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Making Remote Work: Data Makes Remote Work

This is part 3 of a 4 part series on Making Remote Work.

Now you’ve got the online tools to improve your collaboration and productivity. Let’s put them to good use and get the results. When your team is distributed, especially across time zones, metrics become even more critical to measuring and managing your team performance. Without metrics to communicate progress, you will spend far too much time exchanging status updates, which is a waste of everyone’s time. 

Here are some metrics that will help with remote work:

  • OKRs. Objective / Key Results are a method of goal setting that ties together a target and the metric that will measure whether the goal was achieved. OKRs are a general best practice, but they become even more important with remote work since you often won’t see a project being completed in person so you need to rely on the OKR to tell you what is going well. 
  • Delivery confidence. If you need to spend time tracking down members of your team to find out what projects are on schedule, remote will make your life hell. Instead, you need everyone to communicate not just their delivery timeline, but their confidence as well. If a project has a 90% confidence of on-time delivery that is great, but if it’s 50% then you might need to pay more attention. Delivery confidence is often subjective, but it does measure the confidence your team has which is a useful measure on its own. 
  • Response times. It’s easy to develop bad habits when working remotely since it’s harder to lead by example to set good habits. As a result, you want to monitor for the development of bad habits, and the most common is a slow increase in response times from your team. Customers don’t care if you are remote, they just see how long it takes you to respond to them and you want to ensure standards on responsiveness regardless of where your team is based. 

Remember, any operational metrics are useless without guidance about how we expect them to change in the future. Knowing that a project is on schedule right now is not helpful unless we have confidence that it will stay on schedule in the future! Build a habit of talking about today and a month from now during every discussion of metrics. 

In our next post, we will discuss your most important asset – your people.

The Making Remote Work series