Building & Managing a Distributed Team with Juan Pablo Buritica

Juan Pablo Buritica

Juan Pablo Buritica is the VP of Engineering at splice.com where he leads a distributed engineering team throughout the US and Latin America that is building the creative hub for the modern musician.

Juan Pablo has built effective software engineering organizations by emphasizing Open Source software values, technical excellence, trust, and empathy. He has organized more than 10 software engineering conferences in the US & Latin-America, founded multiple JavaScript meetups, and led the growth of Colombia’s JavaScript community, the largest Spanish-speaking JS community in the world with more than 7,000 members.

In today’s episode we discuss building and managing distributed teams.

If they have participated in open source then that gives them insight into distributed workClick To Tweet

Contact Information:

https://buriti.ca

https://splice.com

Github

Twitter @buritica

Show Notes:

Slack

Clubhouse Project Management

When your manager isn’t supporting you, build a Voltron

NEW(-ISH) ENG-MANAGERS SLACK

The Manager’s Path: A Guide for Tech Leaders Navigating Growth and Change

The Phoenix Project: A Novel About IT, DevOps, and Helping Your Business Win

 

Read Full Transcript

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:00] Good afternoon Juan Pablo welcome to the show.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[0:04] Good afternoon Christian how you doing.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:06] I’m doing excellent today and thank you very much for joining me and speaking of that one Pablo where are you joining me from today.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[0:13] I am joining you from lower Manhattan.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:17] Oh okay great so I was actually thinking that you actually might be from I think you’re at your Hometown Inn in Columbia but you’re actually New York.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[0:24] I live in New York I was born in in Bogota but I’ve lived in New York for about 38 years in April.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:33] Oh perfect yeah what what part of New York you from your reliving it right now.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[0:36] Lower Manhattan right around City Hall.

Christian Mccarrick:
[0:40] Oh perfect I just had my podcast guest last week was with someone from Brooklyn and I actually grew up in in New York so I actually like to,
to talk to people who kind of come from my hometown so that’s always great.

[0:53] What are the things I want I want to talk about today is just let’s get started little bit with your background and how you got to be where you are today.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[1:00] So the story I like to tell usually is.
I am not a former formally trained engineer I used to be a chef before I got into programming.
Before that I was studying pharmaceutical chemistry so I’ve been a little bit all over the place my past into programming,
was thanks to my space I had a I had a hardcore punk band that needed a MySpace page.
So I just basically going around shopping HTML and CSS and styles and stuff and that got me into.
Wanting to understand a little bit more of this and then further jumping into web development little by little.
I found myself around 2008 the restaurant I close that I worked at closed.
In the need of a job and I had the opportunity to build a website for someone so I was able to revisit a little bit of East the skills I built a Joomla website for an aviation.
Company and slowly got into the into the industry this was some other time I was living in in Fort Lauderdale in Florida.
And discover that there was such thing as a tech industry I I made the move to New York try to chase a little bit of a of a of a community.

[2:36] Found myself you’re working for startups I’ve worked like a New York of work for.
For startups now this is the fourth company I’ve been working and now I made the the jump into management.
Fairly quickly without knowing what I was doing.

Christian Mccarrick:
[2:56] Like most of us.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[2:58] Yeah I joined I found an internship opportunity on,
Craigslist funny enough about becoming the web developer for for Comics company at the time was called panels and I joined 3 months later we raised a little bit of money,
they made me an offer to join them full-time and I became the first full-time higher on the engineering side in.
Ended building a team about 12 Engineers that built a mobile app on Android and iOS and the API and all over the place then,
then I jumped to other companies in in slowly,
should have really embraced management when I kept finding myself in positions of leadership and you can say I’ve been like.
I’ve been properly into management for the past 5 years.
Yeah so now I’ve been a little bit under your habits place where I lead a team of now 35 Engineers we were seven,
nekros aware distributed team in the United States and in,
Columbia and it’s been it’s been pretty fun.

Christian Mccarrick:
[4:17] And you know I kind of looked at your your company slice right now and you know I’m really huge fan actually don’t use the product but.
I don’t know if any of my listeners know but I’m actually I’m in a band myself and if not it’s not a real serious want to text you Dad band but I play the drums.
But definitely into all things kind of audio and music and everything so you know whenever you can find something that.
And even if you had a punk back and background I think whatever you can find a job that’s heard of batteries you’re you’re you’re sort of real interest and and then with your your day job I think that’s always an awesome thing.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[4:55] Yeah it’s really cool too I like saying that music got me into web programming and web programming got me a job now and in the music technology industry so it’s it’s going around it’s it’s it’s pretty fun.

Christian Mccarrick:
[5:09] Full circle that that’s pretty awesome so what do you think I also asked to so my guess too is you’ve been in management for a bit there probably some some.
Dicey things in the early years of you being a manager what were some of the things that may be staying out to you is when the bigger mistakes you might have made with her specific or general.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[5:28] I think the first mistake that I,
strongly remember is when I made the right after I left this comic startup I joined another company in in New York another young startup and I joined us it as an engineer,
I remember saying very clearly hey I don’t want to do any dealerships off I don’t do want to do any management I want to write code and leave,
very quickly I found myself jumping into into leadership again and I was fortunately or unfortunately promoted,
to run the team,
and within that week when I was officially given the responsibility of of leading team I remember that I committed the team to a deadline without talking to the team.

Christian Mccarrick:
[6:13] Oh yeah.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[6:14] Which is a classic right so that’s that’s probably the one of the clearest mistakes I have.

Christian Mccarrick:
[6:23] And you know for that I mean. That is always a big one I think right you know one thinking you know everything and committing to it without possibly know everything and then having a potential Mutiny on your hands too and you should deliver that message to the team.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[6:35] Yeah it was it was surprising cuz probably 2 weeks earlier I was saying to myself like what’s going on with people how are we even thinking that we’re going to achieve this in time.
And a week happened and I and I was doing this to my team so it was it was I was fortunate to have.
A very good friend of mine who was in the team call me though who is also from Colombia Visa like hate your you making this mistake and I don’t know why,
why you’re going in this direction but it’s probably a good idea to talk to the team about the deadline are you just asked.
But you just basically committed everyone to do is like a lot of sense.

Christian Mccarrick:
[7:18] At with your team now you mentioned that your current team has about 30 something Engineers you grew it from about 7 what’s the distribution of that team right now cuz I think one of the things,
that we’re just going to spend a lot of time talking about Miss podcast is about building and managing distributed teams.
So what’s the makeup of your team now with your New York but where is where the rest of the team members look.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[7:42] So when I joined our CTO Matt a good friend of mine he is in LA and there were.
If I’m not wrong five Engineers with him in LA and then.
Another engineer in Seattle I believe there was.
Part-time person in Columbia as well so from there I joined and.
At least five people for my last team,
Cameron with me so used to the Randy engineering team at a company called ride I believe you interviewed Kate Hudson she she used to work to cheer on mobile at right.
And so a few of the people who are not on. Cheer team joined along they are mostly in Colombia.
So I think around 11 by the end of last year where have the team or at least a little bit.
Under half of the team was in the west coast and the rest where.
East Coast because I can’t Columbia time zone as I supposed to say the same time-zone as as as they are.
That was the main constraint now after that.
We removed any constraint around hiring in in anything around.
Geographic locations we restricted around time zone so right now we have people.

[9:21] In New York a few people in New York some come to the office that we have in our product and design and.
Business headquarters is in New York City we have a nephew in the nearest route to come to the office I think there’s three at the moment and there’s another.
Three or four including engineering managers who live in New York but don’t work from your from from the office.
We have someone in Lewisville.
Another engineer we have people in the Pacific Northwest so.
Portland Seattle we have Davis California we have Santa Monica La I know we have people in Oakland as well.
Pandan in Columbia.

Christian Mccarrick:
[10:25] And your two main offices were people come into the OR is is that strictly to is at Los Angeles and then New York or are there other areas where people kind of get together as well.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[10:36] We have small small office in in La is it all but we’re exploring expansion but yes so we have two main headquarters this is.
Mostly due to the nature nature of our Founders Steve who’s our CEO is from New York and in and,
established an office in New York and found her salvation office is in LA.
Built a hundred percent disability income to officers but they’re not required and we’re not set up that way.

Christian Mccarrick:
[11:11] Okay so the one constraint you did put on is that there in like this three times own sort of sort of bookends is that right.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[11:20] Yeah some overlap at least 5 hour overlap from from coast to coast we have another engineer on G4 is a nomad she is.
She travels all over the world but she is expected to work closer to.
Eastern time zone at least that’s that’s one of the experiments we have I do try to at least for now constrain considering time zones.

Christian Mccarrick:
[11:49] Okay and I know previously I know what the quiz is you mention I interviewed Kate and she works at automatic now in an automatic to is I think it’s also a hundred percent distributed I never think that anybody like in a common office.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[12:03] Yeah I think they just sold off as they had San Francisco I remember reading something about you.

Christian Mccarrick:
[12:08] Yeah so when did you come to your current company with sort of already believing in the,
do you know hey it should work for us can actually work out pretty well and it’s good or did you get more of that from your from the founders and being them distributed on each Coast.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[12:24] So is part of the things that I was looking on the the team lead at.
A bride of where we’re actually.
Try to convince Kate to jump in the management was was the first a hundred percent is to be a team that I built one of the fun things about working with Kate was she agreed to come work from Colombia,
and run the mobile team from there which is was having was trying to find some good Management in South America,
better lined value Swiss with mine that was one of the one of the reasons that we ended up working together but to answer your question.
When I was interviewing for the for this for this role and I was as I was sunsetting ride,
I was specifically looking for people who value distributed work I wasn’t looking for a hundred percent of stupid over there there was some,
I believe that once you have a person out of the office you’re a distributor company but but I would definitely was looking in some support and I and I found.
I found out with.
With Matt and see right past it had to be at the executive level lever sorry it had to be at the executive level that the support had to be there before before actually making make the decision the.
The reason why I decided to start.

[13:56] Exploring distribute teams was after the company I worked out before ride which is called on Swipe where we had.
A big office in New York and we had a couple Engineers out we had an engineer in Hong Kong and we had an engineer in Mexico.
Mexico was one of the founding engineers and I think one of our best Engineers was working from home.
Problem I kept running into was a we weren’t we weren’t including them in in conversations we were including them in in in discussions and decisions and.
And that’s when I sure got interested in being fully committed to distributed organizations if you have someone outside of the office.

Christian Mccarrick:
[14:46] Yeah cuz what you have one user to have to put in a lot of the logistics in the infrastructure to support one or support men.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[14:54] Exactly and even even if your collocated once you go to specific size you,
you’re probably better off thinking of yourself as a distributed company because information sometimes once you once you’re more than a hundred you have the information has to flow in a different.
Way that just that that is not just meetings were or in-person contact.

Christian Mccarrick:
[15:20] Absolutely and that’s how I think one of the things I talked about with Kate as well is that one of the positive I think side effects um will get into some other one tonight when I ask some of the questions for you is having a distributed team.
Inadvertently or by necessity.
Really sort of forces people to be better with written and documentation and should have knowledge transfer right is that what you find will.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[15:44] You have to be deliberate about communication right there there is the whatever.
Decision happened on your way to the water cooler needs to be broadcasted to 21 who is not present so your.
Mindful communication becomes becomes a really good at it and then once you get to a certain size if you’re already set up for that it makes it a lot easier.

Christian Mccarrick:
[16:10] And I really like that analogy make to or that we’re once it’s on only being distributed but it’s about being a certain size because as you have my company now with.
You know over the thousand people we do have distributed offices which has its own challenges but.
You could be in the same physical location and Beyond five different floors in a building.
Right so you’re still not going to get that Serendipity of having a conversation when you might actually run into some of the hallway because they may have been different floor and you might see them once every 3 months even though you know they’re in the same building as you.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[16:44] And I’m setting the culture when you’re 20 and you’re all used to writing things down and sharing it in in a probably in a synchronous manner,
it’s likely going to be easier than when you reach to a hundred or two hundred and then yours you’re going to ask people okay this really big meeting has to stop and you’re going to start writing things in this is the way that you should write them it’s a it’s a,
bigger cultural shift later on.

Christian Mccarrick:
[17:11] Sure that the people that you have a remote for a kind of distributed teams are they consider them actually are they all dedicated 100% your company in a full-time employees are they contractors today.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[17:23] They are all out sorry to interrupt your they are all a hundred percent dedicated to to splice.

Christian Mccarrick:
[17:30] Okay okay.
We talked a little bit about maybe some some of the benefits might be improved kind of written communication but from your standpoint,
housing really managed and built these teams up what are some of the other advantages you see around you know building and managing distributed teams.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[17:49] So a few of the things I found is it opens it opens up with you use two different.
Workforce is well single parents or parents who have young.
Children for toddlers would need a lot of attention and maybe you don’t have a lot of either your grandparents to the grandparents.
Family or Child Care is,
is important in in I think when you when you talk about hiring very senior very experienced people experience people tend to have to start having families right once once or not at 22 year old.
Engineer who just graduated college was just starting and you have a family and have children and you need to do you have different requirements the advantage of.
Working from home or working in in your city.
Is a huge is a huge one so you open you open up yourself to,
two more experienced people who are in a different face of the life you open yourself also to other markets right cuz the the density of engineers in.
New York or in Boston or in San Francisco may be higher but you’re also competing with.
Which companies will allow more funding or more benefits or more interesting.

[19:20] I swear as if you’re looking for the best in Marcus they’re not as dense so if you’re looking for the best engineering in.
The best engineering manager in the world you probably have the one of the best chances to get them if you’re if you can if you can compete.
What’s the problem you got offer also different opportunity so that’s one of the advantages.
It also adds a possibility to out a little bit of.
Multi-cultural input right you can start having different experiences different boxes two different markets Texas two different.
Ways of life that allow you to know I do believe fundamentally that product built by diverse group of people’s have a lot more,
experience is putting together.
In our are better so it makes it a little bit easier to to get more chances of course in New York you have.
Which is the City of Ember guys have a lot of a lot of people who had a little bit of of their experience it ride when we were building a carpooling app.
I’m from New York and none of us really committed in a car.
It was difficult where as we had one of the worst traffic in the Americas probably anyways it was.

[20:54] It was a lot easier to to run tests in in Columbia that we BB did in in in New York show image of there.

Christian Mccarrick:
[21:03] No what about hey right I think this this potentially comes up as well right is this and.
Some companies have very open kind of pay scale and others do you pay based upon to a good market rate for that area or do you have you start of standardized across everyone in the company.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[21:23] I have bands.
I would ideally like to remove the location constraints I think it’s it’s more about.
The work that you’re doing now that’s really there’s of course there’s I think their philosophies a little bit about being.
Fair so I definitely in in this is this is a little tricky.
Mostly because.
Columbia has some contacts and some safety concerns for 4 people who I are there but I have.

[22:07] Kaiser is very very similar to to to to the states.
If we talked about what a software engineer makes in Columbia right now they are probably making around $12,000 a year up to maybe 20.
$22,000 that’s why you see a lot of companies that are near soaring on so they sell here in the States pay.
20 in Columbia and.
Keep the shirt the Gap I don’t I don’t believe that the reason why I started building so I have it.

[22:47] Access to Broad Community collaborative.
Helped build and the did the main guiding principle for me to hire in Latin America which is so ride was a lil bit more than American people in Brazil and Argentina.
I’ll be sure I’m focusing on the opportunities to very talented people who can’t break through like they can’t.
Break this glass that keeps them only working with local companies right there is very talented Engineers who are bilingual.
Are astounded at that as as people here in the States but.
Since they’ve never had experience with American companies or with product companies they don’t get a chance they’re not giving you a chance to to prove themselves,
the right team was almost I believe cigarettes 33 Engineers wear.
25 where are the majority of them I’d say probably 95% of the Latin American Engineers have never worked with an American company they work with local companies and I can.
Say that today all Engineers work with American companies or or foreign.
Working with with with Japanese so that they completely changed their worse by the.

[24:22] The transit that they got it proving themselves so that’s a little bit more about why I try to keep 10 to 20% of our of of of of my team.
Latin American more than anything I like bringing different opportunities different taxes to.
2 scale right no I think no one very little people in very little engineers in.
Columbia have the opportunity to work with an application that is dealing with a million users.
But we don’t build that many products there yet so exposing is exposing people to different opportunities is it’s one of the guiding principles more than more than.
We are New York base so the the default for me is paying your face Alex right. The Grange and I do believe in in paying people.
As much as I can within within Market.
As much as I value the roast and it’s it’s easier for me to think a little bit outside of the mold once when I start budgeting.
Think about New York write this we have office space we have.
A lot of other things that I could I could be a little bit creative and I shift the budget towards bringing people together once a year perhaps,
write any money that I save on either office space or recruiting cheese which I do all the recruiting myself.

[26:00] Is is useful for us to to have.
Totally invested into the culture that were building in to stay in being together catching up sending people to.

[26:13] Conferences. That’s worth.

Christian Mccarrick:
[26:15] Sure.
And about how often do you think so would you talk about some of the people right now that are based in Columbia right now how often do some of them come to the states or come to your office into New York to get to see you and meet with some other members of the team.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[26:30] Add slices a little less frequent we met in Denver the entire team in Denver in November and that’s the first time I met Museum.
My ideal scenario is every 6 months we got a chance to catch up so.
I would like to keep it that way of course there is a couple of projects that I live it and went and some people to travel either to the West Coast wear to work,
close to Matt on on on a few things or they can come to New York to work a little bit closer on the on the on the park we have grown.
A lot as a company so.
Probably to try to accelerate relationships this is why we do it we don’t have a fakes number I do want to hopefully set up.
A couple of either like I’ve been thinking about having a.
House Office in Marion for example and give it to give the opportunity to all all team members to have off-site stare together and work together.
How people come to New York for four different I just put particularly you related to your question there’s no there’s no specific frequency.

Christian Mccarrick:
[27:53] Sure and you need to talk to a little bit about some of the advantages of kind of having a distributed team what are some of the disadvantages that you see or at least some of the things that are more challenging that you definitely have to you know.
Identifying makeup for.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[28:10] So I believe it requires a little bit more of active management or a little bit more.

[28:16] Insight for managers right now I have three Junior managers for managers and,
Matt also manages one of our teams so since you’re managing a small team and manage the rest of the engineer matters.
I think being present being covering on slack sometimes to to be able to.
To understand and into select guide,
Town & Inn in Reading medium is necessary you don’t want specially when with new people when it’s hard to establish relationships or or 2 gauge,
interactions in Inwood mediums. Is a disadvantage of you have to be a lot more present a lot more of a guiding.
Force there keeping people in sync as far as where the company is going is it’s also.
Nothing there’s no there’s definitely no replacement for human contact.
Being social animals that you can’t there’s no video call that will give you the same thing.
Are the group of people who you work with so that’s why I would have believed on site sore.
All sites are a very important and that’s that’s definitely a disadvantage right like trying trying to to read other people lace.

[29:53] Is difficult and it requires.
Very specific channels of communication trust-building just sometimes you cook great you there’s always the chance that have an employee that.
Not really working Joe’s up it’s doing something else part-time.
When you have people who are not use maybe people in the business anymore outside of engineering Corps not used to.
Distribute work question weather something is really.
Weather work is really happening or progress really being made is specific trying to move away from the input base management and more on the output basement is a challenge.
I believe senior leadership buying into a Distributive culture is very important because otherwise setting this getting trust outside of engineering is going to be a lot a lot.
I’d say those two things communication and communication trust and then last week decision making.
Is a little bit challenging to but there’s enough patterns in the open source world that you can copy to.
To manage decision-making in in in collaboration.

Christian Mccarrick:
[31:23] I think decision-making helps too if you have good.
Set objectives you have good values you have a Playbook you have a lot of the stuff that’s written down so that helps should have been distributed decision-making happen easier because everyone kind of knows you know what the guidelines might be for those decisions.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[31:41] Absolutely absolutely I’d say I am as far as the distribute culture of our where I want this to be a culture,
that’s like to be I think we’re I’d say we’re 30% there are there’s a lot more work that week that we have to do as far as writing think Downs writing things down setting setting up player makes or documentation or or showing people how to.
How to move how other companies flows how things move around especially with with very fast growth but it is it is.
I’ve seen it.
Before I’ve been in a place where a distributor culture really really works and you can be very effective and efficient and and is a very good feeling.

Christian Mccarrick:
[32:26] That one of the things you definitely kind of talked about is.
Communication how do you handle some of the issues about nuances and facial cues and potentially if you’re dealing with with different languages of Lost in Translation issues.
How do you handle as a manager getting on top of that and making sure that there isn’t enough people festering or you’re being silent because they took something the wrong way right how do you develop that in a culture to to really make sure those things don’t don’t get overlooked.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[32:57] So there’s there’s some collaboration guidelines say open-sourced I think it was two years ago.
Bullet list of a little bit of expectations around Communication in.
In a team that that I’ll eat I do have to update a few of these but it’s mostly around setting the proper channels.
44 where did we get so slack is a great tool to stay in sink or two.
To collaborate on a daily basis but it is not the it if we don’t set it as a place that you have to be completely up to speed. Right there’s no you should be able to not be on Slack.
And not miss any important information so that’s why we say slack is for gifts for jokes it’s for its ephemeral information if everything was wiped.
You shouldn’t feel like you miss something important you should feel like.
Car reviews are important that’s where you find out where,
many many other of the projects are happening in you probably are a project management tool is also a very important tool that’s that’s ends up being the source of truth if it’s not on the ticket if there’s no ticket,
there’s no problem and then email used efficiently,
broadcast information to groups group of people synchronously is important.

[34:34] If I owe you a lot of a lot of documentation but not necessary documentation as in dog years how you use the software but more about like cheers how we met,
about how we use technical rfc’s to make technical decisions,
Italian spice and it’s it’s an invaluable to have discussions and that’s where everyone knows if they want to be informed of what what is happening in in the.
Technical world of spice of what every single engineer of of all the engineers week we have on staff is working on that’s a good way to to be involved and get him forth.
It’s that is one of the biggest tools I found being very clear about the proper channels.
Information how cobras are used.
Is a collection of decisions that you’ve made as a group and everyone being being completely.
Access to it in in being active and participate in participating in it is is important that you have.
Series of meetings in and try to keep those to him, but at least get a Cadence we’re not we’re not.
A child with a capital A we have some Rhythm we have we have.

[36:06] Santos Wikipedia a synchronous or in a 5-minute called those those tools at the teams get to the side how they stay in sync.
What we do at the management level a sweet we set expectations around where communication should happen and what kind of communication should happen it’s been an invaluable tool to manage and distribute.

Christian Mccarrick:
[36:29] I think that that doesn’t make sense and.
What let’s talk a little bit about if if I’m going to jury manager which most of my listeners are today and they’re thinking about.
Setting up a distributed team you know maybe they have one person that remote today maybe they work from home but you’re the really because of cost pressure or because of your looking for more diversification.
They want it really kind of go get by in and build out a team what are some of the things that you would recommend for say one of the Wendy’s managers who listen to my show,
to go about starting a process like recruiting no payments you know hiring notice process is I know for you you had I think that little bit of the benefit of.
Having worked with with building developer communities and meetups in Columbia and.
You know in and I helped a bit but maybe for someone who doesn’t have some of that that Network to reach out to.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[37:27] So if you do have an engineer who is not.
And in your in your in your office in your main office you’re you’re already distributed and it’s probably costing you.
More not to act as a disturbing company to some extent but.
If we were to talk about so I’m assuming assuming a new manager and I want to explore.
Either a different consoles or expanding my teammates in different ways are the best way I found to do this is by getting involved with local communities to some extent.
There is a local Meetup of at least.
Agile development somewhere right there at every small city has a meet up where 10 Engineers meet on a regular basis.
To talk about software to some extent and getting familiar with those and then in supporting communities has been the.
The best tool I found in greasing out to town. Side of outside of the main centers.
Now now I’m I’m like 7 years in building a comedian Columbia I have a slack that has 1500 people and a bunch of stuff.
Did I build over the years but it’s it all started by founding the first meet up the first JavaScript meet up with.

[39:06] An engineer who works with me John and I started the first JavaScript me dubbing in Columbia I believe it was either 5 or 6 years ago in front of there.
Such low investment in in. On on the site has given me access to.
Although a lot of tools and people and a wide variety of experiences.
That I can that I I get access to when I’m when I’m building a team I think that’s it. Would be my recommendation.

Christian Mccarrick:
[39:41] How would you have a manager convince maybe they are boss right there.
And we talked about what were some of the benefits that you would use to sell up to the board or management team that hey this is something that I believe we should we should invest in.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[40:01] The tricky part there is that I have never approached it in this is better.
I don’t think this will be two teams are inherently better than color coded teams they’re not and I don’t think it’s it’s.
Either I think it’s there’s a lot of.

[40:21] It depends on how you use it right it’s it’s it’s a little bit of your of your management tools I found so what I would approach is a little bit of.
If it is around the distributed nature work and interruptions that’s one of my biggest selling points I would love to give everyone a private office.
And since I can’t build stock overflows cubicles give them a desk and a chair in their own home and I get.
Very productive people extremely productive people who don’t have to commute.
Get up get a chance to have their own lunch there on time and are.
Always very very focused so the productivity increases and I think I would use a lot of those the latest conversations around how destructive open,
open offices are to productivity as a as a value to.
Either try try remote work or hiring remote one of the things we.
One of the transitions reviews on it to to decentralized some of the attention in the New York offices start building a week all the working from Wednesdays so.
How do I save everyone works from home and in everyone it starts.
Sure losing off the the interactions and reducing the dependency of being next to each other to have collaboration that’s probably an experiment you can try.

[42:04] That’s one of the things I I don’t necessarily advocate for is going to be cheaper to hire.
Other places because I I tried keeping the same budget and I try using it created because I alternate Lee.
Want to continue hiring very very talented people so I don’t I don’t advocate for the you going to be able to save money.
You could.
But that’s that starts getting into into into some some things I also don’t agree especially coming from a part of the world that is regarded as a as a.
Nearshore Eagle Rock Sharing Center in not a creative part of the world so I definitely don’t have a key for that but I’m sure the there’s a lot of CFOs who would like.
2 to consider that option.

Christian Mccarrick:
[43:00] Let me know if it gets to the point of paying for right it’s not about paying the amount of dollars you spend it’s about what you’re actually getting in value back,
right and I think that’s what would most people should focus on but I I hear you around some of this UFOs.
You know I’ve run into cases where it is rather spend $5 a month on a tool that no one uses versus $10 a month and it’s cool that that everyone uses and get good grades value out of.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[43:25] Product or service that your building right if I were to build.
A consulting company that doesn’t require a lot of creative Argentina has some of the best,
designers in front Engineers I’ve seen in an idiom I would start I would start just looking there that there is there’s a lot of,
but you get access to buy looking somewhere else and it also is it it also depends on your.
Your focus the business right ultimately it ended it really is what the business needs to not or not what you what you need it may be harder for you to have an engineer outside or maybe more expensive or you may end up,
diluting your attention trying to keep all the other documents in place where in order I would I would advise.
The managers who value the focus of their team members to start with the.
With the productivity approach we had this reversal in.
Just getting a lot more people crammed into small spaces that are loud and expect them.
We pay them engineer Engineers are probably the most expensive payroll and then you’re just cramming people.
And expecting to do creative uninterrupted work and doesn’t really say that you value the.
Your creative Workforce as much as as you may be saying so it’s not that’s probably my my initial point.

Christian Mccarrick:
[45:02] Sure and I just I want to go back to one of points you say about how you’re trying to observe restrict you don’t care geographically where they are.
But you’re really looking about that time zone and you’re my team right now is in.
About 9 offices used to kind of spread throughout the world and actually looking you have that we have some clocks on the wall that actually show that the time zones of all the different offices and there’s there’s there’s quite a few.
And I think that the biggest challenge that we have with sugar two teams in that you mention it doesn’t determine the working from home but District teams could also mean you have 9.
My office locations right and a lot of the same you’re the same challenges present themselves but I think the ones where the offices were the time zones have the least amount or no overlap are certainly the ones are the most challenging to.
Got to keep in the fold in to manage and the deal with information sharing right so that’s another thing I’d recommend to I kind of like your approach where.
Keeping it within a set of overlapping time zones really I think makes it makes it.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[46:04] Yeah it’s a boy because the especially early stage companies.
That require a lot of fast paced decision-making communication is key right in if you can’t call a meeting immediately because I launch a product.
That is exactly what you’re offering and you can’t react to that.
Time 10 George you’re limiting yourself so important because of that reason you’re running a service that requires all time.

[46:47] Have three time zones that overlap so that’s that’s probably in another another benefit why not have a an operations or an infrastructure manager in Australia that then you have 24/7 that’s also.
Serta a Counterpoint to my existing apartment.

Christian Mccarrick:
[47:05] Yes that is showing we do we do take advantage of the fall of Sons of approach for some of the 24/7 operation stuff in that it really does make sense in that aspect right yeah that’s.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[47:17] It It ultimately comes down to I think It ultimately comes down to communication and it’s even now where we have.
The range of time zones so we we do try to be like east or west but there’s some people in these to rise early I tattoo be more of a late night getting.
Trying to build a Cadence around groups of people who are cross-functional and who should be answering them starts getting harder the.
With with the variation of timezones right if you give you think about the overlapping between.
Easton West you have six hours but then if you remove both lunches so if you have lunch at noon,
you only have relief for hours we can get a group of 10 people together to work on something,
I think it starts becoming a little bit harder past a 3 hour time difference.

Christian Mccarrick:
[48:24] Difference so no switches around a little bit cuz I do have engineering managers who are.
Worldwide that our listeners to the show so if you’re up an engineer who’s who’s remote today or maybe not based in in North America.
Or even if you are based in North America and you’re looking for a potential manager job for a company that’s maybe not in your city and you don’t want to relocate.
What advice do you have for some of these people to start of get themselves on laying on Level Playing Field and.
You’re really kind of help them become viable contenders for engineering management positions in cities where they’re not look.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[49:03] Yeah I think it’s started seeing a lot more people interested in hiring managers.

[49:12] Remote I think one of the so one of the things that you definitely have to be able to do is,
be very very willing,
to travel a lot especially in companies that are starting to build their management layer even even a brief relocation or or or or talking about,
at least part-time.
Work from the specific city is important I I remember who I was talking to Spice company in Brazil and and talking about leading an entire team.
Back from New York and one of the things that they wear.
Made the conversation easier with me saying I’ll be here 50% of the year that’s. Opens a lot more doors I think I would start by looking at.
Companies that we’re part of their leadership is already.
Distributor cuz it’s going to be a lot easier to get that I know I know of a v companies who have already had great experience with some of their either their Executives who run different different teams War.
Or run different offices and it’s it’s a little bit easier to getting I don’t I don’t know how easy it is to be the first distributed manager,
so I would definitely look for companies that at least have either another office or we’re looking to open operations in in in local cities and are interested in in the centralizing a little bit. That’s one of the that’s probably the.

[50:53] Best advice I can give I also haven’t been in that situation as much so it’s it’s it’s.

Christian Mccarrick:
[51:04] It’ll be a good start of a page on Hacker News or slack channel right dedicated to companies that are really willing to support you the remote software teams and also remote software managers.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[51:14] Yeah I think there should I haven’t seen I know that there’s there’s someone who has a list in GitHub of all the companies that hire remote I don’t know if there’s a specific section of remote managers who will be.
Valuable I know that we work remotely has a bunch of job listing is on.
People looking for him at work but I do believe that being a manager with experience leading the series teams or being a distributor manager.
Is
It’s going to start being a lot more valuable ask companies a centralizer or ask to stay up with with this new way of.
Distributing work.

Christian Mccarrick:
[52:05] And you you’ve hired Remote Manager so what it what are some of the key things you look for when you’re actually hiring a Remote Manager versus stages to remote unit.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[52:15] All my managers are remote even though two of them live in your they are they don’t come to the office so everyone everyone in the management orientation.
Is distributed the I actually look.
Less for distributed experience because I can get it and I look in in imagine that hard a lot of community participation I so I shift a little bit of the.
Operation of the Indian team as far as recruiting and I I believe that one of the most important.
Qualities that a manager can bring to my team is be a great recruiter.

[53:00] And be able to bring people and convince people and and and get them in the door so we inherit or we have sort of a lot of this of the talent acquisition sourcing responsibilities at slice specifically because I think I.
I task managers with building their own teams and recruiting.
Also was very aggressive and assertive diversity aspects so that’s one of the main things I look their ability to record or the potential to recruit and decide based on their.
Participation in communities so Brian is an organizer of Brooklyn gas and,
it shows a lot of the leadership ability suit like deal with Logistics deal with volunteers you’re able to deal with volunteers and put together an event that says a lot about your managing abilities.
Raquel organizes gluco Ernie has spoken in pretty much.
Every single Ruby conference now on South. That is actually a little bit more of the focus that I.

[54:15] If they have participated in open source communities then. Give them.
Insight into distributed work because a lot of the open source projects are effectively distributor organizations and volunteers and those are very very.

[54:33] Proven models that open source that distributed work.
Functions right when you when you have all these companies huge companies that depend on software built by volunteers all over the world and it works you can get into the ethics of Labor there but.
But it’s it’s it’s it’s really pretty models on on on how.
How to how to build software at scale across time zones and languages and cultures in all these so those are the main two things and not use them as proxies for good medicine.

Christian Mccarrick:
[55:07] That’s perfect I think that that’s that’s definitely really insightful into thinking that way about.
Attributes to look for in potential Romo managers Soviet that’s great moving on sort of getting towards the end of the show here a couple of things one is resources and tools you have any specific.
Tools are products you recommend specifically around distributed teams right around communication or process or tooling.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[55:35] Eye twitching I don’t really have really enjoyed.

[55:45] Clubhouse is a project management tool because it gives me different,
reviews of the organization so their workspaces function is really really good at giving different roles so when I mean.
Manager mode I can look at.
A high-level view of everything that I’ve I want to look at what specific you engineer has on their underplate I can also switch the view it’s it’s that’s very useful I think we’re reaching.
It’s level now as a company has grown but it’s it’s I would definitely look at it if if I’m running a few minutes smaller than 20 Engineers I know that there.
Doing a lot of the park but for now I think I think we’re reaching the limits of it I really try to keep it simple in tools I’ve I’ve done I think.
More than tools its processes in and I believe that my responsibility.
The person who runs the engineering team in in in who is responsible for delivery is treating process as my product so helping the team.
Make this technical decisions the right way and this is why I’m like a big advocate of of of of technical rfc’s.

[57:02] I e value that over a specific tools because ultimate you can skin you can have the same.
Well at least similar processes run on Google Drive or on GitHub or on big bucket at ride this RC model in all these in it they all have pros and cons none of them is very.
Is optimized for it but it works everywhere I think.
Other than everyone is pretty much everyone is using slack and I think we.

Christian Mccarrick:
[57:36] Absolutely.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[57:38] Open Slack in Pawtucket and slack down.

Christian Mccarrick:
[57:44] Vacation.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[57:45] Yeah for 4 hours waiting to hear and did nothing I do.

[57:55] Recommend Morpher manager I think so they’re holding her really.
Insightful tweet which is around building your your manager Voltaren I’m not sure if you saw it but it’s.
A tool for for managers which is a group of peers.
Outside of their group of influence ideally outside of work.
Scenarios is very very useful I know that Kate has built an awesome slack for engineering managers.
Where a lot of this new conversations are happening more more of that is is what I recommend rather than specific tools.

Christian Mccarrick:
[58:36] Sure great and any books that you’ve recently read or that what you kind of stand out to you that over the time that has helped you as an engineering leader.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[58:46] I’m pretty sure tell me lies book has been plugged here more than a few times.

Christian Mccarrick:
[58:52] Sure I should start getting.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[58:54] But it is it is fantastic and it’s not because she’s a good friend.
Because I think what can be able to do with this book is get a lot of the lessons that some of us,
have had over the name of the last year that synthesize them right I read the book and I was just constantly knotting right like all yes right of course this I kind of know this but but it’s very well so that’s.
That’s the first one I think the Phoenix project is also equal 1 to try to deal with organizational change in I am.
Writing I’m starting to talk to to apologize right one specifically around building distributed organizations so.
Stay tuned for the hour.

Christian Mccarrick:
[59:43] Oh great and candles book by the way is called the managers path and I’ll put that in the show notes and if you’re a listener you’ve heard it mentioned before from from any other of my guest on the show.
And Juan Pablo once you publish your book definitely let me know and maybe we can hop on and do it,
kind of talked about that this specific to that book as well I’m sure people be are interested in that one stays kind of I think more more people are getting.
Either inheriting or starting distributive themselves and I think the more information about that topic what is greatly need.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[1:00:13] Absolutely I left it.

Christian Mccarrick:
[1:00:15] Again Juan Pablo thank you very much for being on the show this afternoon really appreciate you coming on.

Juan Pablo Buritica:
[1:00:20] Thank you Christian thank you for your time and thank you for for having.

Christian Mccarrick:
[1:00:24] Absolutely have a great evening.

 

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