QA Revolution

5 Tips for Managing Agile Distributed Teams

If you work in a large IT organization, chances are you have to work within Agile Distributed teams.  Of course, in an ideal Agile world the team would be seated in the same room collaborating side by side.  That allows the best collaboration possible and it produces the best result encouraging great communication. Let’s face it, managing Agile teams across multiple locations is difficult.  Here are a few suggestions that will help you manage your Agile Distributed Teams:

  1. Consider adjusting when the team works.  This is especially important when you have parts of your Agile team that work offshore.  It might be necessary those resources work a mid shift in order to have some amount of overlap.  My current offshore team works the mid shift in order to have that overlap and it really has helped.
  2. Adjust the Daily Standup time.  I currently have a team which is distributed across 3 time zones.  Most times your daily standup would best be suited for the morning time.  Due to my team, I currently have it at 11:30 AM EST.  This allows East, West, and Offshore teams to participate.
  3. Use WebEx or GotoMeeting.  Ideally you would like to have all members participating in a meeting.  It is important those Agile Distributed Teams have access to see the same information.  If the meeting content is extremely important you might want to record the meeting session so that your team can review the items that were discussed.  Also, perhaps a team member is out or could not attend due to the time zone differences.  I always record sessions so that everyone can review what was discussed.
  4. Respect Lunch time and Holidays.  It is really important to respect lunch times and holidays.  You will have to learn how to work around those things.  In the end, the team will appreciate it and they will be willing to work harder if you are sensitive to those times.  If there is a specific holiday that will affect a current sprint, factor that in during your sprint planning so it will not be an issue.
  5. Use Time zones to your advantage.  There are many times where advantages can be leveraged because you have an Agile Distributed Teams that works different hours.  Form example, if you have an environment that needs to be checked, you can have your offshore team do the validation before your East team comes into the office.  Another example is code deployments, where you need code deployed overnight in preparation for the morning EST timezone.  You should take advantage of this, it will result in increased team productivity.

I hope these have helped and will be an advantage for your Agile Distributed Teams.

Ron Wilson