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Scrum Tutorial

What is a Distributed Team?Distributed Scrum teams are also called virtual teams or remote teams and can be defined as:Individuals working in the same team but located in different locations.Example: A single team with individuals in Bangalore, London, and New York would be a distributed team.Fig: Distributed TeamsAt large scale development, it often refers to:Different collaborating teams, ones that are not located in the same place.Example: A large project might need a team in Bangalore, another in London, and a third in New York. These teams are considered as distributed teams as each team is located in different cities.Fig: Collaborating Collocated Teams (Distributed Teams)Note: In the above example, the members of a particular geographic team that are co-located at one physical site (Team A and Team B) are called co-located teams and not distributed teams.Why do we choose to build Distributed Scrum teams?Scaling teams up in short time as per the fast-changing market conditions are crucial for businesses and distributed teams are the latest trend in workplace development. Many businesses are adapting to this new change to work with the best people in the industry. Though this is not a new concept, it is becoming a common organizational model as technology is making it easier for employees to work from any place. Ultimately, both businesses and employees are benefiting from the distributed teams.Team BenefitsEnhanced productivityIncreases self-confidenceReduces stress levelsFlexible working hoursBetter work-life balanceSaved commuting time.Business BenefitsFewer costsCloser to clientsHire talent anywhereMore productive workforce.According to a recent survey, it is predicted that by the year 2020, more than half of the company’s workforce would be working remotely. Moreover, studies have proved that remote workers have a higher satisfaction level and are extremely productive. It is very simple to understand why we choose to build distributed teams just by looking at the benefits of having a distributed team that are listed above.Who can have distributed teams?Distributed Scrum teams model is the right solution for you if your company falls into any of these categories:Companies starting something newCompanies looking to hire quicklyCompanies who require fast and flexible scalingTeams with skill gaps.Distributed Team challenges Managing a distributed team is not that easy. Despite all its benefits, there are a lot of challenges that we will face when working with remote teams. Now, let’s see some of the challenges and know how to handle them.Different Time ZonesDistributed teams usually have team members located across different time zones. This means scheduling meetings could be difficult as it is difficult to choose a time that is appropriate for everyone.Solution: In such a case, you can contact through email. Send all your questions to your team members and ask them to answer and also ask them to share their problems with you.Lack of CommunicationCommunicating with the team members working from across globally can be really challenging. The lack of communication is mainly because of different time zones and can cause delays in the work and can make employees working remotely to feel lonely.Solution: It’s essential to establish the right communication channels which help everyone to get the right information at the right time. It is necessary to provide guidelines about how to use each channel and ensure everyone understands the situation when to use them.Adopt the company cultureThis is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. This is mainly because the remote team members will have different communication styles, work ethics, context, values, and their cultures may differ completely.Solution: As remote workers do not follow the company rules and policies usually, tracking their behavior and activities is essential to achieve success with remote teams.As face-to-face interaction can take a long time getting them lined up with company culture, you could plan to gather all the remote team members together once in every few months.Lacking in building strong relationshipsIt is important to build long-term relationships with your team members and boost the same. But, as you communicate less frequently with your team members in a remote team set up, strengthening relationships becomes even more complex.Solution: Be more vulnerable which can help your team members share their problems with you without any hesitation. Find the perfect solution to their problems so that they can perform well.As communication is the heart of the Scrum Framework, special responsibilities have to be taken to beat the challenges while working within a distributed environment. So, all remote team members should have access to effective and powerful communication tools like webcams and video conferencing tools in order to break down communication barriers.Tips to Manage a distributed team:Focus on resultsStart using the right softwareStudy and compare other distributed companiesFollow up structured daily and weekly meetings.Distributed Scrum Model:Scrum Team in a Distributed EnvironmentScrum MasterThe role of Scrum Master is crucial in a distributed environment because the setups usually have more obstacles that need the attention and effort of the Scrum Masters. The Scrum Master should be actually located where the team is, or else it will be difficult to remove impediments in daily work. It is optional to have a local Scrum Master on the remote site.Product OwnerIt is important to have an actively involved and committed Product Owner in one geographic location even though the team is located in one or more different places as the Product Owner guides the team in delivering a successful project.The TeamAs the team itself is split between different locations, the team members need a real commitment to the working relationships, tools, and skills to deliver the working software.ConclusionDistributed teams are the future of work. Though distributed environments offer some unique challenges to Scrum teams, there are many possible ways to achieve success. Distributed Scrum teams are able to find that with some considerations and planning and can achieve efficient velocities while developing their own unique team relationships.
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Scrum Tutorial

Scrum With Distributed Teams

What is a Distributed Team?

Distributed Scrum teams are also called virtual teams or remote teams and can be defined as:

  • Individuals working in the same team but located in different locations.

Example: A single team with individuals in Bangalore, London, and New York would be a distributed team.


Distributed TeamsFig: Distributed Teams

At large scale development, it often refers to:

  • Different collaborating teams, ones that are not located in the same place.

Example: A large project might need a team in Bangalore, another in London, and a third in New York. These teams are considered as distributed teams as each team is located in different cities.


Collaborating Collocated Teams (Distributed Teams)Fig: Collaborating Collocated Teams (Distributed Teams)

Note: In the above example, the members of a particular geographic team that are co-located at one physical site (Team A and Team B) are called co-located teams and not distributed teams.

Why do we choose to build Distributed Scrum teams?

Scaling teams up in short time as per the fast-changing market conditions are crucial for businesses and distributed teams are the latest trend in workplace development. Many businesses are adapting to this new change to work with the best people in the industry. Though this is not a new concept, it is becoming a common organizational model as technology is making it easier for employees to work from any place. Ultimately, both businesses and employees are benefiting from the distributed teams.

Team Benefits

  • Enhanced productivity
  • Increases self-confidence
  • Reduces stress levels
  • Flexible working hours
  • Better work-life balance
  • Saved commuting time.

Business Benefits

  • Fewer costs
  • Closer to clients
  • Hire talent anywhere
  • More productive workforce.

According to a recent survey, it is predicted that by the year 2020, more than half of the company’s workforce would be working remotely. Moreover, studies have proved that remote workers have a higher satisfaction level and are extremely productive. It is very simple to understand why we choose to build distributed teams just by looking at the benefits of having a distributed team that are listed above.

Who can have distributed teams?

Distributed Scrum teams model is the right solution for you if your company falls into any of these categories:

  • Companies starting something new
  • Companies looking to hire quickly
  • Companies who require fast and flexible scaling
  • Teams with skill gaps.

Distributed Team challenges 

Managing a distributed team is not that easy. Despite all its benefits, there are a lot of challenges that we will face when working with remote teams. Now, let’s see some of the challenges and know how to handle them.

  • Different Time Zones

Distributed teams usually have team members located across different time zones. This means scheduling meetings could be difficult as it is difficult to choose a time that is appropriate for everyone.

Solution: In such a case, you can contact through email. Send all your questions to your team members and ask them to answer and also ask them to share their problems with you.

  • Lack of Communication

Communicating with the team members working from across globally can be really challenging. The lack of communication is mainly because of different time zones and can cause delays in the work and can make employees working remotely to feel lonely.

Solution: It’s essential to establish the right communication channels which help everyone to get the right information at the right time. It is necessary to provide guidelines about how to use each channel and ensure everyone understands the situation when to use them.

  • Adopt the company culture

This is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome. This is mainly because the remote team members will have different communication styles, work ethics, context, values, and their cultures may differ completely.

Solution: As remote workers do not follow the company rules and policies usually, tracking their behavior and activities is essential to achieve success with remote teams.

As face-to-face interaction can take a long time getting them lined up with company culture, you could plan to gather all the remote team members together once in every few months.

  • Lacking in building strong relationships

It is important to build long-term relationships with your team members and boost the same. But, as you communicate less frequently with your team members in a remote team set up, strengthening relationships becomes even more complex.

Solution: Be more vulnerable which can help your team members share their problems with you without any hesitation. Find the perfect solution to their problems so that they can perform well.

As communication is the heart of the Scrum Framework, special responsibilities have to be taken to beat the challenges while working within a distributed environment. So, all remote team members should have access to effective and powerful communication tools like webcams and video conferencing tools in order to break down communication barriers.

Tips to Manage a distributed team:

  • Focus on results
  • Start using the right software
  • Study and compare other distributed companies
  • Follow up structured daily and weekly meetings.

Distributed Scrum Model:

Distributed Scrum Models

Scrum Team in a Distributed Environment

Scrum Master

The role of Scrum Master is crucial in a distributed environment because the setups usually have more obstacles that need the attention and effort of the Scrum Masters. The Scrum Master should be actually located where the team is, or else it will be difficult to remove impediments in daily work. It is optional to have a local Scrum Master on the remote site.

Product Owner

It is important to have an actively involved and committed Product Owner in one geographic location even though the team is located in one or more different places as the Product Owner guides the team in delivering a successful project.

The Team

As the team itself is split between different locations, the team members need a real commitment to the working relationships, tools, and skills to deliver the working software.

Conclusion

Distributed teams are the future of work. Though distributed environments offer some unique challenges to Scrum teams, there are many possible ways to achieve success. Distributed Scrum teams are able to find that with some considerations and planning and can achieve efficient velocities while developing their own unique team relationships.

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