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Lessons Learned About Successful Distributed Agile Teams (4 Years and Counting…)

Mark Kilby
March 07, 2024
24

Lessons Learned About Successful Distributed Agile Teams (4 Years and Counting…)

Co-presented with Johanna Rothman at the March 6, 2024 at https://www.meetup.com/enterprise-agile-global/events/298075608/

Before the pandemic, people told us, "Agile approaches don't work for distributed teams!" Then came the pandemic, and everyone figured it out—more or less.

However, many teams now work in ways they call "hybrid." The most challenging forms for any distributed team are the satellite team or the cluster team. When those teams assume that they can work as if they were all collocated, they tend to lose their agility.

Instead, teams can use the eight principles for successful distributed agile teams and optimize for those principles instead of location.

The principles are:

* Establish acceptable hours of overlap
* Create transparency at all levels
* Create a culture of continuous improvement with experiments
* Practice pervasive communication at all levels
* Create a project rhythm
* Assume good intention
* Create a culture of resilience
* Default to collaborative work

In this presentation, Johanna and Mark will show you how to use these principles to create practices that work for your distributed agile team.

Mark Kilby

March 07, 2024
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Transcript

  1. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby In 3-5 words,

    how have things changed for you over the past four years? (Put in chat) 2
  2. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby “Hybrid” is the

    new normal But “Hybrid” has at least two meanings 3
  3. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby 2 Types of

    Hybrids: Satellite and Cluster 4
  4. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby Complex Hybrid Teams

    5 Cluster & Satellite Teams combined
  5. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby How much control

    do you have over your work? • Work Space (and Tools) • Hours of Overlap • Communications (and backchannel) • Team Affiliation and Collaboration • Flow of the work through the team • Visualizations of Work 6
  6. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby Resource Efficiency vs

    Flow Efficiency • Resource efficiency looks efficient • But, everything takes longer because of the delays between people • Exposes management's desire for control • Agile teams work best in flow efficiency 8
  7. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby Focus on These

    Principles for Hybrid • Establish acceptable hours of overlap. • Create transparency at all levels. • Create a culture of continuous improvement with experiments. • Practice pervasive communication at all levels. • Assume good intention. • Create a project rhythm. • Create a culture of resilience. • Default to collaborative work. 9
  8. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby 1. Establish Acceptable

    Hours of Overlap • Visualize “when” people can collaborate • Fewer than four hours and agile approaches might not work for your team • Chart has hours—your team might need to work in 20-30 minute blocks 10
  9. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby 4. Practice Pervasive

    Communication • Hybrid teams require all communication options. 12
  10. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby 7. Create a

    Culture of Resilience • Context matters: • Workspace control? • Communication options? 14
  11. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby Hybrid Resilience Takes

    Many Forms • Who is in which locations which days? • When the in-person people can't find a conference room • When anyone's visuals or audio goes down • Network connection issues • Tool access • In-person only-conversations • (what else have you seen?) 15 Photo by Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash
  12. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby 8. Default to

    Collaboration • Often, hybrid thinking reinforces solo work (resource efficiency thinking) • Agility requires much more collaboration. 16
  13. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby Create a Value

    Stream Map • Value stream map helps you see your team’s system • How can your team support everyone’s work to create an outcome? 17
  14. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby Measure Cycle Time

    • How optimistic is this cycle time for your team? 18
  15. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby Hybrid Can Succeed...

    • Clarify your working agreements about: • Hours of overlap • How you will communicate • Create a team that's sufficiently autonomous and collaborative • Focus on the flow of work through the team, not what any one person does 23
  16. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby All the Principles

    1. Establish acceptable hours of overlap. 2. Create transparency at all levels. 3. Create a culture of continuous improvement with experiments. 4. Practice pervasive communication at all levels. 5. Assume good intention. 6. Create a project rhythm. 7. Create a culture of resilience. 8. Default to collaborative work. 24
  17. © 2024 Johanna Rothman & Mark Kilby Let’s Stay in

    Touch • The book: https:// jrothman.com/SDAT • Johanna’s Pragmatic Manager newsletter: www.jrothman.com/ pragmaticmanager • Please link with Johanna on LinkedIn 25 • Hours of Overlap including Chart: https://markkilby.com/Hours-of-Overlap • Hybrid Remote Resources - https://markkilby.com/hybrid-remote/ • Subscribe to Mark’s Differability newsletter - https://markkilby.com/news • Reach out to Mark at https:// markkilby.com/contact-me/