#15 - Link Roundup, 8 May 2020
Getting your team to challenge your ideas; Remote meetings that make a difference; Being present in Zoom meetings; Growth
Winter/spring semester is here, and our team is onboarding (completely virtually) new student interns. For the student working most closely with me, we’ve been very careful to spell out very specific goals for the first month or so, and scheduling lots of one-on-one chats with the whole team. So far it seems to be working well, but it’s definitely slower than the usual onboarding process! I’ll report back how it goes - are you bringing on interns (or new hires) now? What approaches have you been taking?
On to the roundup:
How to Get Your Team to Challenge Your Ideas - Dave Bailey
We’ve talked before about the importance of having your team being comfortable to disagree with you and offer alternative suggestions. One thing I like here is two sets of suggestions, depending on whether you tend towards over- or under-assertiveness:
For the typically over-assertive
Adopt the question reflex.
Aim for balance in hearing everyone speak.
For the typically under-assertive
Learn some facilitation techniques/helpful phrass
Confusingly, I tend towards a bit of both — overassertive in group settings like meetings, and underassertive when speaking one-on-one with individual team members — so this breakdown that I can use contextually is helpful.
The Meetings and Rituals that Actually Make a Difference when Working Remotely - Sofia Quintero, EnjoyHQ
After two months of working remotely for many of us (at least in North America) it’s a good time to take stock and see if our new distributed team meetings are working well. Here’s a look at what one team does that’s been fully distributed since 2015:
Check-ins (online text “stand-up” report): ~2min daily
Standup: ~15 min team meeting daily (as much for the face time as the standup)
One-on-ones: they do 1 hour individual meetings monthly, which IMHO isn’t frequent enough
Retrospectives: 1 hour team meeting monthly - what went well/what went wrong
Weekly whole-team emails from the manager
My team (like a lot of ours, I think) works quite independently on quite different pieces of work, so I don’t know if team-wide retrospectives would be useful, and for the same reason I’m not sure about the checkins. On the other hand, I do annual “Christmas letters” looking over the year as a whole, and they seem well-liked; I wonder if something more frequent (maybe monthly, rather than weekly?) would be worth thinking about.
Managing your own career
Stop Zoning Out in Zoom Meetings - Sarah Gershman, HBR
Without the social cues of being near other people, it’s hard (especially after weeks of this!) to stay focussed on an hour-long virtual meting. In this article, Gershman gives fairly concrete advice - just give yourself something to do as part of the meeting. Make a plan ahead of time to contribute in a concrete way. With that plan, it’s much easier to stay engaged. She makes five specific suggestions:
Define your value beforehand
Acknowledge previous statements [i.e. - be listening!]
Connect the dots of others comments
Bring your attention back
Of course, if the meeting isn’t worth your focus and effort for that period, well then fair enough, but in that case should you even really be attending that meeting?
Growth - Fred Wilson
A VC describes growth he sees in several of his new technical leaders. He sees two different syndromes in them; it’s much easier for him to grow the “Deer in headlights” new leader as opposed to those suffering from the incorrect confidence of “I got this”.
Relatedly, if you find yourself managing a new team, this from Claire Lew is a good primer on getting ready for a first team meeting.
A quantum computing simulator for laptops or servers, that also works well with the cloud providers’ quantum computing systems, for if any of your reseachers or team members want to start playing around with small quantum circuits.
Yes I know, we’ve all already got our favourite Zoom backgrounds now, but are you sure you don’t want one from the BBC: a Dr Who’s TARDIS one for meeting with some technical staff; and maybe a Yes, Minister background for meeting with the VPR?
A nice description of database consistency models brought to you by the team that very much tries to break database consistency.
Good tutorial on SSH port forwarding for those of us - ok, me - who always has to think for a minute about whether to use -L or -R for a given use case.
Oh and speaking of SSH, OpenSSH 8.2 now “just works” with U2F/FIDO2 keys.