Handling distributed development sites
13 February, 2019
Especially in growing and larger companies the beauty of having development, product management and business in one place is simply not possible. Be it the lack of resources, an international growth path or simply cost reduction plans, you have to cope with distribution.
I would like to quickly explain several concepts:
**Extended work bench:**
A typical scenario a good of decade ago, where only the pure development capabilities (Dev, QA, DevOps, Agile) are located in one place. Most likely meetings takes place via video conferencing between the team and the project / product responsible. Ticketing systems such as JIRA remain the core of the alignment phase. This model will primarily work if the core of the development is known and little to none innovation is part of the backlog. Innovation center: A trendy pattern, especially in the recent 5 years. Usually major companies build a small cross functional (10-50 people) team, at best in one of the worldwide start-up centres (e.g. San Francisco, London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Barcelona, etc.). Those teams have a lot of freedom to experiment with new concepts outside of the corporate politics. However, the going to market speed is expected to be very high, so the people have to appreciate a start-up culture. Local branch: Especially after M&A activities, those distributed sites remain center of excellence for a particular asset and /or functionality, which was previously developed by the formerly acquired company. The benefit is clearly that expertise is already in place and business operations are considered to continue smooth.
There are sure way more, but based on my experience these are quite typical scenarios in the development domain. Regardless of which model some might prefer, there is one golden rule for all: Proximity eats strategy for breakfast! Alignment processes are not a necessary evil but rather vital to the entire success. Distribution often leads to local agendas and only a transparent and fair treatment between the site and the headquarter will mitigate a divergence of the company's strategy. Every business function which is missing on the site should make sure that there is at least one weekly sync. A physical presence is mandatory at least once per quarter.
Sameer Kalwani, Director of Product Management at Amazon Lab126, explains how to grow a team in the early startup phase by adding a few more product managers.
Director Product Management at Amazon Lab126
rabha Matta, Senior Product Manager at SquareTrade, recalls her recent remote onboarding and compares it to her past in-person onboarding experiences.
Senior Product Manager at Square Trade
Caroline Parnell, previously managed product teams at O2 and Vodafone, taps into her own experience of setting the first product innovation team and managing the process through a well-structured pipeline while collecting ideas coming from across the company.
Most recently Head of New Product Innovation at Previously O2 and Vodafone
Alessandro Pintaudi, Product Management Director at Payfit, dissects all the aspects of the hiring process that will enable you to hire a product person who will take your product to the next level.
Product Management Director at PayFit
Alessandro Pintaudi, Product Management Director at Payfit, shares some of his tips for setting up a new product team from scratch at a location other than the headquarters.
Product Management Director at PayFit
You're a great engineer.
Become a great engineering leader.
Plato (platohq.com) is the world's biggest mentorship platform for engineering managers & product managers. We've curated a community of mentors who are the tech industry's best engineering & product leaders from companies like Facebook, Lyft, Slack, Airbnb, Gusto, and more.