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8 ways to become a better remote product manager
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One of the greatest things I’ve changed my mind on was on being a remote PM. I used to think it was impossible. I now know it can make you a better PM. But it's harder than co-located PM. Here’s what I recommend remote PMs to do:
1. Use async as much as possible. Rely more on asynchronous messaging than synchronous communication. Sync communication interrupts people, distracts them, and doesn’t optimise for the moment they’re most prepared to deal with your issue.
2. Make your communication short and sweet. If you’re successful in transitioning to async, keep your writing laser focused.
3. Make calls feel less transactional. When your team is remote, you’ll spend a lot of time on Zoom. Make these calls feel less transactional by bringing personal aspects into them, changing tempo and pace, and creatively adding some less-work stuff.
4. If you can, have specific co-located days. If people are 45min/1h away from each other, try having one day per week or per month together. If further away, do team off-sites every month/quarter.
5. Create your own rituals. Rituals are the basis of tribes. The more tribal your team is, the more they trust each other. Customising your rituals will make your team stick together.
6. Run collaborative sessions. Remote makes people more siloed. One way to fight this is to run group events, for example on MIRO, where everyone discusses problems and solutions in real time.
7. Never skip retros. When you’re far from your team, the retrospectives are a core ceremony to feel the pulse. Retros are more important than ever in a remote world.
8. Trust your team. Being far from one another makes you have less input to make decisions. But you need to fight this feeling and trust the team will bring the right data and decisions to the table.
Making remote product management work is the best way to make the future more evenly distributed across the world.