Product management for remote teams by Rian van de Merwe "Product people - Product managers, product designers, UX designers, UX researchers, Business analysts, developers, makers & entrepreneurs August 08 2021 False ProductTank, Remote Working, Mind the Product Mind the Product Ltd 506 Product Management 2.024

Product management for remote teams by Rian van de Merwe

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In this ProductTank London talk, Rian van de Merwe, head of product at Wildbit explains how the challenges of working in remote teams can present opportunities and provide principles for how to work better together. His key points include:

  • Challenges of remote work
  • Opportunities
  • Principles to work better

Watch the video to see his talk in full, or read on for an overview of his key points.

Challenges of remote work

Rian explains how the thirty-person bootstrapped organization that is Wildbit had always been a remote company, with only a small local office. Even though they had always been remote, when the entire world shifted to remote work they still had their challenges.

For many companies engaging in remote work there can be a lack of serendipity and decisions have to happen in real time, yet oftentimes no one considers the opportunities that arise. He suggests that product managers should downplay the challenges they face and instead focus on the opportunities.

Opportunities

Remote work makes it easier to develop a rhythm of collaboration and focused time for a team because it’s easier to shut down distractions as a remote worker. The deep work part of that cycle can dramatically increase both the speed and quality of work that gets done.

Rian provided five principles to follow. Doing these at Wildbit improved how his team works whilst remote.

Don’t try to recreate the office experience

Optimize for asynchronous communication (and fully embrace it as the primary way of working- not an inferior substitute).

Default to trust

When people have the freedom to work when they are feeling their best, they do their best work, and they enjoy the work more.

Love your tools

If everyone hates the tools, the work will find a way to not get done. You’ll end up blaming ‘remote culture’ and hire an onside product manager when the problem lies with crappy tools

Embrace bottom-up planning

As a product manager, your job is way more an air traffic controller than it is a decider. Individual teams are the ones that decide how to solve a problem. However, within a team someone needs to be held accountable and that person is the product manager.

In-person time is still important

In-person time is extremely important for remote teams. But you don’t need it every day, and the reason you need it is not to get more work done.

The key takeaways from this talk are that remote work can provide you with several opportunities compared to working in an office but you need to focus on those opportunities rather than the challenges.

Enjoy more from ProductTank

ProductTanks are informal meetups, created by Mind the Product, to bring local product people together and to enable speakers to share amazing product insights. Today we have ProductTanks in more than 200 cities across the globe and there’s probably one near you.

Learn more about ProductTank – find your local meetup, explore more ProductTank content, see the latest ProductTank news, and discover ways to get involved!

In this ProductTank London talk, Rian van de Merwe, head of product at Wildbit explains how the challenges of working in remote teams can present opportunities and provide principles for how to work better together. His key points include:
  • Challenges of remote work
  • Opportunities
  • Principles to work better
Watch the video to see his talk in full, or read on for an overview of his key points.

Challenges of remote work

Rian explains how the thirty-person bootstrapped organization that is Wildbit had always been a remote company, with only a small local office. Even though they had always been remote, when the entire world shifted to remote work they still had their challenges. For many companies engaging in remote work there can be a lack of serendipity and decisions have to happen in real time, yet oftentimes no one considers the opportunities that arise. He suggests that product managers should downplay the challenges they face and instead focus on the opportunities.

Opportunities

Remote work makes it easier to develop a rhythm of collaboration and focused time for a team because it’s easier to shut down distractions as a remote worker. The deep work part of that cycle can dramatically increase both the speed and quality of work that gets done. Rian provided five principles to follow. Doing these at Wildbit improved how his team works whilst remote.

Don’t try to recreate the office experience

Optimize for asynchronous communication (and fully embrace it as the primary way of working- not an inferior substitute).

Default to trust

When people have the freedom to work when they are feeling their best, they do their best work, and they enjoy the work more.

Love your tools

If everyone hates the tools, the work will find a way to not get done. You’ll end up blaming ‘remote culture’ and hire an onside product manager when the problem lies with crappy tools

Embrace bottom-up planning

As a product manager, your job is way more an air traffic controller than it is a decider. Individual teams are the ones that decide how to solve a problem. However, within a team someone needs to be held accountable and that person is the product manager.

In-person time is still important

In-person time is extremely important for remote teams. But you don’t need it every day, and the reason you need it is not to get more work done. The key takeaways from this talk are that remote work can provide you with several opportunities compared to working in an office but you need to focus on those opportunities rather than the challenges.

Enjoy more from ProductTank

ProductTanks are informal meetups, created by Mind the Product, to bring local product people together and to enable speakers to share amazing product insights. Today we have ProductTanks in more than 200 cities across the globe and there’s probably one near you. Learn more about ProductTank – find your local meetup, explore more ProductTank content, see the latest ProductTank news, and discover ways to get involved!