Leading A Successful Geographically Dispersed Agile Team
Many of us have co-workers who are sitting in a different building, city, country or even continent. The members of the same team may speak different languages and be in different time zones, but still manage to function as a group. The methodology for managing such a team is called Scrum. If this is your task, be sure to follow these steps.
Choose the Right People
In order to work in a geographically dispersed team a person must have certain qualities. First of all, all of your team members should be communicative. Since there is no face-to-face contact, they should be able to make the most out of each conversation they have and of course this is something communicative people will be able to do. They should also be comfortable with technology like webcams and Skype. They should also be open and honest. You want someone who will always be ready to come to you there are any troubles. They should also all receive formal training in Scrum and be aware of what they will have to do.
Define the Objective
With the team members being so far away, they will benefit much from properly understanding each other. And this cannot be achieved unless all of them are clearly aware of what the project’s objective is. They must all agree on the same goals and be ready to work in order to achieve them. One of the best ways to help the team set the goals is to create a team charter which will serve as a road map for all the members. Team charter will clearly define every member’s role and responsibility and there will be no room for troubles.
Have the Team Members Bond
Teams that work at a single location hold team meetings and occasionally go for lunches or coffee together. This also has a massive effect on their efficiency. Team members that know each other better will communicate much easier and have less trouble during the project. For the geographically dispersed teams lunches and coffees can hardly be appointed so some other ways of bonding have to be implemented. One of the ways to do this is to set up an intranet team page where they will be able to discuss new ideas and give suggestions. There are many online tools designed especially for team working. Make sure they all use webcams as well, since the meetings will be more personal that way and will create better atmosphere in the team.
Feedback is one of the most important parts of managing a geographically dispersed team. That is why it is of great importance to stay in contact with all the group members and comment on their work constantly. Since you cannot call them in your office for a quick talk, this will also have to be done online, by talking on Skype or chatting on some of the social networks. Scheduling a telephone call is also a good option. Also make sure you feedback is fair and equal for all of the team members. Be consistent with the feedback in order to keep the whole team motivated. It is an essential part of leading a successful distributed Scrum team. Also make sure you are always available for if any of the team members needs some help.
Managing a team like this certainly is not easy but if you do everything right, each of your projects is going to end up well. Just make sure both you and the team are always active and do everything towards the goal you have all decided on.