April 2020 marked a paradigm shift in the way we worked as a company. The lockdown enforced us to be more remote aware and audible. This has been especially significant within our Engineering team which by and large was concentrated in Delhi, India except 4 members working out of the Bengaluru, India office.
The need to be remote aware was probably less compared to some of the other teams that constantly interacted with stakeholders in other parts of the world. One could always just walk up to somebody else’s desk and follow up on a pending PR review or merge within the office when needed.
This way of working, however, created a constant gap between the teams working out of Delhi and Bengaluru. Delayed/no responses on Slack were normal and acceptable. Internal meeting organizers sometimes forgot to factor in that there might be remote attendees and there might be a need to present content in a different format for benefit of those not in the room.
The nationwide lock-down has forced us to rethink the way we worked. As a team, we are much more remote aware. Slack has become the de-facto mode for communication. Daily catch-ups usually start on time and we seldom have to wait for attendees to physically be present. Requests for reviews and clarifications are met with relatively faster responses. Better use of Jira for communicating issue statuses is in place. Architecture diagrams no longer lie on whiteboards waiting to be erased – there are photographs of pen and paper drawings on Slack or sometimes even on Confluence.
How remote collaboration has impacted the overall productivity is yet to be ascertained. However, the new normal has forced us to adapt and utilize some of the tools that were at our disposal all along in a much better way.
Is there further room for improvement? YES! But, what is important is that we carry on most of these positive aspects in a post-lock-down era as well.
How has your company’s engineering team dealt with the post-lockdown normal? Do let us know in the comments below.