Telework Experience

When telework is done with the right tools and processes, it is far more efficient and effective than working on site.

Whether you are new to remote work or you have been doing it for years, I am confident that there is something we can do to reduce costs and increase the effectiveness of your organization through telework.

I have accumulated about 6 years of telework experience since graduating from Auburn University in 2008. I started working for Applied Data Trends as an entry level software engineer creating tools for a couple of the Army’s missile defense programs. After some years of experience and an SAIC acquisition, I eventually requested the ability to work remotely. I was the first person on our team at Redstone Arsenal to begin working remotely. And I am confident that the project’s software architect would speak well of my productivity.

As a remote software engineer, I no longer needed to commute to work. I didn’t need to worry about my appearance in the office. I could literally roll out of bed and begin working. A chat client like slack was not widely used. There was no screen sharing. There were no phone calls. Our email clients did not update in real time. I had to click refresh on my inbox many times throughout the day. I remember requesting the ability to have email notifications forwarded to my gmail so that I could know when to click refresh on my email client. We used version control and we used software for creating, assigning, and tracking tasks. I am sure that I missed out on a few valuable conversations that happened. But I also know that I missed out on many wasteful conversations.

I eventually decided to take a risk and dedicate myself full time on a joint venture that never had enough success to provide the financial security that I wanted when I became a father. I learned so much from this experience. Our team worked entirely remote. We were able to communicate in realtime with gmail chat, google hangouts, and phone calls. We would do screen recordings to share our screens and provide feedback to each other. I was able to improve on my telework knowledge as whole.

My latest job is the pinnacle of my telework experience. We have many teams of software engineers that are participating in ongoing calls for at least 6 hours per day where each person on the team takes turns sharing their screen. This technique has been reffered to as “mob programming” or “mobbing”. It is similar to “pair programming”. And I have learned how beneficial it can be for teams of people who regularly do planning, implementation, and review. I have seen how it can be used to accelerate learning processes.

Remote work functions at its best when everyone is doing it while using processes which help facilitate knowledge transfer. You don’t want that situation where many people are having important conversations in the office which are being missed by the people working remotely. You want your important conversations to be recorded and made available for everyone in the organization - including the people you haven’t hired yet.

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