Lessons from Seven Years of Managing Async-First Remote Teams

An increasing number of teams are transitioning to remote, async-first ways of working. Async-first work brings a lot of positives, but it's not without challenges that can cause a loss of context and speed. This post outlines proven practices related to managing relationships with your reports, building a robust internal network, advocating for org-wide changes, and keeping your team's execution velocity high in a remote environment. Adopting them can help you thrive as a team lead in any async-first company.

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Book Recap: The User Experience Team of One by Leah Buley

If you want to do user research but don't know where to start and could use a collection of no-nonsense tools that focus on practicality instead of formal correctness, consider picking up this quick read.

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Cracking Personal Planning with Todoist

Even though I've worked on Todoist for several years as a developer and a product person, I've never really felt that I figured out how to use Todoist myself. There was too much friction and disorganization in my setup. I've fallen off the wagon many times over the years.

This year, for the first time, I feel like I've finally nailed it, and I'm here to share; hopefully, it will give you some valuable ideas for your Todoist usage.

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Poor Man's Product Research Tips

My team is responsible for developing a diverse array of integrations into other products. We don't use most of these products and lack the intuition to figure out how to connect them with our products in a helpful way. For that reason, user research has become indispensable to help us learn what integrations to develop and what shape they should take.

At the same time, our company as a whole is vision-led, without dedicated user research resources. If you want to make user research happen, you have to do a lot of the leg work, with only occasional help.

And that's exactly what we've been doing over the past few months. In this post, I'll share a few tidbits that I've learned that help with running lightweight user research efficiently on the side.

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Hard Work

The best way to grow professionally in remote leadership positions is to proactively take over hard work in adjacent domains from your peers or boss. You will expand your ability to execute complex cross-team initiatives and prepare for the next step in your career.

This is the idea that stuck with me the most from reading An Elegant Puzzle. Let's go deeper.

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Cookie-Based Redirection with Express.js

Cookie-based redirection can be used in some scenarios, such as redirects from marketing pages to the main web. Let's take a look at how to achieve it in NodeJS.

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Becoming a Native Remote Citizen

In this post, I'm trying to summarize the pitfalls of working from home without the remote-first mindset I've experienced.

I'm also adding a few tips that worked for me over the years. They helped me at various points of my remote journey. I hope others will find them useful as well!

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Book Recap: An Elegant Puzzle by Will Larson

[An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management](http://An Elegant Puzzle: Systems of Engineering Management) by Will Larson is an excellent entry into the growing collection of books by Stripe Press.

The book is a personal narrative of leading larger technical organizations. It presents the author's take on some of the most crucial challenges like organizational design, the hiring pipeline, career narratives, and product work.

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"Partnership Feeler" Meetings

Organizing productive meetings with clear-cut purpose, contained to your team and company is challenging enough.

Then there are the partnership feeler meetings.

The purpose of the partnership feeler meetings is to establish a personal connection with a potential partner company while brainstorming ideas for possible collaboration, ideally within thirty minutes. It's a tall order, especially for folks who are not born salesmen.

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Engaging Your Interviewer

We’ve been looking for Windows devs to help us work on our Todoist for Windows 10 app.

I want to share a few tips on how to have a good interview. They’re based on my interviews of around 50 people. If the tips feel basic, you’re probably already making a consistent strong impression during an interviews!

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Book Recap: Scrum, The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland

One of the strongest books I read this year. Well written and to the point, it dives deep into motivations behind the elements of Scrum.

While the book focuses on “pure” Scrum, many of its ideas are applicable beyond Scrum as well.

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Book Recap: High Output Management by Andy Grove

High Output Management is a collection of recipes for squeezing more performance out of your organization.

The output of managers is an output of organizational units under their control or influence. All focus should be on increasing team, not personal, performance.

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Book Recap: Work Rules! by Laszlo Bock

Work Rules! talks about the principles and practices applied by Google’s people ops team. It paints the picture of a data-driven, risk-seeking culture that’s willing to experiment and takes advantage of its scale by mining internal data to improve employees’ lives.

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Book Recap: Agile Project Management with Kanban by Eric Brechner

Overall, where Scrum feels like a structured approach with an eye on speed, Kanban feels like a flowing river. There’s no time-boxing. Instead, Kanban focuses on creating a clean and narrow channel for your work to flow though.

Let’s take a look at the Kanban process.

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