Super Survey
  • 43% of US employers already offer their employees remote work opportunities. Source: The Modern Workplace Report 19/20 

If remote work is something new to you, here are 204 additional remote work statistics you might appreciate.

 

Critical Success Factor: Sprint Planning

One of the things that most helps us stay productive at Passfolio is planning our work every Monday. This way, we create alignment within the team and avoid micromanagement - instead, we establish a clear understanding of what each of us should deliver by the end of the week. 

We plan our weeks during our “Sprint Planning” meetings, which usually last about 1 to 2 hours and happen over Google Hangouts or Zoom. Throughout the meeting, we discuss what should be accomplished during the week and how the work will be executed. 

During the Sprint Planning, we also assign a specific amount of tasks to each team member in order to make sure we all stay productive without burning out. Each of us is assigned up to 12 points worth of tasks (the tasks are attributed points based on their difficulty using a common estimating technique in software development called “Planning Poker”). 

Planning poker, also called Scrum poker, is a consensus-based, gamified technique for estimating, mostly used to estimate effort or relative size of development goals - Wikipedia 

 

Autonomy and Mutual Accountability 

At Passfolio, everything is everyone’s job. Since we’re still a relatively small company, it’s crucial for us to move fast and improve quickly on all fronts of our business. 

In this sense, micromanagement isn’t really even an option. There is no robust “chain of command” - decisions have to be made quickly, by everyone, all the time. Excessive management is a bottleneck we cannot afford. 

We are, however, very good at keeping track of the work we do. All tasks are centralized, labelled and routinely updated in Github. If someone on the team wants to know what someone else is working on, they can just visit www.github.com 

Examples of Engineering Tasks

Examples of Marketing Tasks

Employers who allow employees to work remotely should grant these employees true autonomy and flexibility, rather than trying to micromanage their remote work. Our results comparing WFH (Work From Home) and WFA (Work From Anywhere) employees indicate that granting greater autonomy can actually enhance employee productivity. - Harvard Business Review 

Sync Meetings and Sprint Reviews 


Weekly Sync Meetings are also something we do to ensure team alignment. Once or twice a week we have meetings with the entire team in order to provide everyone with a broader perspective of what is being accomplished and in what direction the company is moving.

At the end of every week, we also review the work that was delivered and adjust our strategy for the following week.

We try to keep meetings to a minimum, though, in order to free up more time to focus on work itself. Meetings are only held if they are absolutely necessary and if they have a clear goal.



Want to see what we’ve accomplished?


You don’t have to take us for our word when we say remote work gets things done. Check out what we’ve accomplished over the past months:


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