Top takeaways from Godel’s virtual event with Deliveroo’s Jon Thomas

Godel’s second virtual event, hosted by Deliveroo’s Senior Engineering Manager, Jon Thomas, discussed all things remote working as well as how to successfully implement strategic goals in remote teams.

Thomas kickstarted last week’s event with a brief introduction of his responsibilities at Deliveroo, and how he is currently involved in their mission to become the world’s definitive food company. Given the renowned reputation of Deliveroo, and the masses of consumers that the food delivery vendor attracts daily, the stability of their software is a crucial element to success. Just as with any company, Deliveroo’s employees are highly motivated by ‘goals to grow’, but it’s the way in which these goals are defined and executed, which Thomas believes sets his team out from the rest.

Following this, the event covered the key components of a ‘good’ goal: one that is aligned to, and provides leverage for strategic initiatives, which all employees within the team understand and are working towards. Subsequently, there must be a way in which progress can be tracked consistently throughout all teams. In order to track a goal effectively, Thomas eludes to six key pointers:

1. Create a unified view to track all the goals related to initiatives in the same place using the same language and measurement

2. Define statuses and clear definitions

3. Don’t prescribe which process to use, but be very clear on status and reporting

4. Remove layers of management from reporting status rigorously. Managers teach upward communication not monopolize it.

5. Build a fearless reporting culture where people are not afraid to raise and escalate blockers and headwinds

6. Categorise goals in terms of importance and risk so that senior leaders know where to invest their time and energy.

Unfortunately, goals can’t always be reached, whether it be down to internal or external factors, but nevertheless, Thomas echoes that one overriding factor is important in any event – to learn, from both success and failure. In order to do this, there must be a fearless reporting culture established within the remote team; whether this to be report challenges they’re facing or reporting success they have witnessed from their own or a team members’ work. Additionally, many teams may be working towards the same goals, and it requires a certain skill to be able to analyse where “lifts and losses” are coming from within the entire team, and this is one difficulty which may potentially be magnified through remote working.

Being a US national, now residing in the UK, the need to understand the local cultural norms of your workforce seems prevalent to Thomas. This is one such factor which should be understood consistently throughout teams in order to communicate transparently and effectively as it’s this which will differentiate between employees working independently or interdependently.

Finally, Thomas highlights the importance of being able to define effective goals as your business, and consequently your team, grows. It’s vital that as a team grows, so do their goals, as otherwise this limits the opportunity for the team to grow and reach for further success.