Track Teleworker Productivity

October 12, 2010

Chapter 5 – CodeSourcery: An Open Team In Action

Your manager probably worries about how to track your productivity. They worry you won’t work when nobody is watching you. Mark sees these types of productivity concerns as the “I want my people where I can see them” kind of mentality.

This isn’t an issue for CodeSourcery. Mark freely admits, “We can’t really tell if you are working a 14-hour day, an 18-hour day, or a 6-hour day.” Mark cares about the work his team produces, but he is also very careful about letting his team have a good work/life balance. Mark advises his team, “If you are working hard, then say you are working hard.” He encourages everyone to openly and honestly communicate their status so everyone can help each other be productive without becoming overloaded.

As managers, Mark and Nathan find that tracking productivity with a distributed team just isn’t a big issue. The engineers discuss their status in a weekly meeting, and they talk about their problems throughout the week. Each engineer is also expected to send a weekly status email detailing what they did during the last week and what they intend to do during the next week.

Mark is very clear with his team that he wants to hear, “this part has done well and this part is a little tough…” This involved style of communication makes it easy to assess the contributions of individuals and the progress of projects.

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