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WeRockIT 2019 - Build a successful remote agile team in three easy steps!


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Many agile coaches think it’s a prerequisite to co-locate the team in order to be successful. However, what if you have remote team members or are considering adding them to your team but afraid it will only slow you down.

As more people choose to work remotely it will be important to learn how to be a part of or lead successful remote agile teams. We will discuss three mindset changes that are critical to helping your team, regardless of location, implement agile and lean principals to help your team be a successful agile team.

Learning Outcomes:
Learn about the four remote team types and some of the traps and how to overcome them with your team.
Learn how to use the agile mindset of encouraging and managing for change to encourage the team to experiment with everything so they can decide when to change.
Learn how to encourage your team to emphasize communication and collaboration and come up with ways the team can do that effectively with remote teams.
Learn how to use agile principles and adapt them to your team.

Published in: Leadership & Management
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WeRockIT 2019 - Build a successful remote agile team in three easy steps!

  1. 1. @paulmgower BUILD A SUCCESSFUL REMOTE AGILE TEAM in three easy steps!
  2. 2. @paulmgower I discovered From Chaos to Successful Distributed AgileTeams: Collaborate to Deliver. I realized that Rothman and Kilby had written down much of what I have been teaching and promoting in my practice. I have integrated their ideas into this presentation.
  3. 3. @paulmgower Paul Gower Maker Stakeholder Remote worker
  4. 4. @paulmgower Maker. I’ve been writing code since 1992.
  5. 5. @paulmgower 3 years before eBay. 12 years before Facebook. 7 years before Google.
  6. 6. @paulmgower Stakeholder. I’ve been leading teams since 2009.
  7. 7. @paulmgower Accidental leader. I wanted to protect my team from bad leadership. My leadership style was chaos and the death march was my methodology.
  8. 8. @paulmgower I needed to find a better way! I became a student of Lean and Agile.
  9. 9. @paulmgower Remote worker. I’ve been working with remote teams since 2005.
  10. 10. @paulmgower Today’s Big Idea
  11. 11. @paulmgower How to build successful remote agile teams?
  12. 12. @paulmgower MINDSET
  13. 13. @paulmgower
  14. 14. @paulmgower
  15. 15. @paulmgower How to build successful remote agile teams?
  16. 16. @paulmgower AGILE & LEAN PRINCIPLES
  17. 17. @paulmgower Start with what you do now Agree to pursue incremental, evolutionary change Encourage acts of leadership at all levels KANBANVALUES
  18. 18. @paulmgower KANBAN PRINCIPLES 1. Visualize the workflow 2. Limit WIP 3. Manage flow 4. Make Process Policies Explicit 5. Feedback Loops 6. Improve Collaboratively (using models & the scientific method)
  19. 19. @paulmgower How to build successful remote agile teams?
  20. 20. @paulmgower REMOTE TEAMS
  21. 21. @paulmgower RemoteTeamTypes 1. Satellite 2. Cluster 3. Nebula
  22. 22. @paulmgower “The optimal distance for communication frequency is less than eight meters.”
  23. 23. @paulmgower ACCEPTABLE HOURS OF OVERLAP
  24. 24. @paulmgower HOURS OF OVERLAP
  25. 25. @paulmgower EXPERIMENTATION
  26. 26. @paulmgower
  27. 27. @paulmgower
  28. 28. @paulmgower
  29. 29. @paulmgower
  30. 30. @paulmgower “Running too many experiments at once can lead to ‘change fatigue’. Instead, run experiments with a clear hypothesis and a short duration.” From Chaos to Successfully Distributed Agile Teams Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
  31. 31. @paulmgower Insufficient Experimentation Mindset TRAP
  32. 32. @paulmgower EMPOWERTEAM • Ask:“What are our hypotheses, what options do we have to test them, and how will we measure the results?” • Set a time box and regularly gather data. • Map theValue Stream toVisualize CycleTime
  33. 33. @paulmgower Leaders should experiment SOLUTION
  35. 35. @paulmgower
  36. 36. @paulmgower
  37. 37. @paulmgower
  38. 38. @paulmgower Team Not Created for Collaboration TRAP
  39. 39. @paulmgower
  40. 40. @paulmgower Build Respect with Working Agreements SOLUTION
  42. 42. @paulmgower REMOTETEAM PRINCIPLES 1.Assume Good Intent 2.Create a culture of continuous improvement with experimentation 3.Default to Collaborative Work 4.Limit Work In Progress
  43. 43. @paulmgower Forcing a Specific Agile Approach TRAP
  44. 44. @paulmgower OWNERSHIP • Allow the team the space to work with the Agile & Lean Principles we discussed. • Allow the team to fail and learn from it. • Help the team focus on customer value delivery.
  45. 45. @paulmgower Keep cadences as short as possible SOLUTION
  46. 46. @paulmgower ANOTHERTRAP
  47. 47. @paulmgower Lower Salaries == Save Money TRAP
  48. 48. @paulmgower RESOURCEVS FLOW EFFICIENCY
  49. 49. @paulmgower
  50. 50. @paulmgower
  51. 51. @paulmgower Flow Efficiency SOLUTION
  52. 52. @paulmgower MINDSETS • Foster Experimentation • Encourage Collaboration • Guide with Principles not Practices
  53. 53. @paulmgower AVOIDTRAPS • Insufficient Experimentation Mindset • Team Not Created for Collaboration • Forcing a Specific Agile Approach • Lower Salaries = Save Money
  54. 54. @paulmgower EXTRATIPS
  55. 55. @paulmgower FACE-TO-FACETIME • Helps fix systemic problems that can cause increases in cycle time. • Builds respect within the team learning strengths and weaknesses. • Meet for a minimum of one week per quarter
  56. 56. @paulmgower “You might think the travel expenses are ‘too high.’ However, the team saves time and money through faster clarification of the vision, mission, goals, and working agreements.” From Chaos to Successfully Distributed Agile Teams Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby
  57. 57. @paulmgower BACKCHANNEL • Dedicated chat channel to support synchronous or asynchronous conversations. • Always available—it adds context and allows people to collaborate. • The whole team uses it and only the team uses it.
  58. 58. @paulmgower ALWAYS USEVIDEO
  59. 59. @paulmgower QUESTIONS?
  60. 60. @paulmgower “The problem human beings face is not that we aim too high and fail, but that we aim too low and succeed.” Michelangelo
  61. 61. @paulmgower Thanks to Rothman and Kilby for From Chaos to Successful Distributed AgileTeams: Collaborate to Deliver.
  62. 62. @paulmgower RESOURCES • From Chaos to Successful Distributed AgileTeams - • This is Lean - • What is Kanban? - • Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change forYourTechnology Business - Technology-Business/dp/0984521402/ • The Scientific Method - How ChemistsThink - Map%3A_Introductory_Chemistry_(Tro)/01%3A_The_Chemical_World/1.4%3A_The_Scientific_Method_-_How_Chemists_Think • The Education System: Now ClimbThatTree - • Value Stream Mapping for Knowledge Work and Services - knowledge-work-and-service-organizations • Tools for remote teams -