How to Communicate with Remote Teams, Establish Processes, and Attain Business Goals in Fintech
Expectations for and reality of software development during the coronavirus lockdown
It started unexpectedly, literary out of the blue. I never thought that the lockdown announced in the middle of March 2020 would last as long as it did, nobody did. But we are where we are.
For half a year, we were able to test theories and assumptions about the influences of remote work productivity—namely, we were destined to try them all because of the pandemic. Here is what we discovered to be the most efficient and maybe surprisingly unavailing when developing Fintech software remotely. In this article, I outline some of the remote work expectations that were not borne out in reality and how they influenced software delivery service.
Think of your neighbor first
For many years in a row, my company has been involved in accelerating financial services transformations through building expert software development teams and sharing their expertise with the industry. Fintech start-ups we worked with usually collaborated remotely with our teams, which allowed us to develop the skills and habits necessary to remain productive during the lockdown. Still, there was the realization that working with people who weren’t ready to go online and lacked the skills for that can be more challenging than switching to online yourself.
Actually, this means that during the lockdown, you were to think of your neighbor first, not of your own comfort and productivity; otherwise, it would be you who would struggle to get necessary data for your job or approval on your completed tasks. The same is true for companies within one industry—you may be extra prepared for the pandemic, especially if you have a fully distributed team; however, the other ecosystem players can drag the entire industry down when they struggle to adapt:
The most apparent change has been an increase in firms looking to increase the quality of their tools, which is good for us. That is somewhat countered by firms struggling with decision-making processes and being fearful of making large-scale change while their teams are remote. Overall, we’re seeing firms adjust more fully to a “new normal.” —Adrian Johnstone, Practifi
Sharing knowledge about how to adapt at difficult times is also a way to preserve customer loyalty and find new partners to help grow business during hard times. Fostering integrations, partnerships, and mutual collaboration is the key to accelerating financial services transformation.
Communication is king
Collaboration was pushed to its extreme limit during the crisis; we first thought it would reduce only unnecessary communications. In fact, there’s a ton of calls and conferences everyone should be present for in order to stay in line with the current situation on a project, but nobody is actually listening to them. When handled without skill, communications on a project can be quite frustrating for software engineers, says Actifi’s CTO Mark Nahlovsky:
[The work] is typically delayed by not having the right people on the initial phone calls to discuss the business purpose and the business process. In some cases, the business process is not being defined to a detailed enough level, thus forcing more meetings and leaving the software engineers frustrated that their time was wasted. —Mark Nahlovsky, Actifi
How to stay productive when receiving information as if looking through a keyhole? This is an open question still. Here you can find some ideas on how to share knowledge more effectively within your company.