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Distributed Scrum Teams Whack a Mole: Creative Solutions to Common Obstacles

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This presentation focuses on taking a newly formed distributed team from mediocre to high performing despite language / cultural / time zone differences, misunderstanding of scrum and the "us" vs. "them” mentality (all moles we will bop). We’ll journey through the challenges of relationship building, shifting the agile mindset, lack of focus and sad ceremonies and identify dozens of creative, innovative and fun ideas towards successfully overcoming them.

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Distributed Scrum Teams Whack a Mole: Creative Solutions to Common Obstacles

  1. 1. DISTRIBUTED SCRUM TEAMS WHACK A MOLE:
 CREATIVE SOLUTIONS TO 
 COMMON OBSTACLES Kimberly Andrikaitis, 2018
  2. 2. Table of Contents • My Story • Distributed Team Challenges • Road Blocks (Moles) & Proven Techniques (Whacks) • Relationship Building • Agile Mindset • Limited Focus • Sad Ceremonies • Conclusion 2
  3. 3. Who Am I? • Kim Andrikaitis • ScrumMaster / Coach / Agile Dork • Former Life: Product Owner, Business Analyst, Manual Tester, Graphic Designer • Info Technology: 20+ years • Eliassen Group, Deutsche Bank, Credit Suisse, IBM • Cohost; DeliverIt Podcast (2016) • Owner, Founder, Creative Mind: PaperCuts 3 www.agile-dork.com LinkedIn: Kimberly Andrikaitis
  4. 4. Once Upon a Time… NYC Raleigh, NC Kyiv, Ukraine 4
  5. 5. Meet My New Team Product Owner Manual Tester Product Owner Product Analyst Scrum Master Manual Tester Auto Tester Auto Tester Developer Developer Developer Developer Developer Developer Developer Developer 5 One Team of 16 people Across 3 Locations
  6. 6. The Team Split Product Owner Manual Tester Product Owner Product Analyst Scrum Master Manual Tester Auto TesterAuto Tester Mainly Kyiv Mainly East Coast Developer Developer Developer Developer Developer Developer Developer Developer Developer Developer 6
  7. 7. The Response 7
  8. 8. Distributed Team Challenges 8 • Time Zone Mismatch • Cultural Differences • Language Differences • No F2F Interaction • “Us” vs. “Them” Raleigh / Kyiv Team
  9. 9. Moles In the Road 9 • Building Relationships • Agile Mindset • Limited Focus • Sad Ceremonies Key Road Blocks
  10. 10. • Disconnect Due to Distribution • Suspicious of “True” Motives • Minimal Opportunities for Relationship Building ROAD BLOCK I: Building Relationships10
  11. 11. Suspicious? Ease their Weary Minds “What does she want?” “Why is she here?” “What will she make me do?” “Can she be trusted?” “What are her intentions?” “What will she change?” “What will she tell my Mgr?” Road Block: Building Relationships 11
  12. 12. Still Suspicious? Explain the SM Role 12 Servant Leader * Facilitator * Team Coach Skilled at: • Partnering • Helping to identify & remove boulders • Encouraging continual discussion • Advocating for experimentation • Protecting team from external forces • Promoting teamwork • Encouraging inspection & continual improvement • Focusing on the journey • Cheering the team on!
  13. 13. Even More Suspicious? Schedule 1:1’s • Create a Recurring Meeting • Swap Agendas • Find a Quiet Room • For Safety; Receptiveness • Turn the Camera On • Grab a Pen & Paper • Listen. Inquire. Understand. Road Block: Building Relationships 13
  14. 14. Reserved? Ask Powerful Questions Inside these walls:
 • Motivations • What’s working • What’s Not • How do you feel about… • Suggestions • Pain points • Needs • Help? 
 Outside these walls: 
 • Hobbies • Vacations • Birth Place • Weekends • Sports • Books / TV / Movies • Career • Achievements Road Block: Building Relationships 14
  15. 15. Withdrawn? Encourage Sharing • Desk Show & Tell • Trade Photos • Holiday Traditions • Google Earth! 15 Road Block: Building Relationships TomTom
  16. 16. Too Serious? Inject Surprise Road Block: Building Relationships 16 www.thinkwitty.com/ PRIZE!
  17. 17. Heads Down? Team Bloopers Channel Sharing is Caring:
 • Photos
 • Wacky News Stories
 • Weather Reports
 • Jokes • Outrageous/Funny Links Road Block: Building Relationships 17 www.slack.com/
  18. 18. No Kinship? Bullseye! Road Block: Building Relationships 18 • I consider myself an introvert www.realtimeboard.com (or) www.mural.co • I love spicy food • I am not afraid of heights • I can play an instrument • I have a lead foot • I’m creative • I enjoy cooking
  19. 19. Disconnected? 7 Questions Road Block: Building Relationships 19 Who Am I? 1. My favorite thing to do on the weekends is… 2. One word that describes me is… 3. I collect… 4. I play the following musical instruments… 5. My favorite food is… 6. When I order pizza, I ask for these toppings 7. If I met a genie who granted me one wish, I would wish for…
  20. 20. Still Curious? 16 Personalities www.16personalities.com/free-personality-test Road Block: Building Relationships 20
  21. 21. ROAD BLOCK I: Building Relationships • Disconnect Due to Distribution • Suspicious of “True” Motives, your Role, you • Minimal Opportunities for Relationship Building • Withdrawn/Reserved Team Members 21 • Summarize the role of a ScrumMaster (boat) • Demonstrate active listening (1:1s) • Encourage communication (PQ’s, Sharing, Bloopers) • Increase team morale (zebra) • Construct innovative team building exercises (Darts, 16P, 7Q’s) MOLES WHACKING TOOLS Let’s Summarize…
  22. 22. ROAD BLOCK II: Agile Mindset • Not Bought In • Resistant To Change • Lack of Team Unity 22
  23. 23. UnScrum? Teach the Framework Road Block: Agile Mindset 23 • Sprint • Scrum Roles • Ceremonies • Flow
  24. 24. No Identity? Listen, Observe, Create Catnip the Super Cat Bird Road Block: Agile Mindset 24
  25. 25. Not Unified? Identify Team Names • Creates a first impression • Gives your team an identity • Team member accountability • Supports team bonding • Creates friendly competition Road Block: Agile Mindset Importance of Team Names: 25 www.tricider.com
  26. 26. Not Bought In? Find a Proxy Who can you partner with? • Locate your kindred spirit • Reach out • Explain your problem • Ask for help • Check in repeatedly Road Block: Agile Mindset 26
  27. 27. ROAD BLOCK II: Agile Mindset • No “Buy In” • Resistant To Change • Lack of Team Identity / Unity • Island Living 27 • Teach (Scrum Framework) • Cultivate a strong team identity (mascot, team names) • Pinpoint and leverage global partners (proxy) MOLES WHACKING TOOLS Let’s Summarize…
  28. 28. ROAD BLOCK III: Reduced Focus • Easily Distracted • Never Ending Meetings • Lack of Participation/Engagement 28
  29. 29. Team Distracted? Regain Focus • Camera On • Hands Up! • No Meetings Day • Physical Room, if possible • Bribery Carrot Dangling, when all 
 else fails Road Block: Reduced Focus 29
  30. 30. Meeting in Chaos? Use MeetingMinders Road Block: Reduced Focus 30 www.agile-dork.com
  31. 31. Meeting Digressing? Watch the Time www.online-stopwatch.com • Upfront Team Agreement • Enlist help Road Block: Reduced Focus 31 Quack…
  32. 32. Team Uncertain? Request Consensus Road Block: Reduced Focus 32 ** FIST OF FIVE ** • Closed fist: No. Blocks consensus. • 1 finger: Major concerns. • 2 fingers: Minor issues. • 3 fingers: Fine then. Whatever. • 4 fingers: It’s all good. • 5 fingers: Yes! I’ll even take the lead. Incorporate Voting Techniques
  33. 33. Reluctance? Introduce Randomizer Any Volunteers? Anyone? Um. Hello? www.random.org/lists Road Block: Reduced Focus 33 Great for: • Demo’s • Support Rotation • Standup Facilitator
  34. 34. ROAD BLOCK III: Reduced Focus • Distracted Team Members • Chaotic / Never Ending Meetings • Lack of Participation / Engagement  • No Volunteers 34 •Regain Focus (Cameras On, NMD, Physical Rooms, Carrot Dangling) •Utilize Visual Clues (MeetingMinders) •Time Keeping (timer bomb, duck timer) •Capture Consensus (FOF) •Gamify Team Resistance (Randomizer) MOLES WHACKING TOOLS Let’s Summarize…
  35. 35. ROAD BLOCK IV: Sad Ceremonies • Silent Retrospectives • SM Focused Stand Ups • Low Team Morale 35
  36. 36. Silent Retros? Go Wordless Before ^ Road Block: Sad Ceremonies 36 After >
  37. 37. Status Updates? Team Driven Stand Ups Road Block: Sad Ceremonies 37
  38. 38. Feeling Unappreciated? Kudos Board Road Block: Sad Ceremonies 38
  39. 39. No Recognition? Release Superstar Road Block: Sad Ceremonies 39 SUPERSTAR
  40. 40. ROAD BLOCK IV: Sad Ceremonies •Silent Retro’s •Daily Status Updates •Lack of Appreciation / Recognition 40 • Facilitate lively and engaging retrospectives (Image Only) • Encourage team ownership (Standup Team Takeover) • Provide opportunities for peer appreciation (Kudo’s Board / Release SS) MOLES WHACKING TOOLS Let’s Summarize…
  41. 41. … RESULTS? • Healthy, Happy, Respectful Team • … of Scrum Promoters! • … and Risk Takers • Who embraced the Core Scrum Values • … Commitment | Focus | Openness | Courage | Respect | • And held each other • … accountable • … by asking the hard questions 41
  42. 42. And Finally! 42
  43. 43. Teaming! (And Vodka!) 43
  44. 44. KEY TAKEAWAYS • Be Creative • Have Fun, Experiment • Identify Opportunities • Don’t Give Up!! 44
  45. 45. CONNECT WITH ME kimberly.andrikaitis@gmail.com LinkedIn: Kimberly Andrikaitis www.agile-dork.com 45
  46. 46. Any Questions? 46 ?
  47. 47. APPENDIX47
  48. 48. Feeling Empowered? 48 ✓ Construct innovative team building exercises ✓ Easily summarize the role of a ScrumMaster ✓ Increase team morale   ✓ Demonstrate active listening ✓ Encourage communication ✓ Cultivate a strong team identity ✓ Facilitate lively and engaging retrospectives ✓ Pinpoint and leverage global partners ✓ Regain meeting focus ✓ Gamify team resistance ✓ Encourage team ownership ✓ Provide opportunities for peer appreciation
  49. 49. Online (Mostly Free) Resources! 49 Website Address Description Used For Think Witty www.thinkwitty.com Various brain teasers and puzzles. Injecting fun (ie: Zebra Puzzle). Works best when prizes are awarded. Real Time Board or Mural www.realtimeboard.com www.mural.co Online whiteboard for remote team collaboration. Anything you can imagine! Image only retrospectives, kudos board, release superstar, sprint/PI planning, brainstorming, bullseye game, team agreements etc. 16 Personalities www.16personalities.com/ Personality Test which describes who you are and why you do things the way you do. Learning about your colleagues. *Tip! Visibly post your characters in a shared space for easy accessibility. Tricider www.tricider.com Tool for easy brainstorming, voting, decision making, crowdsourcing and idea generation. Deciding on team names, team events, logos etc. Random www.random.org Randomly reorders lists. Choosing volunteers for team demo’s, support rotation or meeting facilitator. This is a fantastic resource when you face team reluctance.
  50. 50. Online (Mostly Free) Resources! 50 Website Address Description Used For Online Stopwatch www.online-stopwatch.com Easy to use and accurate stopwatch with lap times and alarms. Keeping track of time during sprint demos, tight agendas or refinement/ grooming session. Google Earth https://www.google.com/ earth/ Explore the globe with a swipe of your finger. You’ll never have to travel again! Showing off your neighborhood / favorite coffee shop / most loved park to your global colleagues and vice versa. Slack www.slack.com A collaboration hub where you can Communicate efficiently, stay connected, and get things done faster. Sorry ya’ll. This one isn’t free. Staying connected with your colleagues, sharing photos/links/news etc (bloopers page). Kimberly Andrikaitis agile-dork.com Agile website containing blog posts, creative ideas and shopping! Purchasing MeetingMinders, connecting with Kim for future speaking engagements, keeping on top of her latest agile experiments.

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