Project management, daily stand-up, remote work BC and DC (Covid-19)

Business, My life
May 6, 2020

BC (Before Covid-19)

I have been working remotely for the last 13 years, not only managing projects as part of various teams but also being a stay-at-home dad and starting my own SaaS platform (

  1. Thoughts about working full-time BC

Every time I worked on location / full-time / in the office allowed me to see things from the outside and objectively analyze how companies work.

In this framework, business has morphed into politics, where short-term gains are prioritized at the expense of nearly everything else. This approach vilifies numerous aspects of personal and professional life: family, personal preferences, time management for personal growth, all for the supposed “good of the company.”

Unfortunately, it’s often easy to spot those who propagate this behavior: managers. Employing soft skills to morally abuse their teams—whom they are meant to lead—is far simpler than truly leading. Anyone who has stayed late just to appear diligent, or sat through endless meetings that could have been condensed into a Slack message or email, understands this dynamic. This critique isn’t an indictment of all managers; rather, it’s an observation that, despite good intentions, the predominant corporate culture often diminishes human elements, cloaking an iron fist of restrictions in a velvet glove of managerial soft skills.

For instance, when full-time employees wanted to complete their weekly tasks, they often took a “fracking” day off to work from home!

  1. Thoughts about project management and daily stand-up BC

My favorite collaborators are developers, UX/UI designers, graphic designers, and creative directors—particularly those who are a mix of genius and madness.

Much of my time was spent extinguishing crises exacerbated by managerial oversight rather than genuinely supporting my team. While I may not be the best project manager, I prioritize honesty and team welfare. I strive to separate my understanding of Agile project management from the distorted versions that organizations adopt merely because it’s trendy. For example, one of the core values of the Agile Manifesto is “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.” Show me one company that implemented Agile, even one as big as G or F and I’ll show the many articles about the way they treat their employees and all the wrong things that happen.

t’s evident that remote work, or even structured office hours, should align with natural circadian rhythms, which are often disrupted by artificial lighting. Enforcing a rigid 9-to-5 schedule is not only inhumane but also fundamentally undermines the necessity of most managerial roles and bureaucratic structures. More on this on the DC part.

Of course, people will work after they get home. Many developers work at night because they can concentrate better. Keeping them in daily stand-ups until 10 am, having meetings for the rest of the day, it will mess with your mojo for sure.

This is one of the reasons for which, in an Agile manner, I started using online EOD stand-up. Anybody can answer to the three questions (What have you done today? What are you going to do tomorrow? How can I help you?) until midnight (my midnight, if working on different time zones). In the morning, I work on analyzing answers, asking questions, and finding solutions while my team can go on uninterrupted with their tasks.

Of course, some of my managers didn’t like this. Who am I to take away their satisfaction in abusing people every morning and their guilty pleasure of hearing themselves talk for hours in meetings? If you’re a manager reading this and telling yourself “I’m not like this” or even worse “We don’t do things like this in our company”… think again.

  1. Thoughts about personal life BC

I’ve never had what one might call a personal life, as I’m always engaged in some project, perpetually wishing for a 48-hour day and a cure for the need to sleep.

While the failure rate in the parenting department is low, thanks to not being alone in this endeavor, I have a strict policy with clients regarding comments about my children, who often appear on camera or as audio backdrops during calls. If a client makes more than three sarcastic remarks, even if meant as “jokes,” it signals the end of our contract with a resolute farewell.

Entrepreneurially, my life is a ledger of 90% failures, each a learning experience. Despite the knowledge gained, the sting of failure lingers.

There are also good things that worked and I’m proud of, Asengana being one of them. Of course, I didn’t build it alone. I use a business model that went against all the best practices I learned. It works. More details here.

Self-promotion image with link next:


DC (During Covid-19)

  1. Thoughts about working remote’s evolution

Before COVID-19 (BC), remote work had a romantic allure, symbolizing freedom and flexibility. You could work from a coffee shop, set your own hours. Life was good. Even for me it was good. I would take my son to school and squeeze on a bench in a dark corner of the Ripley Aquarium, on the last floor of the Toronto Library watching over Don Valley, at a small table in the Distillery District, on a bench in the hallway at AGO, or any place with good coffee. I mean excellent coffee, not S***B****.

However, remote work also meant dealing with instability, a unique cost structure, self-managed taxes, and occasionally erratic working hours. Despite these challenges, the autonomy it offered was invaluable compared to traditional 9-to-5 jobs.

Now almost everybody is working remote… from their own homes. Except a few famous people I saw given interviews from their lavish kitchen or home offices, all of us had to scramble with adapting our limited living space to… work. Now we need separate desks. Many people still spend time in endless meetings. More than an hour long. What companies need to understand is that people are not on the hamster wheel anymore. Two of the developers I worked with quit their jobs after a day with five hours of meetings. The useless people that were cannibalizing everybody’s time in real life are still doing it on Zoom calls. Only that the threshold for taking crap is lower every day.

  1. Thoughts about project management and daily stand-up DC

Everything is a project. In uncertain times, with a virus that might or not get a vaccine next year, with most people not willing to be test subjects for herd immunity, the only certitude is something that needs to be delivered in the shortest time with a minimum of resources.

Today, everything feels like a project, especially amid a pandemic with uncertain outcomes and timelines. Those who are flexible will thrive—not just companies, but individuals who recognize that the adage “everyone is replaceable” doesn’t hold true. The demand for privacy and trust, especially concerning surveillance of home workstations, is becoming a battleground. The best talent will insist on respect and autonomy or they’ll walk away.

You can’t replace people. You never could. But BC you could accept that a new employee will do worse because you could accept some sunk cost as long as the manager was happy with the little hamster running on his wheel. Not anymore. You can’t afford unjustified losses now.

For people like me who have kids and have to manage the unsatisfactory level of online education provided for now, things are even harder. All the “one hour a day screen time” is out the window. There is no way to go through the daily online meetings and be a substitute teacher in the same time. Moreover, if you try to reign in the internet use, you might get someone like my son who will unleash the full regalia of Greek tragedy in the house and ruin any chance to get work done.

Work inevitably shifts to night-time hours, once the children are asleep. If one parent stays home full-time, the dynamic might improve, but often at the cost of needing to support the mental and emotional well-being of the other parent as well. The psychological strain of quarantine is substantial and should not be underestimated.

As for all the stand-up daily meetings and many other corporate rituals, they will have to change or you will find yourself alone in a Zoom meeting with all your employees ghosting you.

  1. Thoughts about personal life DC

You don’t get many chances like this to get your personal life together. There are opportunities in this. We have breakfast, lunch and dinner together most days. We have more time to do things because not going to work gives you back two hours every day.

We’re speakers of a Latin language, which comes with a certain pattern. When we whisper, you can hear us from across the street. When we talk, we only have loud mode. The neighbors of our neighbors either are ready to move out as soon as the quarantine is over or they starting to enjoy the daily telenovela.

Living in Canada, where healthcare and government support are more robust than in many other places, provides a sense of privilege.
As long as somebody dies anywhere in this world, I don’t feel lucky. I’m citizen of planet Earth first and as a civilization we’re failing in a horrible way. We’ve been failing for the last two hundred years at the most basic task: taking care of our people.

We’re letting the craziest of us to run the asylum. We’re allowing huge corporations to get free money from our taxes while they could borrow money with literary 0% interest rate. We still put on a pedestal people that benefit from a highly uncorrelated relationship between value-added through work and profit sharing.

If you hear people saying that we should get back to normal, be afraid. The normal we had was bad. We should look forward to a better system, to building different relationships. It should start with remembering which companies helped and which took advantage of this crisis. It should start with buying locally. It should continue with making the hero status the essential workers have now permanent and paid accordingly. It should continue with putting politicians in their place as public servants and never allow them to become health experts or any kind of experts just because they feel like it. We have a chance to build a better future, and I am eager to support those who can guide us toward it.