Achieving Success with Distributed Teams

Have you ever tried to build software with someone in a different city than you? If you have, chances are you have experienced some level of failure. I'm going to share a story of a distributed team that is more successful than most co-located teams. By the way, this team happens to be using scrum. Join me to learn what makes this team successful and the trade-offs of using a distributed team. Then, let's figure out how to replicate this success in your team.

BIO:
Josh Woodcock is a professional agile software development manager, leadership coach, and executive consultant. Josh has worked in both highly technical and business focused roles in the financial, investment real estate, point of sale, and internet marketing sectors.

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  • Charles S.

    I thought it was an interesting discussion. Since I had read a little of Josh's bio and the description I expected his experience did not involve an offshore team. Three key differences this team has vs my current experience are 1. Small Company, 2. Time Zone similarity, 3. high skill level. Instead my experience (and from the conversation at the meeting I would expect others have something similar) is large company, only 1-2 hours of time sharing, low skill level. This compounded by the culture differences, and lack of experience with agile.
    A meeting (maybe round table or panel discussion) around issues working with what seems to be the more typical "offshore" experience might be interesting to a large number of people in the community. I'm sure there are people who have had successful experiences doing this.

    1 · February 19, 2014

  • Michael

    Me too, I was expected more best practice for the work with out overlap time. How to manage the dev and scrumaster not in the same time zone with around 10h diff, how to deal with daily scrum meeting, retrospective, poker sizing etc ... if some people can share some best practice. It will be very nice.

    But the experience of Josh was also interesting

    February 19, 2014

  • John H.

    To be honest I was expecting more of the real world problems. Josh had a very specific case that was almost setup for success. Most distributed teams are far from his sweet spot. I would really like to see some of the economic justification for offshoring rather than a select group of highly talented individuals. Truth - I learned nothing tonight. Sorry Josh.

    February 18, 2014

    • Josh W.

      John. I like that idea. I definitely would be interested in learning more about economic justification for off-shoring as well. Maybe we can suggest it as a topic?

      February 19, 2014

  • Mark N.

    I ended up working late and missed this meeting. Looks like I missed something good and hope to make the next one!!!

    February 19, 2014

  • Marci

    This was my first time to attend so I wasn't sure what to expect. I thought that both the material presented and the comments from the attendees were insightful. Best advice that I heard: "How would you handle it if you were co-located?" and "Video video video!"

    1 · February 19, 2014

  • Michael H.

    I thought it was a good meeting. The comments from those attending were very helpful to me.

    February 19, 2014

  • Josh W.

    I'm looking forward to hearing about some of the things that you all are trying. Please share your experiences. Here's the slides as promised. There is more detail into what the team is doing toward the end.
    http://www.slideshare.net/JoshWoodcockPMIACPPS/achieving-success-with-distributed-teams-31369459

    February 18, 2014

  • John G.

    We are talking synchronous environments and I have done this before! You have to understand what your you distributed team segment is responsible for. Has anyone ever worked with teams in different time zones before?

    I had a discussion over the weekend on how easy it is to acclimate oneself to the time zone of you team segment. Prior setup and organization is a two level issue. Management and the SD's figure what the offshore team is to do. Depending on the country you get a translation program started. My goals say as a PM or BA would be in working on the planning of the segment to offshore with the SM/Team. I was studying capital markets while taking my degree online. I had to organize my needs for the initial start program to summarily adjust once I accomplished my target moving on the next part. Patterns were what I was working on that would give me the ROI.

    February 17, 2014

    • Josh W.

      John, it sounds like you have some great ideas. Hopefully we don't miss them tomorrow.

      February 17, 2014

  • John G.

    I have a scheduling conflict tomorrow night with a meeting. Will try not to miss the meeting.

    February 17, 2014

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