This is a transcript. For the full video, see Agile at human scale: Managing diverse remote teams: Pts. 1 & 2 - Tag1 TeamTalk #023-24.
Preston So: [00:00:00] Hello. And welcome back to Tag1 TeamTalks, our series on emerging web technologies and everything that revolves around them. Today we're going to be talking about managing diverse remote teams, and we're doing something a little bit special today. We're going to be having a little bit of a mini series, a four part series of Tag1 TeamTalks episodes.
[00:00:18] Today I'm joined by Janie Ledet who is based in Fort Collins, Colorado; project manager, scrum master at Tag1, volunteers for nonprofit organizations that teach girls to code and has a very long software engineering background. We're also joined today by Michael Meyers in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, managing director of Tag1.
[00:00:37] And of course your editor in chief, Preston So, with you today as your correspondent. So in this first part, let's go ahead and get to know Janie. So what brings you to the show today? What's, and, you know, why are you here joining us and sharing about the experiences that you've had managing diverse remote teams?
Janie Ledet: [00:00:55] Hi everybody. So really why I wanted to share today is because I want to share the way that we manage diverse and remote software development teams at Tag1, with the hope that it can be helpful for others to organize and lead their teams. The ideas I'll be sharing today aren't necessarily brand new, but I've been really successful at combining these existing methodologies in a unique way that has worked well for us. it's also important to me to encourage aspiring project managers, to, to teach them some of the things that I've learned and encourage them, as a role model, so that they can be great project managers too.
So some of the things that I want to talk about today are the things that really give us outstanding results here at Tag1. And I think, the major areas, categories that those fall under is, getting the right talent, making sure that everyone has meaningful work, nurturing human understanding and really putting people first. And that builds team cohesion, autonomy, flow for the developers, which is really important. And then fun. I guess to give a little bit of background for my personal story and what really defines me as a leader is, My family background. My great grandparents were immigrants. They had to do hard labor at low wages.
So, I come from, my parents are janitors and ministers. So I, they taught me a lot of strong work ethic and conviction and leadership as a service to others. So that's kind of what. Where I come from, I do a lot of volunteering. I'm a natural teacher. I would have been a teacher if I hadn't discovered that technology and software development paid so well, so it lured me away.
[00:03:19] But I guess, It's also important to me, because of the adversity that I've been through, when I'm selecting new staff numbers, I prefer people who demonstrate courage versus just someone who demonstrates confidence. And I really look for people who can, show me that they're choosing integrity or personal gain, in, in their backgrounds.
[00:03:45] So, Let's see, I guess the other thing I think of when I think of what makes a good project manager is, for me personally, I have kind of the Clifton Strengths finder themes of ideation and relater, and, ideation is around strategic thinking and really, observing and taking new ideas. And analyzing data and using those tools, help drive decision making processes.
[00:04:24] And then the relater piece I think is really important because, that's all around building relationships, making sure that everyone in the team, including our client side folks really feel like they're development partners, that we're all in this together, that we're humans using technology to solve human problems.
Preston So: [00:04:46] I think it's really interesting and fascinating that, you know, we've kicked off this episode with, you know, a look at this really interesting duality between, the, the mechanical, you know, gears that grind in software and the human personalities and the human individuals behind, all of the projects that we work on at Tag1.
[00:05:07] It's not just about what we produce. It's also about the people behind them. And, you know, being from a working class, low income on myself in terms of my family background, I definitely identify very closely with that. And I imagine that, you know, a lot of this duality between a software development and the people behind software development has really come about.
More and more in recent days and recent months with the kind of ongoing events. Obviously we had, you know, all of the pain and the, and the, and the grief surrounding the murder of George Floyd a couple of months ago, as well as of course the, the ongoing pandemic and how it's impacting us as humans, as well.
[00:05:50] So, I wanted to ask you a little bit about that. You know, in terms of your role as project manager and in terms of how you see project management, in the, in the, in the realm of remote work and especially, remotely working diverse teams, do you see these current events is having a bit of a positive effect on, on people who are now working remotely or, or who are, who are able to, work from home?
Janie Ledet: [00:06:14] Absolutely. so I think we're at a really important time, where things are ripe for revolution as far as rethinking the way we work. Where and when, and how we worked is the impact that we're having aligned with our intentions and really thinking through our priorities and our life goals.
[00:06:39] Taking the time to really examine our personal biases and, thinking about how am I benefiting at the expense of marginalized, marginalized, or vulnerable groups and what can I do to help them instead? Because, each of us can be the change individually, but it [00:07:00] takes a community working together, to help make systemic change.
[00:07:06] and then with regards to the COVID epidemic, I think a lot of people are now realizing companies already were realizing that working from home is great. But now that it's being done on a larger scale, it's demonstrated that not just for this particular crisis, but for future crises that it's really beneficial to have your workforce not be co-located but to be spread out.
[00:07:41] I think the other thing that it's helped us realize is, we can't be apathetic any longer because there's really been a light put on like some of the major systemic issues we were, you mentioned earlier that need to be fixed. So we can't just go back to normal and go back to the office like we used to, but we really can take this time to figure out how can we do better.
[00:08:07] And, and one of those ways that we at Tag 1 can really have an impact, is that the internet is changing. I think people really are connecting at a larger scale in more meaningful ways. people want a safer and more humane internet. So, it's up to us as technology leaders to figure out ways to implement that.
Preston So: [00:08:33] And, and, you know, one thing I do have to say is, is how much, how much I admire, you know, how, how you inject that compassion into your work and how you inject that, that sort of attention for the, the most marginalized multiply marginalized, vulnerable populations. you know, there was that article recently in the New York Times about how many disabled people are actually finding this new work from home, this new reality of remote work.
[00:08:59] To actually put them on real equal footing with their coworkers and colleagues in ways that weren't possible in the past, because of - thanks to things like Zoom, you know, you don't need to be going to the office. You don't need to necessarily have an ADA compliant ramp or things of that nature to be able to access your coworkers and colleagues and, I absolutely see so many threads of what you just mentioned in terms of a safer, more humane internet being born out in our working conditions and remote work as well. It's all part of how we created inclusive, working culture. Any last words that you wanted to share with, with us as we get to know you Janie today?
Janie Ledet: [00:09:40] I guess another thing that I hope is that, coming up as a Latina in a mostly, white male dominated field. I had a lot of struggle with imposter syndrome and I hope that others who are watching me can say, if she did it, I can do it too. And know that we're all just winging it. We're all figuring it out as we go. And if you have that desire to build relationships and bring people together, the technology pieces and learning the technology, is the easy part.
Preston So: [00:10:21] Absolutely humans are the hard part. People are, people are the hard part about it, software development, and I couldn't agree more with you, Janie. Well that is all the time we have for this first installment. Stay tuned on this playlist, whether you're watching on YouTube or somewhere else, make sure to stay tuned for the second installment of this very exciting miniseries with Janie Ledet, we're going to be talking in the next episode about why it pays to have an experienced project manager. And I'm sure we'll touch on some more of these topics. We're going to be sharing some resources out with this talk and remember, upload, subscribe, share it with your friends and family.
Check out our past talks at tag1.com/tagteamtalks as always feel free to email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you all and see you next time.