"You're the one with the accent": How to build an inclusive distributed team
Building a distributed team is hard. As you hire engineers in other locations, processes that used to work start to fall down: alignment suffers, code reviews slow down, teams start to block on decisions, and the only person who knows how to fix the bug is currently asleep!
Of course, there's a better way. To make a distributed team successful requires commitment and thoughtfulness. Changes in behaviour are required by all parties, not just those outside HQ, i.e. those "with the accent".
In this talk, I will share experiences from being Google Australia's first engineering hire, cofounding Twitter's NYC engineering office, lessons learned building a distributed team at my previous startup, Lexy, and early insights from Canva's approach to global teams. I will discuss strategies to empower and include your distributed team, from communication style to engineering process to hiring.
Outline/Structure of the Talk
- Why the HQ way of getting work done doesn't scale.
- Enabling asynchrony via trust and autonomy.
- Worked example: post-commit code review.
- How your hiring profile is affected by being distributed.
- The role of transparency and proactive communication.
- Tactics, tools and lessons learned.
After attending this talk, you should be equipped with principles and tactics for building an inclusive distributed engineering team and culture.
Engineering leaders looking to start or improve a distributed engineering team culture.