How to reimagine and experiment our way to new ways of working (Part 2)

Let’s continue the topic of reassessing why we do the work we do and reimagining how work can be done. In the last post, How to reimagine and experiment our way to new ways of working (Part 1), I gave an example of how I challenged “how” things are done and how I went about changing it. But I didn’t tell you how that experiment went. So, let me tell you right now.

The experiment was a success! Because of the time differences, we had a rolling update. Some teammates’ “first thing in the morning” were just a couple hours before someone else’s “last thing in the evening”. Since the first thing on the board was check-in, they saw their teammate’s weather check-in (sunny, rainy, stormy, cloudy, partial sun, windy), they reached out to specific teammates and asked after them. That actually helped build team spirit (I didn’t expect that). The daily standup went from a fixed time every day to around the clock because people were in different time-zones. We made some modifications since my first proposal, e.g. we changed the check-in from time to time, to keep it fresh. So it’s no longer weather check-in, we’re now using the seven dwarfs from Snow White. We also decided that we will meet synchronously every other week as a team. Those meetings are working sessions, and the team works out a prioritized list of what should go into the working sessions, e.g. brainstorming sessions. We also realized that we need to learn remote facilitation skills in order to do remote work more effectively. I borrowed the Liberating Structure WINFY (“What I need from you”) to form the last question, “what do you need from the team?”.

In summary, we decided we would work asynchronously by default. We would also evaluate what would be most effective to be synchronous and only meet synchronously when it’s absolutely necessary. We constantly challenge ourselves with how we can achieve our goals asynchronously. And we have to up-skill ourselves in order to work in this new environment more effectively.

The example also touched on the “when”. Even though the daily standup wasn’t between 9-5 for all teammates because of the time differences, it was a fixed time every day for everyone. By changing how the meeting was run (from synchronous to asynchronous), the “when” was changed as well (from fixed time every day to “first thing in the morning”/around the clock).

So, let me ask you again, if today were day one of the history of work, how would you design how you work? And how are you going about implementing those designs? This is going to be a time for experimentation. Make it fun!

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