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220 - Revisiting Remote Work
Episode 22019th September 2022 • Meta-Cast • Bob Galen & Josh Anderson
00:00:00 00:37:05

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We tackled remote agile teams, but that was back in the pre-pandemic days of 2018! After months of forced remote teams, some companies choose to remain fully remote. That's a slippery slope because the repercussions are still unknown.

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Transcripts

Speaker:

We have a juicy one folks.

Speaker:

Remote work.

Speaker:

We initially tackled this.

Speaker:

Back in November of 2018.

Speaker:

How many of you remember that episode?

Speaker:

I don't.

Speaker:

Don't worry about it though, because the world has changed

Speaker:

in case you didn't notice.

Speaker:

Remote became the norm.

Speaker:

In fact, remote became the only But.

Speaker:

After a few years.

Speaker:

Is remote still the best way.

Speaker:

Listen, as we dig in and figure out what the right answer is

Bob:

we're gonna

Bob:

Head first.

Bob:

Hey, Josh.

Bob:

Robert.

Bob:

What do you think about remote work?

Josh Anderson:

Oh boy.

Josh Anderson:

Don't get him, actually do get me started.

Josh Anderson:

does that mean I should start.

Josh Anderson:

You already did.

Josh Anderson:

I didn't really start.

Josh Anderson:

I said, don't get me started.

Josh Anderson:

And then, so now I'm starting.

Josh Anderson:

What

Bob:

do I have to do to get you to

):

That's a good question.

Josh Anderson:

So I have always been a.

Josh Anderson:

Together.

Josh Anderson:

Oh, I was gonna,

Bob:

I was going to start.

Bob:

I have always been a.

Bob:

I wanted to fill out.

Bob:

Fill in the blank.

Bob:

But I couldn't choose the word.

Bob:

There were so many options.

Bob:

So

Josh Anderson:

many restarting without the empty space that

Josh Anderson:

would allow Bob to jump in.

Josh Anderson:

I've always been a let's be together physically.

Josh Anderson:

As much as possible.

Josh Anderson:

That's always been how I've preferred because I've seen

Josh Anderson:

that being most beneficial.

Josh Anderson:

Yep.

Josh Anderson:

And as I was hiring different places, the question always

Josh Anderson:

came up remote work, remote.

Josh Anderson:

Where can I work from home?

Josh Anderson:

The state can work from home this

Josh Anderson:

And I was never really comfortable with Hey, let's all be remote.

Josh Anderson:

Then COVID happened.

Josh Anderson:

And there was no choice.

Josh Anderson:

There was no choice.

Bob:

Everyone had to

Josh Anderson:

go.

Josh Anderson:

And the company I was with, we went through what I call the honeymoon

Josh Anderson:

period where everything was better.

Josh Anderson:

this is new, this is exciting.

Josh Anderson:

Everybody's happy.

Josh Anderson:

everybody can do their thing and it just works and it was working.

Bob:

So this is, remind me step leader or.

Bob:

It's storable yeah.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

So storable and it was growing there.

Bob:

So you were hiring.

Bob:

Oh yeah, right?

Bob:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

We hired people that we never met and we

Josh Anderson:

didn't meet until months later,

Bob:

maybe a year later.

Bob:

So that's remote, like on steroids for my point of view is like we're growing,

Bob:

we've never met at people directly.

Bob:

But

Josh Anderson:

COVID forced that with so many people.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

And there are so many companies that.

Josh Anderson:

Have stuck with that.

Josh Anderson:

And they've said, Hey, this is who we are.

Josh Anderson:

This is how we're going to I think.

Josh Anderson:

My belief is that.

Josh Anderson:

The dollars one out there.

Josh Anderson:

the cost for the space and everything that goes in that those are just.

Bob:

Y channel advisor just got purchased.

Bob:

By someone, acquire.

Bob:

For someone, but they were saying they had downsized their space by 70%.

Bob:

Over COVID and I know where their space is.

Bob:

And I was like, oh, I didn't realize.

Bob:

So a lot of people.

Bob:

Have cashed in now.

Bob:

They're a microcosm, they're a tech firm.

Bob:

So it's easier to do that.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Then, like maybe, a chase or something like

Josh Anderson:

that.

Josh Anderson:

But.

Josh Anderson:

And there are people that have reinvested that money.

Josh Anderson:

So they've provided a stipend for employees to upfit their work from

Josh Anderson:

home space or whatever it might be.

Josh Anderson:

They are investing that money in other things to support the employees.

Josh Anderson:

So not everybody's gone Hey, I'm saving a couple million a month now.

Josh Anderson:

I'm just gonna throw it into the stock and everybody's happy, whatever it is.

Josh Anderson:

But yeah, there.

Josh Anderson:

There are some companies that are doing it well.

Josh Anderson:

So this isn't that everybody Like not everybody's evil.

Josh Anderson:

No, there's some really good.

Josh Anderson:

And storable was one of those.

Josh Anderson:

So they really invested in

Josh Anderson:

As.

Josh Anderson:

The effective and.

Josh Anderson:

Useful for everybody.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

Now that's where.

Josh Anderson:

Two and a half years later, I think What we started to see just as I was leaving.

Josh Anderson:

Double which was, Half a year, three quarters of a year Was

Josh Anderson:

everybody was like wearing down.

Josh Anderson:

There was fatigue.

Josh Anderson:

From it.

Josh Anderson:

And what we've started doing is getting teams physically together.

Josh Anderson:

And the impact that had on those groups was tremendous.

Josh Anderson:

They talked about how great it was to see and meet and just spend time with people.

Josh Anderson:

It wasn't all working time.

Josh Anderson:

A lot of it was just like, Hey, let's actually meet each other and

Josh Anderson:

talk and understand who you are because in the remote world, Every.

Josh Anderson:

Interaction as planned.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah, because there's a meeting and you can't have a casual talk.

Josh Anderson:

People try and create that with slack or other tools, but it's

Josh Anderson:

not as natural where you get up.

Josh Anderson:

And I bump into somebody, That just doesn't happen or

Josh Anderson:

I haven't seen it happen.

Josh Anderson:

So then evolution.

Josh Anderson:

For me is.

Josh Anderson:

As I was building spaces out at.

Josh Anderson:

Dude solutions.

Josh Anderson:

One of the things that I really strove for was to have a diverse

Josh Anderson:

set of physical working spaces that allowed each individual.

Josh Anderson:

To operate in the way that they were most comfortable.

Josh Anderson:

So there was the traditional bench seating with teams.

Josh Anderson:

So all of the teams had their own room and that's where they were.

Josh Anderson:

That's where they had their meetings.

Josh Anderson:

All the nooks and crannies.

Josh Anderson:

Randy's couches, large gathering places.

Josh Anderson:

You had some small rooms.

Josh Anderson:

yeah.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

Because most of the team work could happen in their team room.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

it just gave them a space that they didn't have to compete for.

Josh Anderson:

They didn't have to schedule it.

Josh Anderson:

It was always

Bob:

there.

Bob:

Ready for me to do a nice job of rolling whiteboards.

Bob:

Boards everywhere.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Everywhere.

Bob:

So you could like create partial separation yeah.

Josh Anderson:

But.

Josh Anderson:

Other spaces where people can choose to work.

Josh Anderson:

However they want.

Josh Anderson:

If you prefer a couch, if you prefer like a corner

Bob:

or whatever, we use that.

Bob:

That's all we did eye contact.

Bob:

We were quintessential that way.

Bob:

We.

Bob:

We had a pods.

Bob:

Lots of white rolling whiteboards.

Bob:

We had large rooms, small rooms, but then we have these informal spaces.

Bob:

Like my little couches and things for people to just like cluster

Bob:

around and then let people choose.

Bob:

So it was private space and public space.

Bob:

And I think.

Bob:

And allowed that collaboration.

Bob:

And so

Josh Anderson:

what I believe needs to happen now is that diversity

Josh Anderson:

has to cross the entire spectrum.

Josh Anderson:

Of not only the physical space.

Josh Anderson:

But that mental space of how do you balance.

Josh Anderson:

A.

Josh Anderson:

Operation and organization of a few hundred people.

Josh Anderson:

That you enable them to work.

Josh Anderson:

W whenever, wherever, however, they choose with a physical space,

Josh Anderson:

also allowing them to be at home when it makes sense for them to do

Josh Anderson:

What do you do when you want to get a team together?

Josh Anderson:

Things like that.

Josh Anderson:

I think that's the next evolution that needs to happen.

Josh Anderson:

I don't know if everybody's made that step, but that's where I see people.

Josh Anderson:

It appears to be all or nothing.

Josh Anderson:

Like we're all in the office or we're all not.

Josh Anderson:

And there are a handful of places that are doing the combo and.

Josh Anderson:

It's a pretty interesting.

Josh Anderson:

Variations

Bob:

on the combo.

Bob:

It's like you were saying.

Bob:

We get together with meetings.

Bob:

So like we have a gathering so we can do some relationships, but

Bob:

we're still mostly distributed.

Bob:

so there's variations on the hybrid.

Bob:

There's the occasional get together variation.

Bob:

And then there's the two days a week here, three days a week.

Bob:

There was some variation like that.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

There also seems to be camps of people.

Bob:

Like I, I listened to agile coaches and agile coaches are out there.

Bob:

They're coaching.

Bob:

They're there either inside companies and outside companies.

Bob:

So it's both.

Bob:

But they're really, they've gone all in on remote.

Bob:

and really, so some of them are really like, we want to be remote.

Bob:

It works effectively.

Bob:

You just have to force it.

Bob:

And the companies are bad who are trying to bring it back to hybrid.

Bob:

And it, and I actually see in the agile community, it's mostly,

Bob:

it's more that it's 80% of the conversations seem to be that.

Bob:

I sent you an email the other day, Marcus, I forget his last name

Bob:

from Germany and he was venting.

Bob:

He's I am so tired of not seeing people.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

So he was traveling like to he's in an outside consultant.

Bob:

So he was traveling two to 300 days a year.

Bob:

Over the course of a decade.

Bob:

And then in 2020 or something, 21, he traveled none.

Bob:

So he was, he went to zero.

Bob:

and his, he was seeing the other thing he was saying is I don't like it.

Bob:

But he was also alluding to performance impact.

Bob:

Like that, there's this, an over 50%.

Bob:

Performance impact to teams from his point of view, the scene teams get disengaged.

Bob:

They lose the relationship building side of things.

Bob:

And he was he, so he was the rare exception who was

Bob:

fighting for more FaceTime.

Bob:

I think gore.

Bob:

Maybe leaning into light hybrid.

Bob:

And more or more face-to-face.

Bob:

And

Josh Anderson:

what has happened is during.

Josh Anderson:

Very recent months after COVID.

Josh Anderson:

Hiring practices changed.

Josh Anderson:

And many companies went to we're opening up to the entire

Josh Anderson:

country slash world, correct.

Josh Anderson:

To be able to hire.

Josh Anderson:

So then that creates.

Josh Anderson:

That's hard to undo, correct?

Josh Anderson:

Yeah, because.

Josh Anderson:

One of the challenges is.

Josh Anderson:

Having a home office, can't be an advantage.

Josh Anderson:

For some people and a disadvantage for others where people get together

Josh Anderson:

and there's conversations that happen.

Josh Anderson:

They aren't included.

Josh Anderson:

The conferencing.

Josh Anderson:

Technology is lacking.

Josh Anderson:

There's one microphone around the table.

Josh Anderson:

The person that's not there.

Josh Anderson:

It's hard to hear.

Josh Anderson:

It's hard to interject.

Josh Anderson:

All of those things.

Josh Anderson:

So I'm very in line with Marcus there.

Josh Anderson:

I.

Josh Anderson:

I still believe.

Josh Anderson:

The value of in-person and together is much greater than all remote.

Josh Anderson:

Now that doesn't mean it used to be, if you rewind five, six years ago, People

Josh Anderson:

would ask me during the hiring process.

Josh Anderson:

Hey, can I work home work, work from home like two or three times a week?

Josh Anderson:

I was just like, no, that doesn't fit who we are.

Josh Anderson:

And I'm not sure where I stand Still, I'd have to work through

Josh Anderson:

that because I have very trusted.

Josh Anderson:

Coworkers from the past that I think would work well like that.

Josh Anderson:

But.

Josh Anderson:

You start walking in this balancing act, which you have to walk of best for

Josh Anderson:

the team and the best for the person.

Josh Anderson:

That's that's where the real challenge comes in and what's happened is it's all

Josh Anderson:

shifted to what's best for the person.

Josh Anderson:

What's best for that person individually.

Josh Anderson:

To do their thing.

Josh Anderson:

And while we need to respect honor and empower

Josh Anderson:

There's also a balance of we as a team.

Josh Anderson:

What's best for that.

Josh Anderson:

And it can't be, again, it can't be one of the other, you've

Josh Anderson:

got to find that balancing

Bob:

act.

Bob:

I was thinking about.

Bob:

At the agile conference, there was a company they're a sponsor Acklin avenue.

Bob:

And I know Jen fields, who is a leader there.

Bob:

And Ackman avenue.

Bob:

All of their development.

Bob:

So they're there at development and from in Nashville, And they offshore

Bob:

all of their development to clients.

Bob:

and it's in Honduras.

Bob:

I think most of their people were in Honduras.

Bob:

And so it's a quintessential now they've all been remote, right?

Bob:

that's the model that they've had.

Bob:

There's a cost.

Bob:

Benefit part of that as well.

Bob:

Like any other offshoring?

Bob:

And so it's not just bring people together.

Bob:

We there's, some middle ground that has to happen is what I'm trying to communicate.

Bob:

Yeah, there's an extension.

Bob:

you may have off shore.

Bob:

people.

Bob:

So how do you hand, how do you're not going to change that you're

Bob:

not going to force them to come in.

Bob:

But then the folks that you've hired, so you have off shore is

Bob:

a dynamic that has been ongoing.

Bob:

You have people like my daughter was hired remote.

Bob:

And what do you do?

Bob:

Do you force them to move you.

Bob:

You can, so you've let the Genia exactly.

Bob:

You've let the genie out of the bottle.

Bob:

So I think the next gen is it can't be back.

Bob:

It has to be forward.

Bob:

To something right.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah, there are so many companies that are now,

Josh Anderson:

they don't have a choice, but to

Bob:

be they reduce space, They reduce space or whatever it is.

Bob:

I'm aligned with you though.

Bob:

I think we've lost something.

Bob:

And I don't think we re I think we rationalized it

Bob:

in our heads because COVID.

Bob:

Forced us to, it wasn't possible to do one alternative.

Bob:

So it's, it was good enough.

Bob:

Like people got releases out the door.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

And teams seem to be able to do stuff.

Bob:

So I don't think people analyze back to Marcus's point.

Bob:

I think we've left like capacity.

Bob:

Or CRE to and-or creativity relationships on the table.

Bob:

I

Josh Anderson:

know I struggled with this and I wonder how many

Josh Anderson:

other people struggled with.

Josh Anderson:

General.

Josh Anderson:

Happiness and that feeling of.

Josh Anderson:

Reward for building something together.

Josh Anderson:

Correct.

Josh Anderson:

That's a thing that drives joy within me.

Josh Anderson:

And it was hard to get that same feeling and experience.

Josh Anderson:

In fact, I don't think I did.

Josh Anderson:

Again, to your point, we did things.

Josh Anderson:

We shipped things.

Josh Anderson:

But didn't feel the same for me.

Josh Anderson:

So I was one of the first that said, Hey, if we go back into the

Josh Anderson:

office, like that's a place where I know I'll be more effective.

Bob:

we've come up with part of the rationalization is like

Bob:

the cards you've seen the cards Like you're on mute and things.

Bob:

And we laugh about them.

Bob:

We have all of these tricks and triggers and facilitation

Bob:

techniques and murals, and mirros.

Bob:

and they've all filled in.

Bob:

So before COVID, the tooling was atrocious,

Bob:

I would say, so the tooling and the capabilities increased, but I don't

Bob:

think it's done the soft skills side.

Bob:

a little It hasn't been terrible.

Bob:

But it's undermined.

Bob:

I think

Josh Anderson:

to your point.

Josh Anderson:

We accepted.

Josh Anderson:

subpar solutions.

Josh Anderson:

As

Bob:

there was a sweet choice and a choice.

Bob:

And then

Josh Anderson:

now that's the bar.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

And we're okay with it.

Josh Anderson:

Whereas any.

Josh Anderson:

Any study that you see about communication and value of it, and face-to-face,

Josh Anderson:

as you get further apart, it's like, We've devalued that completely.

Josh Anderson:

the face-to-face stuff like, yeah, let's do it once a year.

Josh Anderson:

And what does that really give you as a company?

Josh Anderson:

So there are many companies that are stuck and are, might be scratching their head.

Josh Anderson:

How to unwind it.

Josh Anderson:

I don't know.

Bob:

I'll go back to back here.

Bob:

Ackland avenue, one of the things they did.

Bob:

Is the, they brought everyone from Honduras or a lot of people from Honduras

Bob:

up to Nashville for the conference.

Bob:

And they brought them there, like a week in advance.

Bob:

They rented a house.

Bob:

And, they collaborated and I met them.

Bob:

I had been doing some training of some folks down there.

Bob:

I've been doing some coaching and training with Acklin and

Bob:

it was cool to meet people.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

To see people's faces and it, and they didn't have to do that.

Bob:

And they have a habit of doing that a couple of times.

Bob:

So let's not diminish the hybrid.

Bob:

Face-to-face bring people together, even if it's once a

Bob:

year, that's better than just zoom.

Bob:

And the relationship building, we were hugging, so it wasn't just the work.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

It was having food together.

Bob:

Yeah, it was eating together.

Bob:

It was going out.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

To me, it's not about the work at that point.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

It's, it's about building some camaraderie and relationships

Bob:

and understanding each other.

Josh Anderson:

And so that gets down to the microwave approach.

Josh Anderson:

we're trying to microwave.

Josh Anderson:

Team togetherness team cohesion, all of those things and like anything.

Josh Anderson:

It's going to taste better in a Crock-Pot than, than in the microwave.

Josh Anderson:

I don't know anybody that would rather have a meal that could be

Bob:

cooked in a crocodile.

Bob:

But again, it's a step that's that sounds like diminishing it.

Bob:

Like for example, all these guys looked at me and they said, Bob, we

Bob:

didn't realize you were so handsome.

Bob:

And so good-looking.

Bob:

Was that a

Josh Anderson:

dream or wasn't?

Josh Anderson:

There was a dream.

Josh Anderson:

How many beers?

Josh Anderson:

Yeah, I consumed before

Bob:

that.

Bob:

so I you're right, but we can still survive.

Bob:

So there's the microwave food we can still do.

Bob:

Okay.

Bob:

I get that, but

Josh Anderson:

I don't want to survive.

Josh Anderson:

I don't want to have survive.

Josh Anderson:

As our threshold for

Bob:

success.

Bob:

what I'm trying to communicate.

Bob:

There are kick ass distributed teams.

Bob:

Okay.

Bob:

and in order to become kick-ass, they need proximity.

Bob:

And they probably come up with proximity rules, not just zoom rules

Bob:

and budgets and things like that.

Bob:

Over time.

Bob:

And maybe it's duration and maybe it's respecting duration and

Bob:

nutrition and things like that.

Bob:

Or whatever the secret sauce is.

Bob:

But I don't look at that as a compromise.

Bob:

I look at it.

Bob:

Those given that context.

Bob:

What do we do to make an investment so that the team becomes a and

Bob:

they're never going to be, they're going to be what they're going to

Bob:

be co located wherever they're at.

Bob:

And that helps.

Bob:

And then there, but they're also working remotely.

Bob:

So I think that's fine.

Bob:

That's part of hybrid.

Bob:

That's I wouldn't look down my nose and say that's worse than a

Bob:

co located team in Raleigh Durham.

Bob:

You would, I would, I

Josh Anderson:

think.

Josh Anderson:

Your likelihood.

Josh Anderson:

For success.

Josh Anderson:

Increases the more you have people around each other.

Josh Anderson:

Yes, it can work.

Josh Anderson:

Yes.

Josh Anderson:

It could work.

Josh Anderson:

I would bet that if I hired.

Josh Anderson:

Five people to a team that worked together physically in a space and hired five

Josh Anderson:

people that work together remotely.

Josh Anderson:

That.

Josh Anderson:

Out of the gate and over time.

Josh Anderson:

That togetherness of physical space would outpace the remote

Josh Anderson:

The value that's that, that, that happens just in the stand-up just in seeing

Josh Anderson:

somebody's face, seeing their reaction at Not having to say, Hey, can you put your

Bob:

camera on?

Bob:

So you would find myself defending, there were some variations, the

Bob:

remote, as long as we're investing heavily into and trying to be real.

Bob:

With FaceTime and things like that.

Bob:

But all things being well.

Bob:

Yeah, but diversity, I can have more diversity.

Bob:

Global diversity.

Bob:

Yeah, you're trading that off with local.

Bob:

So there's other trade offs.

Bob:

It's a dynamic environment.

Bob:

All things being equal.

Bob:

Same people.

Bob:

If I could hire exactly the identical folks.

Bob:

And I can't and they're local versus remote and they're clones of each other.

Bob:

Then I think I agree that you're going to get more cohesion.

Bob:

More collaboration, better, better products, right?

Bob:

More energy.

Bob:

From the local team.

Bob:

That's the essence of agile.

Bob:

You and I have argued that.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

The magic of an agile team was not a distributed agile team.

Josh Anderson:

What I fear has or is happening.

Josh Anderson:

Is that we have, and you said Earlier that we have accepted this new reality.

Josh Anderson:

And oh wow.

Josh Anderson:

Zoom got better and slack got better and yeah, it's better.

Josh Anderson:

But what's really better, what does.

Josh Anderson:

What does life look like where you aren't as dependent on

Josh Anderson:

those tools, enabling you to.

Josh Anderson:

Communicate more effectively just communicating in person.

Josh Anderson:

And I've always been that guy, but

Bob:

yes, but We can't shove the genie back in the bottle.

Bob:

So guys like you and I, we can have this bias that says this is best.

Bob:

That's cool.

Bob:

But there's going to be so many situations where folks don't have that.

Bob:

Are you calling me an old

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

and folks, so the new normal.

Bob:

Is, yes, Josh is right, but we're going to have to suck it up.

Bob:

And we're gonna have to figure out how to create high performing teams

Bob:

and distributed maybe with some secret sauce, recipe kinds of things.

Bob:

One I'm, I'm arguing.

Bob:

Is get together as often, get together more often.

Bob:

As a team.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

And that's historic.

Bob:

That's a stretch because a lot of folks don't want to pay that.

Bob:

The folks from Honduras, they had to get plaintiff.

Bob:

you're flying a group up for no other reason.

Bob:

they attended the conference together, et cetera.

Bob:

You're doing team building like that.

Bob:

I came, I don't even know.

Bob:

And it wasn't a large team.

Bob:

But the cost so that's a cost of doing business.

Bob:

And plan for that.

Bob:

And it's still not best.

Bob:

The best situation is face-to-face.

Bob:

I remember I wanted to share, Years ago, I worked in a distributed company.

Bob:

And I was a leader and there's this guy, Malcolm, I forget Malcolm Lee.

Bob:

Was in the UK.

Bob:

And when I was writing code there.

Bob:

So I grew up right.

Bob:

Writing code and I became a director and a VP or whatever, but I worked with Malcolm.

Bob:

And he and I worked together probably for eight years.

Bob:

And we never met.

Bob:

And the coolest thing.

Bob:

And we worked really well together.

Bob:

But at some point I flew to London.

Bob:

And I saw this guy.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

And he had this great and back then, we didn't even have We had

Bob:

cameras, but there It was all text message, email collaboration, right?

Bob:

Checking collaboration, stuff like that.

Bob:

And I saw him and he had long gray hair.

Bob:

And in London at the time they made him wear a suit.

Bob:

So he wore one suit.

Bob:

Malcolm had like every day I was there for two weeks and every

Bob:

day wear the same damn suit.

Bob:

I'm like, I would've never guessed that Malcolm.

Bob:

I had one suit.

Bob:

I would not that this is good.

Bob:

But we established such rapport.

Bob:

We went to the public few so I worked with him.

Bob:

And that face-to-face was met.

Bob:

So our relationship after the face to face was never this, it was never the same.

Bob:

It was.

Bob:

It was so much better.

Bob:

It was so much more respectful and I'm not trying to make an argument.

Bob:

I just, as we were talking, I'm thinking, you were like,

Bob:

oh, we have to be face-to-face.

Bob:

All the time yes.

Bob:

But just that one trip made a huge difference on our relationship.

Bob:

I agree

Josh Anderson:

completely.

Josh Anderson:

What I am saying is for me personally, and again, Don't always do what Josh wants to

Josh Anderson:

do, because we know he's a little crazy.

Josh Anderson:

I would always fight.

Bob:

So you respond to that.

Bob:

So you've been reflecting.

Bob:

In the, during this break.

Bob:

It doesn't take

Josh Anderson:

a lot.

Josh Anderson:

To

Bob:

know that.

Bob:

And you can learn something.

Bob:

This is a new improved Josh.

Bob:

Yeah, I.

Josh Anderson:

I will fight my butt off to have.

Josh Anderson:

Co-located Co-located it.

Josh Anderson:

I'm not saying all in one spot, but I find so I've had teams in China

Josh Anderson:

in Malaysia, in Eastern Europe.

Josh Anderson:

And.

Josh Anderson:

What the way I've shaped it is that's 18.

Josh Anderson:

That's a squad because they're going to be more effective

Josh Anderson:

working together than working

Bob:

across.

Bob:

Josh's team you're putting your money on the line.

Bob:

Yes.

Bob:

So this is the hypothetical question, right?

Bob:

So forget investments, you're building a team.

Bob:

Maybe.

Bob:

development team of 20.

Bob:

So starting out with a single scrum team, you're going to

Bob:

grow it to five scrum teams.

Bob:

In a few years or something.

Bob:

So you're growing a significant, how do you form them?

Bob:

What do you do?

Bob:

Is it local?

Bob:

Yes.

Bob:

It's out of your pocket.

Bob:

You're paying Absolutely.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

What if you can't hire quickly enough.

Josh Anderson:

I have not had that

Bob:

problem.

Bob:

What if, what do you do?

Bob:

Just be patient, which is an option.

Josh Anderson:

I wouldn't.

Josh Anderson:

Allow it.

Josh Anderson:

To get to

Bob:

that, but it did.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Okay.

Bob:

So you can go off shore.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

You can go remote or you can stick to your, it

Josh Anderson:

would depend on the technology that we're building with.

Josh Anderson:

what

Bob:

I see it depends.

Bob:

What do you do?

Josh Anderson:

It depends on what we're building.

Bob:

Yeah, I.

Bob:

Is it, this is a local sourcing.

Bob:

Or is, this is getting your asparagus locally.

Bob:

Or get our shipping it in.

Bob:

What do you do?

Josh Anderson:

I would get it locally.

Josh Anderson:

Okay.

Josh Anderson:

I would get it locally.

Josh Anderson:

And again, there's a reason why I live, where I live.

Josh Anderson:

Did I say asparagus?

Josh Anderson:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

I've had, I don't really like asparagus.

Bob:

Getting broccoli's worse.

Bob:

All right.

Bob:

I would do the same thing.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

I would do the same thing.

Bob:

I hands down.

Bob:

And it would be over my cold dead hands.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

And as we were accelerating the I be doing creative things.

Bob:

can I grow people locally?

Bob:

Establish relationships with local universities.

Bob:

Can I do insure internships in some way.

Josh Anderson:

And allow it to get to, we can't hire, right?

Josh Anderson:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

Ton of things you can

Bob:

do.

Bob:

There's a ton of things you could do because that's best

Bob:

Now, probably at some point.

Bob:

During an acquisition or a growth period.

Bob:

I would be overly challenged.

Bob:

Depending on where I'm at.

Bob:

If we were in Iowa, if we were in Ames, Iowa.

Bob:

And we were growing and we were growing at Pendo speeds.

Bob:

We would be challenged.

Bob:

We would probably move.

Bob:

That's the

Josh Anderson:

problem.

Josh Anderson:

The true, that's one of those things where you'd have to really look at that.

Josh Anderson:

and who you are as a company and what you believe in.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

It might've been holy crap, this exploded way faster.

Josh Anderson:

And there's also

Bob:

the efficiency play.

Bob:

I remember 37 signals.

Bob:

The, Dropbox, not Dropbox.

Bob:

There's a camp.

Bob:

cam backpack.

Bob:

No back.

Bob:

I know what you're talking The 37 signals guys.

Bob:

What's the, I forget the name of the tool that they created.

Bob:

Bootcamp.

Bob:

It is a bootcamp is not bootcamp.

Bob:

That's the, it's something.

Bob:

That's the The point is they stayed small.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

And they created a kick ass product.

Bob:

Absolutely.

Bob:

MailChimp.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

In Atlanta.

Bob:

stayed relatively small.

Bob:

So there was the, you can do really wonderful things with

Bob:

small teams and that's actually part of the leverage as well.

Bob:

So I'm there I'm you and I are right there.

Bob:

We're arguing.

Bob:

What do we, what's the dynamic in the real world, depending on your logistics

Bob:

or your dynamics, if you're growing.

Bob:

If you, and then as, as you've evolved through COVID yeah.

Bob:

What do you do?

Bob:

What do you have to do?

Josh Anderson:

What I'm saying is that I would fight my tail To get back to that.

Josh Anderson:

I admit.

Josh Anderson:

So

Bob:

you would look like your dog.

Bob:

Yes.

Josh Anderson:

My dog.

Josh Anderson:

My dog has a crop tail.

Josh Anderson:

I didn't do it with scissors.

Josh Anderson:

That's how she came from the breeder.

Josh Anderson:

I know.

Josh Anderson:

We had a, we have this make, I'm making sure the listeners know.

Josh Anderson:

I know, you Oh,

Bob:

that's true.

Bob:

Who knows So everyone, Josh has a Doberman.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

I heard her a little girl, a little baby river.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah, river is her name right?

Josh Anderson:

For all you nerds out

Bob:

there.

Bob:

After I met her for the first time today, everyone, this is a diversion clearly.

Bob:

And I would have never done this.

Bob:

This would have not.

Bob:

So I would have not had the same energy if this was over zoom.

Bob:

Yeah, At all.

Bob:

river was all over me.

Bob:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

And we always fight to be physically together to do this.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

We have tried remote.

Josh Anderson:

It's

Bob:

worked.

Bob:

It works, but it's not fast.

Bob:

it's not fast.

Bob:

it's not the best rapport.

Bob:

So I'm exactly with you.

Bob:

It's just the weird, how do we go forward?

Bob:

how do you go forward and maybe how do you bring, I think folks have

Bob:

gotten lazy or accept to accepting.

Bob:

Yeah, I think

Josh Anderson:

that's the general.

Josh Anderson:

Change that happened is that it shifted.

Josh Anderson:

And it became the norm and you didn't have a choice.

Josh Anderson:

And so as previous episodes, we, as a industry got pickled.

Josh Anderson:

In that, because that's what it was.

Josh Anderson:

There was no way out.

Josh Anderson:

We didn't know.

Josh Anderson:

When anything could happen.

Josh Anderson:

I remember it's storable.

Josh Anderson:

We're talking about, Hey, are we ever going to open up an office?

Josh Anderson:

I'm going to do we got to wait six more months and see what happens

Josh Anderson:

while this there's an outbreak here.

Josh Anderson:

Like we got to back off.

Josh Anderson:

We don't even want you guys getting together, physically,

Bob:

all of that stuff.

Bob:

Other thing where we're just talking about team performance.

Bob:

What about leading teams in this dynamic?

Bob:

What about leadership?

Bob:

So leadership face-to-face leadership is always a challenge.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

And we've talked historically in the Medi-Cal.

Bob:

Cast like 80% of the leaders suck.

Bob:

So excellent leadership is.

Bob:

Not a premium out in the world.

Bob:

Now take that equation.

Bob:

We're leaders are really struggling.

Bob:

And bring in what remote workers.

Bob:

And is it getting better or worse?

Bob:

I would argue.

Bob:

It's probably getting worse.

Bob:

Or it's more challenging and where it

Josh Anderson:

is more It's definitely more challenging because.

Josh Anderson:

Again, You have to schedule a conversation.

Josh Anderson:

Like a real, Like you have to grab 15 minutes with

Josh Anderson:

somebody instead of a meeting.

Josh Anderson:

I do all that.

Josh Anderson:

As opposed to you're walking back to your desks from stand up and you say, Hey,

Josh Anderson:

that thing you didn't stand up was great.

Josh Anderson:

I think

Bob:

feedback is, yeah, it's nearly impossible to give.

Bob:

In real time.

Bob:

Camera's off.

Bob:

A lot of folks, a lot of folks are like adamant about camera's off now.

Bob:

My daughter ran and speaks about someone or one of her scrum teams.

Bob:

Is has never turned his camera on.

Bob:

And he won't because I don't know, he goes shirtless or

Bob:

something through some physical

Bob:

That he's just no, I won't do it.

Bob:

There

Josh Anderson:

are people that I've worked with.

Josh Anderson:

Back in the physical world.

Josh Anderson:

Who did not want their face to be digitally recorded because

Josh Anderson:

they were security conscious.

Josh Anderson:

I had to honor that and say, Hey, I'm going to take a picture of the group.

Josh Anderson:

And he would just move to the side.

Josh Anderson:

Behind me or whatever.

Josh Anderson:

Cause I knew it was really important to him.

Josh Anderson:

so I never did that to him.

Josh Anderson:

But now.

Josh Anderson:

They're forced into a world where that's the only option.

Josh Anderson:

that puts them in a very uncomfortable

Bob:

spot.

Bob:

But as a leader, how do you read that?

Bob:

You can't read that person.

Bob:

Exactly.

Bob:

if you look at it, that takes away 80% of

Bob:

Like body language and expressions.

Bob:

They could be flipping me off.

Bob:

I don't know.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Or, and I, but that's true.

Bob:

you can't read the person.

Bob:

Or eye rolls or something.

Bob:

Yep.

Bob:

It's so we're poor.

Bob:

Is really hard for leaders to do, and we weren't good at it face to face.

Bob:

So we're even worse.

Bob:

So there's the team performance part of

Bob:

There's the leadership part of it.

Bob:

Listen to this guy.

Josh Anderson:

It's still has this ring around.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah, it was not like we haven't done 200 episodes.

Josh Anderson:

Moving it away further.

Bob:

Doesn't.

Bob:

no, it was vibrating.

Bob:

On the table.

Bob:

The table, this guy.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

So I apologize, Josh, and to all the listeners.

Bob:

But, you know what, so there's the team dynamics part.

Bob:

I would argue.

Bob:

sometimes we get too focused on product delivery.

Bob:

But the leadership dynamic part, the visioning.

Bob:

The product visioning, product owners, Jasmine storytelling, all of that stuff.

Bob:

Why are.

Bob:

Y sharing a why so that it resonates with the team.

Bob:

That's all.

Bob:

That's all effected by distributed dynamics as well.

Bob:

I think it's

Josh Anderson:

also more difficult to generate.

Josh Anderson:

Enthusiasm.

Josh Anderson:

In a remote world, it takes a real talent.

Josh Anderson:

To be able to get that, whereas you can feel it.

Josh Anderson:

When you're around people and that starts to build on

Bob:

itself, I think that's one of the, you just triggered something in me.

Bob:

I was talking about some coaches they're really adept at, in distributed models.

Bob:

And they don't want to go back there resisting even the idea of

Bob:

going back, it's all going forward.

Bob:

I think it's because they are the difference makers.

Bob:

So it's oh.

Bob:

So they are still these better facilitators and they're creating,

Bob:

they're not creating the same atmosphere that face-to-face has, but

Bob:

they're creating better than standard.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Collaboration.

Bob:

And bad, better than And they don't and they really are getting value

Bob:

out of their, what they bring to getting better, that, better than bad.

Bob:

And they are, they're good at that, but they've lost sight.

Bob:

These same folks solve the value of face to face.

Bob:

Okay.

Josh Anderson:

So we spent, He knows how many minutes?

Josh Anderson:

30 minutes railing on remote work and saying, Hey, we should go back.

Josh Anderson:

Cool.

Josh Anderson:

Great.

Josh Anderson:

That's easy for Bob and Josh to say, sitting here in North Carolina.

Josh Anderson:

Great.

Josh Anderson:

But what about, Mr or Mrs.

Josh Anderson:

Developer?

Josh Anderson:

That's in a company.

Josh Anderson:

And frustrated.

Josh Anderson:

Because they can't see each other or maybe they're super happy.

Josh Anderson:

I want to work remote, leave me alone, old I have to go back to the

Josh Anderson:

way you did it back in the stone age.

Josh Anderson:

Is there a takeaway?

Josh Anderson:

Is there an action we can give people or is it just, we don't like it.

Josh Anderson:

We think you should.

Josh Anderson:

Go back to the way it was and yesteryear.

Bob:

I think it's, I think it's Make it a priority.

Bob:

I think about Rhiannon.

Bob:

She made trips down here from New York to visit her scrum teams.

Bob:

She, when she did that, she went out socially with her scrum master group.

Bob:

Her tribe.

Bob:

And so it's, she could have skipped the trip.

Bob:

She could have not done the social interaction.

Bob:

She w and I'm just using it as an example.

Bob:

It's finding opportunities.

Bob:

I think it's the realization that face-to-face is We've lost it.

Bob:

We've lost that we rationalize.

Bob:

Probably a great percentage of people were like, this is

Bob:

the new normal get used to it.

Bob:

And it's as good as it gets.

Bob:

And in their hearts, if they really reexamined, it's no,

Bob:

it's not, it can be better.

Bob:

Face-to-face is better.

Bob:

So work hard.

Bob:

To find opportunities.

Bob:

So even something as simple as damn camera on.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Oh, okay.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Turn your damn camera on.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

And if you wrinkle your forehead, cause you don't like a conversation wrinkle

Bob:

your forehead, be real, be genuine.

Bob:

Communicate don't use the lags is, to get lazy.

Bob:

Oh, it wasn't.

Bob:

I couldn't get a word in edgewise.

Bob:

So then I didn't and I disagreed with that, but I get a word in edgewise.

Josh Anderson:

Yeah.

Josh Anderson:

I get called out all the time for the faces.

Josh Anderson:

I make.

Josh Anderson:

They say, oh, Josh just made a face.

Josh Anderson:

what's

Bob:

going on.

Bob:

Do you have to say.

Bob:

And don't give me any BS or, Take the time and have the freaking wherewithal

Bob:

to get your thoughts in there.

Josh Anderson:

So for everybody that's in this position.

Josh Anderson:

Engage as best as you can be as real as you can, that will drive success.

Bob:

Go into the office.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

I saw a CEO in this local area.

Bob:

He sent out something on LinkedIn.

Bob:

Doug Kaufman.

Bob:

So now our LinkedIn thing.

Bob:

I'm starting to see this turn where people are tired of this.

Bob:

And he's I just want to meet someone in a coworking.

Bob:

I think Doug is forming a company or between or whatever he is.

Bob:

And he sent out something that said, if you're tired of sitting at home, working.

Bob:

And you would like to go to, meet in a coffee shop or go to a coworking space.

Bob:

Let me know.

Bob:

And a bunch of people responded yeah.

Bob:

From different companies.

Josh Anderson:

I are going to meet up in a couple

Bob:

Over.

Bob:

Okay.

Bob:

So that's the, so there's an idea of, I know I'm missing out.

Bob:

I think that's the message I'd like to give to the listeners.

Bob:

Is realize that we're not best and we may never get back to that best,

Bob:

but work hard to get close to that.

Josh Anderson:

And then the other piece is we would slash our challenge leaders.

Josh Anderson:

Two.

Josh Anderson:

Not accept this norm.

Josh Anderson:

You don't have to, some of you might feel like.

Josh Anderson:

It's banked and I can't on bake this cake.

Josh Anderson:

Okay.

Josh Anderson:

I think you could, maybe cut it up and make it cupcakes.

Bob:

Do something like Anything you can do.

Bob:

To honor face-to-face collaboration.

Bob:

and again, what we're saying, it's back to the essence of the medic cast.

Bob:

It's back to agile basics.

Bob:

Get as close to that.

Bob:

I remember an episode we did.

Bob:

We talked about this.

Bob:

Last few years ago, and you were heartbroken about you were little,

Bob:

you were, you understood COVID.

Bob:

But you're like, I really.

Bob:

I worry that we're missing the magic, the secret sauce.

Bob:

So everyone realized that we're not in secret sauce spill anymore.

Josh Anderson:

And one thing, and this is something that we're

Josh Anderson:

trying to do that I'm working on personally with my own business.

Josh Anderson:

And then we, as the medic cast is you said back to agile basics, but that's not.

Josh Anderson:

Agile encourages it.

Josh Anderson:

But you don't have to be agile.

Josh Anderson:

You don't have to know you scrum to see value in being.

Josh Anderson:

In a room together with the people that you're working your tails off with?

Bob:

Absolutely.

Bob:

Yeah, absolutely.

Bob:

there's so many videos, there's a hackathons videos on the web and YouTube.

Bob:

Imani has some hackathon.

Bob:

They don't do it via zoom.

Bob:

This is pre COVID, but if you look, you want to convince

Bob:

yourself that as about look, look at some of these things, mobbing.

Bob:

You can do remote mobbing.

Bob:

It's not the same.

Bob:

Look at the energy in the room, I'm the hackathon.

Bob:

Look at the discussion.

Bob:

Look at the passion.

Bob:

Having someone like applaud your efforts, Yeah.

Bob:

Like the C I leader, seeing something.

Bob:

Demonstrated.

Bob:

I know you can demonstrate it as

Josh Anderson:

opposed to a clapping emoji.

Bob:

Exactly.

Bob:

Exactly.

Bob:

Exactly.

Bob:

yeah, we are in a new normal, get it.

Bob:

And I'm not forcing everyone, but man, it's worth being creative.

Bob:

To find opportunities.

Bob:

All right.

Josh Anderson:

I like that.

Josh Anderson:

so that's the challenge is.

Josh Anderson:

Be creative.

Josh Anderson:

Don't accept that this reality has to be the reality for the rest of your career.

Josh Anderson:

Correct.

Josh Anderson:

That there are many things that you can do.

Josh Anderson:

And.

Josh Anderson:

Things that no one's thought of.

Bob:

How about role Maybe a cherry on top of this is using cameras as an example.

Bob:

Right turn.

Bob:

So role model.

Bob:

So it's how do I do that with my team?

Bob:

Turn your damn camera You get up and meet someone in comfort

Bob:

coffee and invite someone you.

Bob:

So don't wait for some magical organizational thing.

Bob:

To happen.

Bob:

So we're talking about making steps.

Bob:

Every leader, everyone take action.

Bob:

And focus on what do I do to raise that bar?

Bob:

And role model, show don't whine.

Bob:

Don't negate it.

Bob:

Don't talk about the new normal.

Bob:

be a leader and show people what the stretches can be.

Bob:

Get out there and lead

Josh Anderson:

people.

Josh Anderson:

Let's go.

Josh Anderson:

The world needs it

Bob:

in this.

Bob:

Absolutely.

Bob:

The world needs it.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Are we done?

Bob:

I feel like the fork

Josh Anderson:

has been stopped.

Bob:

Yeah.

Bob:

Hey everyone from beautiful downtown.

Bob:

Or uptown.

Bob:

North Carolina.

Bob:

I'm Bob Galen.

Bob:

I'm Josh Anderson shake and bake.