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Jeff Gallimore: Psychological Safety for Remote Teams

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As businesses make drastic personnel and process changes due to COVID-19 and the resulting recession, it’s easy to put digital transformation on the back burner. Employees are stressed by changes in their work-life balance, which limits their ability to accept new ways of working. However, when an organization pauses its initiatives, it arguably exposes a business to more risk as competitors scramble to get ahead.

“Software development organizations must not yield on innovation,” said Jeff Gallimore, Excella Chief Technology and Innovation Officer and co-founder. In this episode of the Test & Release podcast, Gallimore explains to hosts David Carty and Ryan Black how organizations continue to push their digital transformation initiatives as a means of differentiating within their field. In other words, how hunkering down in preserve-and-protect mode is not an option.

“We’re not going to get back to whatever the old ways used to be, and we need to start looking forward to what ‘new’ looks like,” says Gallimore. “The organizations that can make that shift in their thinking and their mindset and their approach, sooner rather than later, are the ones that are probably going to be more successful in dealing with it and coming out stronger than they were before.”

The term psychological safety, coined by Harvard University scholar Amy Edmondson and popular in the DevOps community, refers to a worker’s ability to show themselves— frustrations, creativity and all— without fear of reprisal. That concept informed a people-centric approach that Gallimore uses internally and advises for clients: Devote business time to the well-being of workers. In the software development community, burnout has had a troubling effect on programmers. Thus, psychological safety for remote teams deserves attention and proactivity.

Hear Jeff’s thoughts on how managers can encourage both mental health and productivity in the pandemic.

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