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Covid-19 made us more productive

Apr/01/2020 4 min read by Marco Monteiro

I manage a small team of 6 including myself. I mostly do quality control stuff at work and I've been programming less and less in the past few months, mainly because I'm more involved in the project management side of things. However, there were always a few things that I knew we could do better and wanted to change but it was really hard to find the right time.

Then COVID-19 came about and we had to change and adapt to this new reality. Specially with everyone now working from home. There were 3 things that I wanted to change but still didn't have the time to. Let's talk about them.

PROJECT MANAGEMENT

One of the things that I talked about with management many times was my difficult to do project management, specially because the tools we were using were not built to do project management for real. We were basically using a mix of google docs spreadsheets, gitlab issues and boards to get us going. I know it makes no sense but it was perfect when it was just me. At the time Gitlab was the right choice since I could create kanban boards and use them to manage my project. Problem is, when you do this with several projects you get sidetracked and just can't get the big picture on how things are going with all of your projects. This is something extremely important specially when everyone is working remotely.

I decided to use Clickup. It has everything we need at the moment and more. You can create your own dashboards with project status and tasks per user. You can create boards per project and calendar view among other things. Most important of all it has gitlab integration. Want to know more? I found this YouTube video about it:

This was a big bost in our productivity, it makes my life way easier when I have to answer to management on how the projects are going. I can answer problems easily and the team feels more productive because they can look at all their tasks in one place, despite the project.

COMMUNICATION

The other problem we had was how we communicated at the office. We used to use fucking whatsapp and I always hated it. Now we finally changed to slack and my life is so much better now. I have channels like I used to have on IRC and I can create threads there. I really love threads. And better than that, I can have my work related chats all in one place. I don't need to have my family group chats mixed up with my work stuff.

CONTINUOUS INTEGRATION

This is something that I still plan on getting better during this quarantine time. I think I'm able to make things work way better with gitlab, docker and our production servers. If you don't know what I'm talking about you can read more about it here.

CI — Gitlab

Was everything great with this change into a completly remote work environment? No, far from it. The lack of personal relationships at the office, the solitude of being inside 24/7 and time management were a big problem at first. When it started I worked way more at home than I did at the office, mostly because I worked since I woke up until I went to bed.

These days I try to do my normal schedule and work 9 to 5 even though I'm still in front of the computer most of the time.

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"Covid-19 made us more productive" via @marcogmonteiro