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Remote Teams Management in Jira and ActivityTimeline

One of the most common questions nowadays is how to manage remote teams effectively during the outbreak of the COVID – 19 epidemic. According to The Ultimate List of Remote Work Statistics 18% of people around the world work remotely full-time and if we count others who work distantly from time to time this number will significantly increase. In the 21st century it’s completely normal to run virtual teams and many companies move into remote due to a number of advantageous reasons.

Winston Churchill once said: “Never let a good crisis go to waste”

which couldn’t describe a current situation better. While some focus solely on negativity, we want you to look at in different perspective and try something new.

How to make it work? The Internet and proper tools are our heroes, but  the question is how to use them in the right way. Jira in combination with ActivityTimeline and some other tools are powerful assistants for various teams.

The main factors of successful remote collaboration : 

  • Clear progress tracking
  • Communication
  • Shareable data
  • Accountability and responsibility

But there are also challenges of remote working:

  • Unstructured working process and fuzzy tasks
  • Incorrect workload which may lead to exhaustion
  • Neglecting the time zones
  • Irregular communication
  • Absence of the proper software for remote teams

These factors cause some difficulties but they’re certainly resolvable and we want to discuss some ways of making your remote collaboration effective.

How to Track Progress of Remote Teams? 

Jira was developed for transparent progress tracking. This robust platform gives a picture of the ongoing processes and projects, it’s quite useful for both tech and non – tech teams ( sales, marketing, etc.)

Key points:

  • A single collaboration space for vast amount of users
  • Allows to run multiple projects, create/assign/track tasks
  • Transparent reporting – possibility to set estimates, log time
  • Users can leave their comments and communicate directly on task

Unfortunately, Jira lacks some crucial features:

  • Clear view of what person is doing, especially when working on multiple projects
  • It doesn’t allow to book people for some potential projects/activities without Jira tasks, e.g. meetings, calls, flights etc.
  • Difficult to see actual Planned vs. Actual operations
  • Tasks cannot be splitted between multiple users

 

Actually it’s not a big thing, because a solution exists

ActivityTimeline is a Jira plugin which helps to get deeper insights and makes your planning activities enjoyable. You ask why? Let us show you:

1. It’s your personal planning calendar but with the more powerful functionality; there is no need to store information in various online calendars ( however, ActivityTimeline is compatible with external calendars like Outlook, Google and Apple)

2. Plugin is fully synchronized with Jira and allows to create Jira issues directly from the Main Dashboard

3. Timesheeting&Reports

4. Custom events – meetings, sick leaves and others

5. Personal Cabinet for your employees in order to make them concentrate on their own tasks and progress

6. Workload mode helps not to over/underload people, and worklog reports help to bill worked hours

7. And many more features for remote collaboration

Remote Communication Methods

People always want to be socially engaged, it’s embedded in our DNA, so why can’t we satisfy people’s needs and talk a little bit? Especially when talk is about work and our success.

Daily stand ups and chats 

You may try some of the best communication tools in addition to Jira :

  • Hangouts
  • Zoom
  • Microsoft Teams
  • Slack for corporate chatting: communicate with certain people or in group chats, create different channels and give specific permissions to all members

We should always take into account certain communication gap  – time zones. This is not a disaster but still you need to pay special attention to the organization of the communication process and make people comfortable about that.

Emails 

Emailing is a common practise and we cannot refuse that it’s important. The first thing we do when coming to work is checking emails.

We support the idea that emails should be used for some crucial moments:

  • updates about ongoing tasks and projects
  • some formal communication with your clients
  • notifications about important meetings or events.

Jira always sends notifications about every change in projects so you won’t miss anything, but sometimes it’s really annoying because you receive email even about things not concerning you.

If you are not keen on spending a couple of hours in a day sorting out tons of emails, you may try Email Digest for Jira, which will sort all of the Jira emails according to your preferences. Digest may be sent once or twice in a day in order not to disturb you and save precious time. 

File Sharing for Virtual Teams  

For small files and quick sharing we can choose Slack and  Emailing, if we have data for long – term storage, good options are Google Drive or Dropbox.

Google docs and Google Spreadsheets are used for documents and charts which can be shared among multiple people.

Confluence

But sticking to the Jira’s theme, we want to introduce another Atlassian’s product – Confluence. Here you can create whole spaces for various needs, add child pages to them and everything will be interconnected. Every change will be sent as a notification and a search console is quite useful when you have tons of data. In addition, there is a possibility to make these spaces and pages private or public, so you can use Confluence for permanent sharing with your clients.

Confluence gives a possibility to create charts, drop images and many other features which are available all in one place.

How to Monitor Remote Teams? 

Jira provides reporting features, people can log work and make the process clear.

ActivityTimeline gives not only reporting opportunities but also timesheets:

  • Timeline representation of worklogs
  • Detailed view of all the worklogs submitted by your team
  • Multi-team/Multi-projects reports
  • Various reports based on issues/ employees/projects and other key metrics

This feature is priceless and crucial for distant collaboration as it allows to see not even the current situation and progress, but to compare previous periods. Approve or disapprove timesheets, see how much time a person spent on the specific task, whether someone is overloaded or underloaded. Reports in AcitivtyTimeline are various and they compare data in the most suitable ways. All data can be exported to excel.

Benefits of Working from Home

We all know that in the end of the article author gives us pros & cons of the specific topic, but due to the pandemic situation in the world, we would like to list only positive sides of working remotely:

  • First of all, it’ really comfortable and good for people’s health, as they don’t contact with others on the streets or in public transport
  • Great economy, as people save time and money on transporting to the office, they also don’t waste money in cafes and eat homemade meals. Companies in the same time save money on the office rent and other connected services
  • Better concentration on work,  people don’t chat with each others during working days in the corridors or even in the workplace
  • Being closer to families

Your home is your safest place and quarantine is not a torture, try to interpret it as a push to new opportunities, change of lifestyle and possibility to try something that you’ve always wanted to do but had no time for that. Who knows, maybe after quarantine a number of remote employees will increase from 18% to 40% and companies will find it a more suitable cooperation type.

 

Take care and spend precious time with your family, it’s all that truly matters!

If you want to discover more about ActivityTimeline features schedule a demo with our professionals.



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