Friday 9 September 2022

What is async working and why should you be learning from it

Long before covid hit there were fully remote companies, some forced to be that way through being spread around the globe. They had to solve problems like how a team works together if they never had a time of the day when they can all interact through a meeting. These companies use what's known as asynchronous ways of working the main challenge being you probably won't get a reply from anyone quickly.

The practices focus around documentation first communication and empowering employees to do their job without the need for quick responses.

If you were working for a non-remote company when covid hit the cost of arranging a meeting was hugely reduced, we used to have limits like the number of rooms or the number of seats in a room. Now we could book a meeting to solve every problem and we did. In lots of companies, this is having a big impact, huge reductions in focus time! Also, the expectation of quick slack responses means constant interruptions further reducing focus time.

By looking at async ways of working we can really start to take advantage of being remote, reduce meeting fatigue and increase productivity. Some of the advantages are:

  • Empower employees and give them ownership
  • Reduce the pain of employees in different timezones
  • Increase focus time, often leading to higher productivity
  • Stress-reducing, zoom fatigue is real
  • Gives people time to think and research before answering
  • Increases the quality of documentation (this has many benefits)

A great example of how to supercharge your workflow with async practices is to expect everyone to comment and ask questions on tickets before your refinement sessions. If you're like me you'll find that refinement zoom calls often overrun and aren't very engaging. By setting the expectation that everyone has read the ticket, understood the problem, and suggested approaches before the meeting these meetings will be supercharged!

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