Working remotely, productively.

Here at Dashcam, we embrace remote work. Fully. We also love spending time together and brainstorming new ideas – it’s always more productive that way. When it comes to coding, however, being in your office of choice, whether at home or somewhere else, comes with a lot of benefits…just make sure your wifi doesn’t cut out during the video call!

Nothing can stop a geographically dispersed dev team from crushing bugs and shipping features, especially not being in a different timezone.

Sometimes, the timezone math gets tricky, or that latest code deployment unleashes a slew of new bugs, but we’ve battled our share of communication issues and know how to defeat them!

How we handle comms at Dashcam

When things go wrong, it’s usually due to a communication failure. Maybe a design doc got lost in the fog of multiple Slack channels. Perhaps a product update only reached half the team because the rest was asleep (timezones!!), or someone forgot to cc a team member on a Google Calendar invite…

Luckily, through many journeys together, we’ve unlocked communication secrets to keep all party members motivated to make remote!

Here are some tips

  • Keep your daily standup logs up to date so new members can jump right in with you when they are needed
  • Establish reliable communication in your favorite project management tool of choice
  • Overcommunicate changes rather than assume all already know
  • Listen closely when team members raise an issue about roadblocks along the path and try to communicate using a “threaded” mode to easy stay on-topic
  • Create tickets for any issue, big or small, so it won’t go unnoticed in Slack
  • Try to have at least 3 catch-ups a week with the majority of the team

Working remotely

Working remotely is awesome because you have maximum flexibility: you can work anywhere at any time. That’s right, if you feel like you want to take a nap after lunch, you can!

At Dashcam, we don’t have working hours – you set your own working hours. With asynchronous work and keeping meetings to a minimum this becomes easy. If you’re more productive at night, you can work at night. If you’re more productive in the morning, you can wake up as early as you want and work.

If you have family requirements, feel free to flex!

Tools that we can’t live without

Here are some tools that make working remotely so much more fun and efficient, for us:

Dashcam: We use Dashcam to share videos, not surprisingly, we share a lot of videos amongst ourselves!

Discord: This is where our community thrives, we try to give everyone a easy and simple way to communicate with us in an open-forum format!

Slack: We use this for internal comms, like most other companies, and a fair amount of bots inside channels that ping us for critical events or simply for informative reasons

Google Meetings: Our primary synchronous video communication platform

Jira: We use Jira to track certain types of issues, more details about Jira are available here

Height: Similarly we use height to track other tickets, we love this tool because it uses A.I. to make our life better!

Slab: We have a super-obsession with writing everything down, we take a lot of notes. Slab is the tool of choice for us because it synchronizes well with our other tools!

Challenges of working remotely

Remote work has both positives and negatives. One major challenge is staying connected and informed, despite tools like Slack. Sometimes a short phone call truly helps bring everyone up-to-speed!

To address this, we also have different channels in Slack where people share information based on the topic of the channel: these help us stay organized, if we’re talking about user growth, we have a channel for that, if we talk about engineering…we have a channel for that!

Remote work makes things less organic. That being said, we love hanging out in person: we often meet up in person to exchange ideas and brainstorm! Usually at a coffee shop or even a co-working area.

The biggest downside of working remotely is the loss of human connection/serendipity. That being said, as long as the team remains focused and small (we’re a small team even by start-up standards) we believe we can keep our heads on our shoulders with no problems!

In conclusion

United by our mission, driven by creativity, and emboldened by caffeine (or tea), no timezone can disrupt our zen of productivity.

With open communication and trust, we always aim to deliver every feature in the most bug-free way possible and on time.

At Dashcam, all team members are empowered by knowing they have as much freedom as we can give them!

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