Shawn Belling

Remotely Possible

Strategic Lessons and Tactical Best Practices for Remote Work

1st ed.
Shawn Belling
Fitchburg, WI, USA
ISBN 978-1-4842-7007-3e-ISBN 978-1-4842-7008-0
© Shawn Belling 2021
This work is subject to copyright. All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed.
The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc. in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use.
The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication. Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made. The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

This Apress imprint is published by the registered company APress Media, LLC part of Springer Nature.

The registered company address is: 1 New York Plaza, New York, NY 10004, U.S.A.

This book is dedicated to my wife, Jody. Thank you for your loving support and encouragement and for feeding me at my desk during writing and editing sessions.

This book is also dedicated to colleagues past and present with whom I have had the pleasure and privilege of working and learning remotely.

Introduction

If you are reading this, the odds are high that you spent most of 2020 and 2021 in a working environment that was quite different from what you were used to. If you had to pivot to a remote work scenario that was completely new to you, you perhaps found this jarring, empowering, interesting, or confusing. If you are a leader trying to figure out what the future of work holds now that everyone knows remote, distributed work models are a viable option, this book is for you.

I was fortunate. I had opportunities to work and lead remotely from 2005 to 2017 and even taught graduate courses that dealt with aspects of globally distributed remote teams and collaborations. When the Covid-19 pandemic emerged, I spoke to other organizations and leaders trying to navigate this scenario for the first time and offered what advice and assistance I could. I also had the idea of writing a book that would speak to leaders and organizations seeking to learn from the experience and perhaps permanently implement a remote model.

In this book, I draw upon my experiences working in various remote situations as a team member, a leader, and a professor. I have seen good and bad implementations of remote work, and I know what “good” looks like. I also draw upon examples of several organizations that have been highly successful with remote distributed work models as a core part of their overall operating model. I use examples from the many contemporary instances and lived experiences of companies and prominent people during the 2020–2021 timeframe during which a global remote work experiment took place.

I speak to specific practices, culture, and leadership and their place in enabling successful remote work. At the center of this book and all the thinking and guidance in it, the concept of work as something one does versus someplace one goes is critical. I recognize that not every profession or work scenario lends itself to remote or distributed situations – let’s get that out of the way. My hope and intent are to offer you practical ideas on implementing remote and distributed work options because you have had the experience yourself and now know that you will do well to make it a part of your organizational model to benefit your employees and customers.

Remotely Possible will introduce you to scenarios that predate the Internet, the Covid-19 pandemic, and speak to the fact that people who wanted to work together while separated by geography have always found ways to do so. You will read about specific examples from various organizations and learn about the concepts and practices you should consider as you embrace the possibility of transforming your workplace into a truly remote, distributed, potentially asynchronous, productive, and satisfying organization.

The book will combine best practices from experiential and academic perspectives with practical examples and case studies where appropriate.

Acknowledgments

I acknowledge the contributions of EDL Consulting and CloudCraze founder Bill Loumpouridis. I interviewed Bill for this book, and while I worked with him, his examples of company culture and working practices taught me what a successful remote distributed organization looks like. Bill also supported me in my career and provided me and others at EDL and CloudCraze with some of our careers’ most exciting and rewarding opportunities.

I also acknowledge the late Dr. Ginger Levin. As a professor and mentor, Dr. Levin encouraged me to pursue teaching, writing, and a doctorate. Dr. Levin’s course in leading remote teams was my first exposure to the formal techniques associated with remote work, and it is with respect and humility that I now teach and periodically revise the course that she created.

About the Author
Shawn Belling
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is a globally experienced technology executive and project management speaker and instructor. In a career spanning 30 years, he has held executive and leadership roles in higher education, software, consulting, bio-pharma, manufacturing, and regulatory compliance, and is currently the Chief Information Officer at a large regional technical college. He has over 15 years of experience leading or as part of remote teams and organizations and over a decade of experience teaching graduate-level courses on virtual and remote project team leadership.

As a member of the Project Management Institute, he has spoken regularly at conferences and seminars since 2008, including multiple presentations at PMI Global Conferences in the United States and APAC.

Shawn teaches at the University of Wisconsin–Madison in Engineering Professional Development and the Center for Professional and Executive Development, at the University of Wisconsin–Platteville in the Master of Science – Project Management program, and at the University of Southern California in the Master of Science – Project Management program.

Shawn earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from University of Wisconsin schools and is completing a doctorate at the University of the Cumberlands. Shawn is certified by PMI as a Project Management Professional and Agile Certified Practitioner, is a Certified Scrum Professional and Certified Scrum@Scale Practitioner, and is certified in Organizational Change Leadership from the University of Wisconsin–Platteville.

 
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