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5+ Best Practices for Remote Engineering Team Meetings

Best ways to manage remote engineering team meetings

Remote job has its own set of obstacles and, as we've seen, rewards. When a team is already working remotely, whether partially or entirely, it usually indicates that established timetables and communication mechanisms are in place. This makes it simpler to maintain an emphasis on remote communication and collaboration technologies in the long run.

Remote job also implies that the workday is not regulated by the same structures as it would be in an office. Remote teams are more self-organized and can work their own hours. Flexibility may aid in the promotion of attention, creativity, and efficiency. It does, however, take a purposeful and conscious effort to ensure that each team member feels appreciated and heard.

Running an effective team meeting might entail a lot of pre-meeting planning, pressure to stick to the agenda, and pressure to conclude the meeting on a positive note. Do you want to learn how to conduct successful remote meetings? Read on to adopt these strategies to ensure your remote meeting run most efficiently!

What exactly is an team meeting?

A remote team meeting is a gathering of all the personnel participating in a company's engineering department. This covers the many technical teams, such as data engineers, engineering managers, and product managers. The purpose of the team meeting is to discuss what each team has been working on to bring everyone up to speed on what's going on in the engineering department. Work-in-progress demos and technological issues encountered by team members will be explored during these meetings.

Why are Team Meetings Necessary?

One of the most crucial meetings that a firm may hold is a team meeting. These sessions are generally (or always in the case of distant situations) the sole opportunity for team members to interact and talk as a group. Team meetings are essential because they allow you to:

  • Inform team members on what is going on in the firm: This is crucial since it guarantees that everyone is up to date on what is going on in the firm and allows team members to catch up on what each department and team is up to.
  • Assist team members in bonding with one another: Aside from work, team meetings are an excellent time for team members to interact and get to know one another, something that remote working has made challenging!

Best Practices for a Successful team meeting

team meeting

Make an Agenda Ahead of Time

A meeting agenda is required to manage a successful meeting. So, what does a meeting agenda at an team meeting look like? Let us find out now.

  • Begin by rewarding on accomplishments: Remote work management leaders at Turing would suggest to devote 5 minutes at the start of each team meeting to thank other team members and share an engineering-related win from the previous week. This easy effort will improve your spirits and guarantee that your meeting starts on a good tone, establishing a welcome atmosphere.
  • Include a "Demos" subject on your agenda: Having time set aside for demos will allow team members to share what they have been working on. The experts also recommend having a few (typically three) team members give a presentation, as it is a fantastic opportunity for team members to learn from their colleagues and get a glims of what they are working on.
  • Make a note of "Discussion Topics" on your agenda: Adding a "Discussion Topics" item to your agenda will guarantee that time is allocated for things like management updates, comments on new procedures, fresh ideas or views, and team member queries.

Promote Queries and Collaboration

It's easy to blend into the background at a team meeting, hiding behind the voices of others. That, however, is not a constructive meeting practice. As a result, it is critical that you encourage your team members to ask questions and collaborate. Following is a great tip for engaging team members in conversation topics:

You may transmit your meeting agenda from Fellow to a specific Slack channel using Slack Workflow. This should be done ahead of time to provide team members time to add their own discussion topics, prepare for the meeting, and act as a reminder for team members to add to the agenda.

Meeting Responsibilities Should be Rotated

Since team meetings are frequently held on a weekly or biweekly basis, they might get monotonous. Rotating meeting roles is a fantastic solution to this problem since it ensures that each team member takes on a fresh role each time. The remote team meetings roles include:

  1. Organizer
  • Prepare the meeting timetable
  • Send invitations
  • Create and distribute a meeting agenda.
  1. Facilitator
  • Check to see if the agenda is being followed.
  • Make certain your psychological safety.
  1. Attendees
  • Be prepared to attend.
  • Go over the agenda before the meeting
  • Add to the schedule
  1. Notetaker
  • Examine the post-meeting report

It is also proposed that the duty of notetaker be rotated at each meeting. This ensures that each team member has an opportunity to hone their meeting management abilities and that no two meetings have the same duties. By rotating the notetaker, you ensure that everyone is present at the meeting.

Decisions and Upcoming Steps Should be Documented

During a meeting, most individuals are usually focused on sticking to the agenda and making sure everything works well. As a result, it is reasonable to anticipate that, with everything going on, no one will recall every decision taken.

It is critical to document choices and follow measures. Assigning someone (a notetaker) to record meeting minutes during the meeting will guarantee that your team members have something to look back on after the meeting. This will also serve as a recap of the meeting for team members who were unable to attend. It is critical that you share these minutes with your technical team as soon as possible so that they can begin their following actions.

Don't be Scared to Change the Agenda in Response to Feedback

Sticking to a single meeting agenda for each team meeting is an excellent method to develop a comfortable rhythm for how each meeting will operate. However, agendas can become out of date and obsolete over time. Changing it every now and again is a wonderful approach to guarantee that your meetings are fruitful.

It is recommended that you get feedback from your engineering team on how to enhance the remote team meetings agenda, especially as new team members join. This ensures that your meeting agenda is relevant to your team and that it is kept up to date with their recommendations.

Manage Expectations During Virtual Team Meetings

It might be difficult to run and moderate a remote team meeting! Your team will encounter awkward silences, misunderstandings, and disruptions. When you're hosting remote team meetings through Zoom or Google Hangouts, it's difficult to pick up on visual clues, especially when someone is sharing their screen.

The following are some of the most prevalent problems of remote team meetings:

  • Teammates [hesitate to speak out](https://www.turing.com/tips-and-tricks/how-to-speak-confidently-in-a-meeting @anaswara.r@turing.com) or participate in meetings because they expect others to speak for them (this isn't exclusive to remote teams, but the lack of visible cues has an impact on engagement).
  • Many others may be on mute and race to find the unmute button before saying anything, whether in disagreement or agreement. This may not appear to be much, but it might have a significant impact on whether or not someone joins in the dialogue.
  • People at the meeting get distracted by what is happening around them or by anything on their screen: they might be browsing the internet or having a virtual chat on the side while the discussion takes place. This isn't usually the case, but it does happen on occasion.

And here are some strategies for overcoming these obstacles:

  • Turn on your camera whenever feasible and urge your team colleagues to do the same. This personalizes everything and individuals are a lot more likely to pay attention and contribute.
  • Attempt to maintain the meeting's excitement and tempo. Recognize any pauses or silences by making a humorous joke about it: "It's so quiet, maybe my internet has gone down!" At this point, maybe, someone will speak out and say something.
  • If it is observed that someone is entirely uninterested in the discussion, try to follow up with them individually after the meeting.
  • Make a clear agenda and objective for group meetings so that everyone can come prepared and up to speed on what is going on.

Some Other Ways to Improve Remote Team Meetings

  • Always think if a meeting is even necessary before arranging team meetings across time zones. It's unlikely that a customer would say in real life (IRL), "I simply wish I had more meetings." On the other hand, it is always true – many people believe that group meetings, whether remote or in person, interfere with their real job, are dull and unproductive, and are far too often.
  • Make sessions shorter and arrange for distractions such as children, pets, spouses, or technological issues.
  • Take into account unusual meeting lengths. Meetings should be 50 minutes long instead of an hour, or 20 minutes instead of a half hour.
  • Reduce the number of meetings with a dozen or more people. Stop inviting everyone for the sake of it and start inviting just those who are eager to work on a specific job and use the meeting time to get something done.
  • Eliminate "admire the problem" sessions in which everyone gathers to discuss the problem but does nothing helpful. This resembles a meeting in which you describe the problem, remark on why it is a problem, acknowledge the fact that it is a problem, and then move on to the next topic.
  • Be aware that cultural variations are magnified in distant circumstances as a leader. For example, how long a certain culture is comfortable with quietness. If working from home continues for an extended period of time, executives, particularly in big multinational firms, you need to review the entire cross-cultural training paradigm.
  • Consider incorporating a ritual or ceremony into your remote team meetings, such as an entertaining way to kick off or close a remote team meeting. For example, everyone may start the discussion by describing what they view out their window on a daily basis. This works best for geographically dispersed teams, as one person may be staring at snow while another is looking at a palm tree. Any light-hearted manner to begin the discussion might help create the tone for the conversation and feedback you desire.
  • Given the present situation of the world, many remote team meetings will begin with everyone checking in to see how things are going. However, be careful of the exhaustion this might cause in particular areas. Check in to make sure everyone is fine.
  • It is your responsibility as a leader to ensure that everyone is heard and some voices do not overpower the introverts on your team. This is similar to in-person meetings, but it can be worsened on remote working channels.
  • Don't overlook the encouragement and inspiration that should continue to come from supervisors and peers, even for modest acts of achievement. Some teams celebrate a success by hosting a virtual party in which the manager calle everyone, send them a Starbucks gift coupon to acquire their favorite drink, and play music on the call so everyone could relax and decompress.
  • Depending on the ethos of your workplace, you may need to establish certain guidelines on video and what individuals should wear.

Tools Needed by Every Remote Team

If you work in technology, you're undoubtedly aware of which tools are most effective for your team. If you're looking for further inspiration, these are some recommendations for the tools:

  • Shared Calendar: This is the focal center of our organization. Making your calendars accessible to everyone is critical since it provides complete transparency about where (and with whom) your time is spent.
  • Chat Application: To communicate with one another, use Slack. You can create team channels and utilize the app for both business and social discussions.
  • Video Conferencing: Use Google Meet for remote team meetings and zoom for larger-group conversations, such as company-wide meetings and 'bonfire' talks.
  • Project Management Tool: Any job or project on which team members are engaged is represented in the project management application, and all decisions are logged there.

Final Thoughts

Running meetings for remote engineering teams is a learned skill that is well worth acquiring! While your organization may have taken advantage of the flexibility of a dispersed workforce to construct a team of superstars, none of it matters if they can't collaborate.

Choose the best communication methods and tactics, agree on meeting cycles, and remember to encourage individuals to keep working (and also know the limits of their authority). With this method, your team may avoid the issues of not being co-located while remaining productive.

Frequently Asked Questions

When a group of people who are distributed across several locations utilise video and audio to interact online, this is known as a remote meeting, also referred to as a virtual conference. Organizations with remote or hybrid teams frequently employ this kind of meeting.

Attendees of remote meetings should follow these recommendations to make sure they are making the most of their time and contributing effectively to the meeting: Avoid multitasking. When you're not speaking, be silent. Switch on your camera. Make sure you are equipped appropriately. Prepare your workplace in advance of the call. Speak slowly and with clarity.

The engineering team in software development is the team of programmers and managers in charge of creating the provided product or service from scratch. All of the sprints are run by them, and they are also responsible for developing any new or necessary features, upgrades, and fixes.

Here is a list of some amusing methods to spice up Zoom meetings. Make meetings brief. Make sure to balance talking with listening. Include interactive components. Employ visual aids Allow time for socialising. Almost like icebreakers. games for forming teams online. Challenges for remote team building.

Knowing and developing a relationship with your staff Establishing a shared team mission Defining north star measurements Mapping skills for steady and healthy growth Looking back and having open discussions

Virtual meetings can be of three primary types: Teleconference (only audio) video meeting (audio and video) Online conferencing (audio, video, and content-sharing)

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