Distributed Scrum teams are also called virtual teams or remote teams and can be defined as:
Example: A single team with individuals in Bangalore, London, and New York would be a distributed team.
At large scale development, it often refers to:
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.
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.
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.
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.
Distributed Scrum teams model is the right solution for you if your company falls into any of these categories:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.