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Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Survival tricks and tools for remote developers

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Presented at PycCon 8, Florence 7 April 2017 – Remote working and “smart working” is very much in fashion these days, but what does it entail for the daily routing of a distributed development team? We will talk about tools, the disputed use of email, Skype, Slack but more specifically about time management, what you can expect from yourself and from other members of the remote team. Is your company “remote-friendly” or rather “remote-first”? When it’s time to spend a few days in physical proximity with your colleagues? We will share some examples out of the experience of a distributed team actively working with Python and Django on a daily basis, and show how you can make it all work, if you work on it.

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Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Survival tricks and tools for remote developers

  1. 1. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 Out of Sight, Out of Mind: 
 Survival tricks and tools for remote developers
 (especially Python and Django) Alessio Bragadini agile42 International @abragad
  2. 2. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 Who I am, my team • Web (backend) developer and assorted crafts • Working for agile42, an Agile training and coaching company: Europe, North America, South Africa • Web/IT team working in Berlin and distributed • We use Python and Django, and Agile methodologies • I work remotely from Milan, for this job and previous ones • How do I preserve my sanity?
  3. 3. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 The dream…
  4. 4. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 …the reality
  5. 5. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 Remote working is not easy…
  6. 6. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 “I think there’s a split between being remote- friendly — hiring some workers in a different city — and remote-first, meaning you build your development team around a workflow that embraces the concepts of remote work, whether or not your employees are remote.” – Zach @Holman / http://bit.ly/2nTomQb Remote-Friendly vs Remote-First
  7. 7. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 Can Agile help? •TDD (Test-Driven Development) •no code ownership •shared “visual backlog” 
 (boards etc.)
  8. 8. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.” Principles behind the Agile Manifesto
  9. 9. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 What is face-to-face? •Face-to-face means proximity but also truthfulness •We are now used to constant chat and group chats •We have Skype, WhatsApp, Hangout, Slack •This is 99% of face-to-face (body language still counts)
  10. 10. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 What is Information? •Discussion about the project •Discussion about code or design •What moves forward: commits, tasks •What moves backwards: bugs, regressions •Links, ideas, jokes, etc.
  11. 11. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 “By forcing yourself to use chat instead of meetings, by forcing yourself to use chatops to mercilessly automate every single manual action, you end up creating things faster, with more built-in context, and greater ability to share your knowledge across the organization.” – Zach @Holman / http://bit.ly/2nTomQb Remote-Friendly vs Remote-First
  12. 12. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 How you do it, technically • Shared code repository, possibly reachable from every location (GitHub, Bitbucket, but security is a factor) • Automated unit testing and integration testing • Continuous Integration • Continuous Deployment on a test server • Shared tool for task planning and big picture (epics, sprints, milestones, etc.) • All available online from any location • All feeding a communication channel
  13. 13. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 How you do it, personally • Agile ceremonies: daily standup, sprint planning, sprint review, retrospectives • Explain what you’re going to do, what you’ve done, offer advice • Establish “work hours” even if you are not in a proper office • Keep chat channel open during work hours • Meet face-to-time from time to time • Learn from companies that “do it”: 
 e.g. Automattic, Balsamiq
  14. 14. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017
  15. 15. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 Our team setup: Python and Django • Test-Driven Development (unittest, Selenium, visual tests) • Infrastructure as code • Jenkins for CI • GitHub/Bitbucket for shared git repositories • Slack channel with integrations with Jenkins, git • Agilo for Scrum(*) or Trello • Skype for Agile ceremonies including daily standup • Google docs etc.
  16. 16. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 Thank you! Contact us at
 www.agile42.com / @agile42 / @abragad Always looking for talents
  17. 17. agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2007 - 2015agile42 | The Agile Coaching Company www.agile42.com | All rights reserved. Copyright © 2017 Extra links Read: https://zachholman.com/posts/remote-first/ https://www.helpscout.net/blog/agile-remote-teams/ http://www.agile42.com/en/blog/2014/08/28/agile-team-co-location-remote/ https://whenihavetime.com/2014/07/08/10-lessons-from-4-years-working-remotely/ https://blog.balsamiq.com/remote-work/ Watch: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=thAvcDrf870 (Francesco Fullone, Italian) Follow: http://www.agile42.com/blog/ https://twitter.com/agile42 https://www.facebook.com/groups/lavoratori.in.remote/

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