One heavily discussed topic in the context of this current global crisis is running effective virtual meetings. We needed to adapt to remote work quickly. Engineering is different these days. The difference between work and home has become blurry. People have a hard time setting boundaries between work hours and home hours.
What can engineering managers do to enable effective communication in virtual meetings?
Git Analytics tools, such as Waydev, Gitprime, and Velocity, help engineering leaders improve their teams’ efficiency by providing visibility into their output.
Remote work issues
The problem with remote work is that it amplifies existing communication issues. In-office, those quick conversations can help you overcome issues. In a remote work setting, unspoken assumptions can lead to critical issues. This is because you are susceptible to missing context. A co-located work setting pulls people together easier.
Waydev, Gitprime, and Code Climate provide data that makes engineering managers aware of their teams’ activity. It makes them understand where they can help. They can also assist with correlating events, such as how did transition to remote work impact engineering productivity.
Preparing for the meetings
Meetings take up a lot of resources. Coming prepared to the meetings is essential. If you have ten or more direct reports, preparing for meetings takes a huge amount of time. This is when Git Analytics come into play. You can take the pulse of:
- Code-level and pull request activity, with the Work Log feature
- In-depth pull request activity, with the Review Workflow feature
- Ticket activity, with the Sprints feature
The Work Log feature provides a “map” of your engineers’ activity. In this remote work context, it’s particularly useful to see if your engineers work on weekends. This will help you understand if they are over capacity. Work with the Work Log to create a balance in your teams’ work. It also helps to spot blockers in your engineers’ work.
Not all Work Log data requires a specific action. It’s helpful to gain awareness regarding your engineers’ activity.
The Review Workflow provides an overview of pull request activity. Identify long-running pull requests. Zoom into them and point out what is keeping them from being merged. It could be a late review, unclear requirements, or multiple follow-on commits. Use the Review Workflow as a starting point to improve velocity.
The Sprints feature offers a high-level view of active sprints. It helps you visualize if your sprint is at risk. It identifies where team members could be over capacity and whether they are falling behind with work.
With data, you are able to see work patterns. You know when something seems wrong or when work progresses. You can be confident when you offer assistance. Bringing up a discussion in a meeting about something you see in the team’s data is simple. Data drives healthy and productive conversations. Being disconnected from what’s going on has a negative impact in communication.
Meetings help drive momentum and alignment within the team. They provide team members with a space to connect with others who work on similar projects or faced similar challenges before. Your stand-ups would be more productive if you would dig into the roadblocks and bottlenecks.
Improving remote work communication
Moving to a 100% remote work policy in such a short notice is not easy, especially when having communication issues. Git Analytics tools, such as Code Climate or GitPrime or Waydev help you by providing the visibility that engineering managers need to run more effective virtual meetings, improve productivity and velocity.