How To Be a Successful Distributed Agile Team

Distributed Agile teams are nothing new, teams have been working remotely for a long time even before what has recently happened in the world with people working remotely full time due to travel restrictions and lockdowns.

I've already heard a lot of people online saying, "Wow this remote working can actually work" and "It's so much better when we use video..."

That is exactly right, distributed agile teams are a thing! Can you believe it?!! However it needs to be done in the right way.

There are a number of studies that support Distributed Agile Teams and their success out there if you simply Google scholar search "Agile Distributed Teams" you will see a bunch of studies and articles.

One of my favourites that I have come across is the "Theory of One Team" by Siva Dorairaj which focuses on how teams that are co-located can be successful with teams working remotely around the world.

I don't usually get very theoretical, but taking bits of this theory can really help improve the way that your organisation can potentially work remotely, in small and large teams.

The One Team Theory focuses on five key pillars supported by two main influences:
  • One Culture - Sharing cultural values 
  • One Practice - Sharing the same practices, speaking the same language
  • One Team - Team cohesion, knowing one another and being a 'whole' team
  • One Time - Sharing timezones across the world or coming close
  • One Space - Physical co-location in spurts to enable team cohesion
Supported by:
  • Management Support - Usually funding
  • Trust - Pretty self explanatory

I don't want to go into too much detail into the Thesis, my point is there is a right and wrong way to do things remotely. We live in a world that is full of online collaboration tools that make this so easy for all of us and we can use frameworks like the one above to enable our organisations to do this successfully. 

Another favourite of mine is the work that Trello have done on working remotely "How To Embrace Remote Work" by Leah Ryder and Lauren Moon. It has some great practices to follow and I found it really helpful and super engaging.

Here are some tips from me:
  • Always use video chat, it helps with the flow of communication in meetings and is just generally better
  • Create the same culture as you would in the office online, for example virtual coffee catch-ups and Friday drinks and games
  • Have a lead in meetings who will help with communication traffic
  • Tools, so many tools. Make the most of virtual tools for your meetings
So get those webcams fired up, jump online, and start collaborating towards the success of your teams!