Back to resources

Picking the Right Tool for a Remote Engineering Team

Remote
Team Processes

18 March, 2021

Laurent Parenteau
Laurent Parenteau

Director, Embedded Systems at Therma

Laurent Parenteau, VP of Engineering at Wellthon, discusses the best tools for a remote engineering team and how to choose the right ones for your team.

Problem

When you have a remote engineering team, the tools you use are really important since you can’t use an office as a band-aid. We had some issues with our project management tools, where some information didn’t reach the relevant people. We needed to fix that to improve our productivity.

Actions taken

My first action was to reach out to everyone involved and get more feedback on our current software engineering process, what’s working well and what isn’t. Using this information, I’ve clarified and fine-tuned our process and went searching for a new software product that would better fit that improved process.

Once we got that new software, we agreed to do a 1-month trial. Shorter than that wouldn’t have been enough to work out the kinks of the new tool. As expected, there were some bumps when we switched to it. Some team members wanted to cut the trial short, but I reminded everyone that our agreement was to try for 1 month, and we need to give this an honest attempt if we want to improve our productivity.

After the trial, I did a retrospective to gather everyone’s feedback. Some were positive, some were negative. It was about a 50/50 split between keeping this new tool vs. going back to our previous suite of tools. Neither options were compelling; we felt stuck.

Then I reviewed all the feedback - for the original suite of tools and the new tool - and realized that we actually had a third option available that was much better. It was actually possible to implement the new process (that we all preferred) using a subset of our old suite of tools (that most people preferred). So we could get the new, improved process AND use tools that the majority preferred AND reduce the number of tools we had to use. This was a win - win - win scenario.

Lessons learned

While some people would consider the trial a failure (because we spent 1 month trying a tool that we didn’t keep and had to go back), this was actually a success. The goal of trying new things is to learn and improve. That trial allowed us to discover a new way of working with our existing tools, which resulted in improved productivity. It wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

Discover Plato

Scale your coaching effort for your engineering and product teams
Develop yourself to become a stronger engineering / product leader


Related stories

The Not-So-Easy Guide on How to grow and develop an Amazing A-Team

5 December

Your Org Team may as well be a Sports team. Let's explore how this cohesive, multi-skilled team can be optimized for Great Group Playoff.

Alignment
Building A Team
Company Culture
Sharing The Vision
Embracing Failures
Team Processes
Jaroslav Pantsjoha

Jaroslav Pantsjoha

Google Cloud Practice lead at Contino

How to improve engagement and retention in remote engineering teams?

25 October

Mrunal Kapade, an Engineering leader, based in Silicon Valley, shares tips that helped reduce attrition in the remote engineering teams while leading multiple teams from startups to Fortune 500 companies.

Remote
Company Culture
Collaboration
Motivation
Team Processes
Mrunal Kapade

Mrunal Kapade

Director of Engineering at Inspire Energy

Team Development Framework for new managers

26 June

Individual Contributors are familiar with a technical development framework that helps them with building products. Managers, especially new managers can leverage a parallel framework to help them build their teams while drawing analogies from an already familiar framework.

Building A Team
Team Processes
New Manager
Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Viswa Mani Kiran Peddinti

Sr Engineering Manager at Instacart

Promoting Interdepartmental Teamwork for More Efficient Problem-Solving

13 June

Roland Fiala, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Productsup, raises an interesting issue about autonomy in teams: does it hinder collaboration opportunities that lead to better problem-solving? He shares his system for promoting teamwork in engineering departments.

Internal Communication
Collaboration
Roadmap
Team Processes
Cross-Functional Collaboration
Roland Fiala

Roland Fiala

Senior Vice President of Engineering at Usergems

How to Motivate Your Engineers to Grow in Their Careers

13 June

Roland Fiala, Senior Vice President of Engineering at Productsup, highlights the importance of soft skills and shares how he motivates his engineers to further their careers by focusing on personal growth.

Goal Setting
Different Skillsets
Handling Promotion
Personal Growth
Coaching / Training / Mentorship
Motivation
Team Processes
Career Path
Performance
Roland Fiala

Roland Fiala

Senior Vice President of Engineering at Usergems