This week I’m speaking at NDC London, on how you can deal with cultural divide, internal advocacy with distributed teams. This is something that is rather close to me. In my third role working for a distributed organisation it is a different way to work. You learn to work differently, communicate with clarity and appreciate timezones a whole lot more when you have team members spread across the globe.

Timezones are and cultural issues are factors people tend to forget, a flippant pass away remark in one language to some else can mean something entirely different. You learn to schedule sending sensitive information through the right medium so people get it in a timely manner. There are always ways to better improve our working environment and team productivity and also look at some of these suggestions for your teams.

  • Documentation– it cannot be underestimated how important clear up to date documentation is, if you’re in an office you can easily ask someone for help or guidance, working remotely removes that ability but you still need to be productive.

  • Designated communication channel for all team members to be on so you may not feel cut off and have the support of your team. The choice is up to you but pick one tool ideally for the entire company to use.

  • Meeting people as often as possible – I work from home but regularly invite people to my home who also work from home in other organisations. Together we work and share stories on what’s happening with new technology. I’d also encourage people to attend local meetups as a great way to keep up to date and also so you don’t feel cut off.

Advocating internally can be challenging, how do you know who will read the monthly report, where do you send it and how can you ensure people can find you to ask you for help. These are some of the discussion topics I’ll be raising at NDC London this week and if you do want to join the discussion please head over to our forums.

Posted by Laura Czajkowski, Developer Community Manager, Couchbase

Laura Czajkowski is the Snr. Developer Community Manager at Couchbase overseeing the community, our incentive programs, Experts and Champions group, meetups, and defining our presence at developer events. She’s also responsible for our monthly developer newsletter and engaging with our community in various forms.

Laura has been active in Open Source communities since 2000 and has been involved in various activities, including leading and organising conferences on software testing, documentation, and advocacy. Laura is an Open Source advocate and regular conference speaker who is passionate about getting people – everyone from primary school students to technology professionals – involved in Open Source communities both on IRC and in face-to-face discussions, she is easily found online at @czajkowski on twitter and on freenode.

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