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Setting Up A New Remote Team

Victor Neo

Interim Head of Engineering at The Carousell

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Problem

My company is based in Singapore. Last year, we set up our first offshore development center in Taiwan and hired about 15-20 engineers for the center. This was a new thing for us, as we had always worked exclusively in Singapore.

Actions taken

We worked to set up the whole team and institute clear team processes. To do this, we started by acknowledging that we weren't a remote-first company. We weren't going to claim that we were, but we still needed to ensure our remote team worked well.

"Despite trying to control the teams by giving them focus areas, we initially faced a lot of issues because they initially needed infrastructure and management support from Singapore. Also, communication would often only occur over Slack, so if someone had a question, they might not get a response until over an hour later."

People work more effectively when they have face-to-face time. Because of this, we started sending people from Taiwan to Singapore and from Singapore to Taiwan so they could work alongside one another. This also allowed people to experience the issues our Taiwanese team was facing, such as wi-fi issues and video conferencing problems, first-hand.

Lessons learned

If you want to have a remote team, station some of your most senior staff there for a few weeks so they can observe and report back about any issues the team is facing. Whatever problems the senior staff have there will also be issues that the remote team will have.


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Victor Neo

Interim Head of Engineering at The Carousell


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