Recently, there’s been some discussion in Tech Twitter about remote work.

This post is a commentary on how remote work creates a forcing function for knowledge management habits that enforces team learning.

Whether they are intentional about it or not, all individuals and teams are executing some form of learning loop. Teams learn together by sharing their experience, insights, knowledge and skills with each other about how to do things better. In order for teams to learn together, they execute a learning loop in a regular cadence - these can be multi week sprints, quarterly or even yearly planning cycles.

While colocated, a team’s learning habits can be easily neglected. Practices like capturing knowledge, documenting key decisions, and creating good onboarding practices all feel like makework. After all - when sharing experience and insights is a simple conversation away, any form of documentation feels like a burden.

However, when individuals are remote and especially across multiple time zones, this creates a forcing function that enforces better knowledge practices.

Knowledge capture becomes an essential to a team’s function - documenting key decisions and capturing meeting notes becomes necessary to ensure everyone, everywhere is working with consistent information.

Also, when they are continually referenced in future decisions, you can start to realize the benefits of compounded insights over time. For new members on a team or project, this provides invaluable context that can speed up a person’s onboarding experience.

For non-remote teams, approaching knowledge management as if you were a remote team may be the trick to unlock team learning in new ways.