Remote-team managers can learn a lot from open-source communities

My latest in Quartz…

It is truly a difficult and emotionally exhausting time to be a manager. Even those who are used to managing remotely are having to navigate the shifting expectations and chaos of disrupted lives and disrupted businesses.

Of course, some people deal with that level of disruption by trying to increase control. Surveillance software is becoming increasingly popular, and there are regularly suggestions like just having video on… all the time… as you work. The thought of this gives me nightmares. The amount of time I have spent staring into space while writing this article is bad enough; imagine if there were witnesses.

Instead of trying to reinvent management from first principles, we can turn to other areas with experience navigating distributed teams with individuals managing competing commitments. Open-source software communities—which also are remote communities connected by the internet—have long included the role of community managers. These are the people who tend to the health of the community, by maintaining communication, motivation, efficiency, and engagement. It’s a well-honed practice that remote managers can learn a lot from.

Continue reading…