Building and scaling effective distributed teams

Building and scaling effective distributed teams

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Lindsay Holmwood

November 27, 2017
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  1. Building and scaling effective distributed teams Lindsay Holmwood

  2. About me Worked in and lead distributed software engineering teams

    for 7 years
  3. About me Lead teams with follow-the-sun coverage

  4. About me Currently at Envato leading distributed team of 15

  5. The journey
 0. Fundamentals 1. Starting out 2. Growing the

    team 3. Scaling to the whole org
  6. Inclusion Practices 
 Technology Sponsorship

  7. No management buy in? Don’t even bother.

  8. Starting out

  9. Inclusion Practices 
 Technology Sponsorship

  10. Regular face to face catchups. Ideal: once a quarter

  11. Regular face to face catchups. Likely: once a year

  12. Establish rituals

  13. Multiple internet connections Dongle with lots of data

  14. Multiple internet connections Don’t skimp on quality (fast upload a

    must)
  15. Multiple internet connections Move to areas with NBN

  16. Multiple internet connections Have backup equipment

  17. Instant messaging Non-negotiable, primary comms method

  18. Instant messaging Your lifeline to your team.

  19. Instant messaging Scheduled do not disturb time

  20. Instant messaging Announce start/stop

  21. Ceremonies: Daily standup Rotate the facilitation responsibility

  22. Ceremonies: Retrospectives Discuss and refactor practices

  23. Leadership participation Show endorsement. Build empathy.

  24. Growing the team

  25. Inclusion Practices 
 Technology Sponsorship

  26. The basics Even more important!

  27. The basics Bring in coaches to observe and facilitate.

  28. Hack: Greet everyone to check

  29. Hack: Ask questions in the negative “Does anyone disagree?” not

    “Do we all agree?”
  30. Team design: Time zone coverage How many time zones? How

    much time zone overlap?
  31. Team design: Time zone coverage Add people in new time

    zones in pairs.
  32. Team design: Time zone coverage Beginning & end of day

    standups.
  33. Team design: Time zone coverage Record crucial meetings.

  34. Team design: Antipattern: Forcing everyone to work at exactly the

    same time
  35. Team design: Antipattern: Communication in physical spaces that excludes remoters

  36. Team design: Antipattern: Activities that exclude remoters (use of whiteboards)

    (in-person icebreakers)
  37. Google Quick Draw

  38. Team design: Defining question How would this decision make me

    feel if I was working from home?
  39. Leadership participation Show endorsement. Build empathy.

  40. Scaling to the whole org

  41. Inclusion Practices 
 Technology Sponsorship

  42. What does it take to make distributed teams a first

    class citizen in the organisation?
  43. The executive and management working remotely at least 2 days

    a week.
  44. Guilds Share lessons learnt with other teams

  45. Feedback loops Keep refactoring your ways of working.

  46. Feedback loops “What got us here won’t get us there."

  47. Thank you!
 (and questions?)