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Empathy Exercises: Virtual Team Edition


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Virtual Team edition of empathy exercises.

Published in: Design
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Empathy Exercises: Virtual Team Edition

  1. 1. Do Your Virtual Teams Play well together?
  2. 2. So, in a remote company, I do believe you have to work, perhaps, harder at having amazing relationships and growing everyone professionally. In an office, you must be intentional. I think in a remote ecosystem, you have to be much more intentional. --FiveQ
  3. 3. How do you define success for your virtual teams?
  4. 4. How do you know if your virtual team is effective? Do you measure results? What results do you measure? Do you know how you can improve?
  5. 5. Negative results can illustrate team challenges Negative results… …can indicate that team challenges. • Missed deadlines • Spending over budget • Poor product quality • Investing in features that aren’t usable or marketable • Missing team and corporate targets • Missing revenue targets • Communication challenges • Poor leadership • Interpersonal relationships and dynamics challenges • Team not aligned to goals • Unclear and poorly communicated goals and targets
  6. 6. Get a strategy to improve your team
  7. 7. We provide a way to determine how effective your virtual team is Help you define success for your virtual team and company Qualitative and Quantitative • Include multiple method for tracking for checks and balances • Metrics identify and clarify problems Game becomes a diagnostic tool Provide recommendations and track results
  8. 8. Why this Game? We’ve created a simulation of what it’s like to work on a virtual team. Employees can learn about themselves alongside colleagues in a fun, safe, stimulating environment.
  9. 9. Does your virtual team have these questions? How do we avoid misunderstandings and improve our communication? How do we build trust when we aren’t in the same location? How can we be productive when people are out of reach - literally? How can we build better relationships virtually?
  10. 10. How may your team be feeling? Here’s a challenge that surprised me: on the same day, I had a remote employee vent about feeling lonely, while someone at the office complained about the office being too noisy. --Balsamiq
  11. 11. Empathy occurs much less naturally, even with lots of video chat and long phone conversations. This is a double edged sword; decisions are less charged by emotion, but it can also be easier to become unreasonably angry and frustrated at someone who you don’t grab a meal with very often, and you can become a bit too distant. -- 10upInc.
  12. 12. Virtual teams are here to stay Despite these challenges, companies are hiring remote workers in record numbers Improving the work culture for remote employees improves it for everyone! 79% of knowledge workers said they work from home -- Recent global survey by PGI In 2015 23% of employees reported doing some of their work remotely, up from 19 percent in 2003.* -- Bureau of Labor Statistics Telecommuting made up 2.6% of the American workforce or 3.2 million workers in 2014. Today, it is even higher. -The New York Times *
  13. 13. Every culture works differently - be effective The approach that worked for one company may not work for you. How do you know? Play our game and find out!
  14. 14. Empathy Exercises: Virtual Team Edition Goals: Team members learn how to quickly fit into a team and get something done Team members develop empathy for non-colocated team members to counteract proximity bias Managers, facilitators, and product designers can design better experiences for remote workers Managers and facilitators can build cross-functional awareness to strengthen Agile teams
  15. 15. It’s All About the Team.
  16. 16. We bring these supplies to setup the game • Blindfolds & earplugs • Laminated Activity Cards & dry erase pens • Stickie notes & ballpoint pens • Role cards outline rules and objectives from various perspectives • Timezone cards simulate challenges to connect in real time • Various checklists dependent on the game players’ roles distributed to the teams
  17. 17. Game Design can be Customized • The game objective or mission will be customized to be most impactful for your company and teams. • Roles, activities, numbers of timezones, etc. incorporate scenarios that are familiar and relevant for your employees. • Preparatory meetings, checklists and run-throughs ensure that all runs smoothly.
  18. 18. The Mission: Create an online Store Players get 11-12 activity cards that outline tasks to complete during the game
  19. 19. Game Rules • Everyone but the Project Manager starts with blindfolds ON • At least one person at each table has to wear a blindfold at all times • Project Manager decides who wears the earplugs (min of 2/table) • Project Manager can change who wears blindfolds & earplugs • Product Owner can override the Product Manager’s decisions about blindfolds & earplugs • All activities must be approved by the Product Owner • We must validate that the event card action was completed
  20. 20. Sample Game Roles Title What to do Project Manager - 1 • The only person who can see at all times • Monitor team standards & complete the standards list • Note: There is a UX person there if you need them. Product Owner - 1 • Manages, prioritizes, approves activities • 100% visibility as to what's going on • Note: There is a UX person there if you need them. Developers - 2 • Follow special instructions QA - 1 • Determine product health. • Defines when a task is complete. UX - 1 • Move your chair 3 ft. from the table • Follow special instructions
  21. 21. Event cards make play fun & rewarding • Random announcements or twists to the game • Samples: • Your server is crashing and you don’t know why. • Developers need to pitch a solution to the product owner for a thumbs up • Trade your UX person with another team. • Sick developer! One developer sits out for the rest of iteration • Product Owner goes to Product Owner corner for 2 minutes • Prep for sales meets • Talk funder off the ledge • Rescue an exploding partnership
  22. 22. Game format • 90 - 120 min game includes at least 3 rounds • 90+ min for reflection and creating an improvement plan
  23. 23. Reflection questions • How far did you get in each timeboxed round? • What did you learn? • What would you do differently next time?
  24. 24. Finding what works for you! • We will work with you to design an experience that is just right for your employees, teams and/or colleagues • Every game is professionally co-facilitated • If desired, we will provide our observations / recommendations about your work culture as follow-up