Agile Community: How to Manage Distributed Teams
In the future, we expect an increased number of remote workers within organizations and companies. Various research studies show that remote working creates a conducive environment and mental health stability among employers and employees.
At Pinnacle Mutual Consulting, our teams are self-organizing and self-sufficient, but this does not mean they are immune to remote working challenges. To help our teams in their new standard work setup, we learned how to manage our distributed team by assisting them in understanding the benefits of remote working, challenges, and the success we can make as a team.
Remote working is more flexible—no need to rush to get a ride or skip breakfast.
The team can work wherever as long as there is an internet, and it shows that this new norm of working creates more productivity and decreases the number of sick days. It also creates higher morale, which indicates trust in the team resulting in more effective performance.
On the other hand, employers are more accessible to talents and hire the most skilled regardless of location rather than traditional hiring and decrease overhead costs like purchasing or renting office space.
Aside from these benefits, we think about the challenges our team may face, like lack of communication, time zones, isolation, and separation of work from their personal life.
We build significant ingredients to help them overcome these challenges, such as follows:
Strong Communication and Bridging Gaps
In agile teams or scrum projects, a communicator plays an essential role, and we cannot deny that sometimes, team members feel disconnected from the team due to poor communication.
Even though our teams are self-motivated and manage their responsibilities, we create real-time communication to build a rapport relationship. We exchange feedback or inform everyone about the completed or ongoing tasks using communication tools such as emails, video conferences, or chat platforms. We encourage and build an environment for the team where they are comfortable in surfacing issues–small to more significant.
Distributed teams also mean different time zones, and it causes minimal communication among the team. In our team, we intentionally approach our virtual meetings and chat platforms with their suggestions or further questions to ensure the team does not feel we are in silos.
Some organizations often complain that people miss or are unprepared for the meetings, and our team’s time zones differ. To address this challenge, we create a schedule for scrum events or meetings to ensure they prepare and discussions will be practical.
Meetings will allow us to communicate to create development or monitor the sprint goals, and we want to ensure that everyone attends.
Collaboration tools create the communication in our team, and choosing the best tool allows it to be smooth and seamless. Some applications can help your teams, such as Webex, Microsoft, Skype, Azure DevOps, and Retrium.
Managing distributed teams at Pinnacle is challenging. With an effective process and communication, the workflow and project progress will be successful for agile teams.