How to manage distributed teams successfully

In Hugo’s workshop, participants will create a best practice board in teams of 5-6 people. The teams go through each block of ‘The Bridge Canvas’. The goal is to share best practices, ideas and experiences. Per block, each team selects the ‘best best practice’. At the end of the workshop, each team will present the best best practices for each block.

 

At the start of the workshop, Hugo shares a few best practices (personal ones + from other distributed agile experts). Each person gets a handout with clear instructions. This includes some questions to stimulate thinking within the team + some best practice examples per block.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

Duration: 45 minutes

 

Introduction 5 minutes

Hugo will introduce himself, the goal of the workshop and instructions + agenda.

Group brainstorming 5 minutes

  1. Everybody will put his business card/name on a board on the wall indicating on the y-axis the size of the company and on the x-axis the level of experience with distributed teams.
  2. Everyone can individually put post-it notes on the bridge canvas (large size on the wall), indicating what challenges they have experienced with managing distributed teams. The notes are put in each block of the canvas, so they’re grouped.

Concepts and materials 10 minutes

Hugo will share some best practices from his own experience and other’s related to each of the blocks of the Bridge Canvas. The main topics within each of the blocks, which we'll go through are:

  • Performance & metrics: Discuss with your team members how you measure company/team/individual performance and how you report the kpi’s to one another.
  • Culture: Discuss what impact you found cultural differences to have on your work
  • Team Spirit: Discuss with your team members what you (can) do to create a sense of being ‘one team’
  • Roles and responsibilities: Discuss how you have assigned roles and responsibilities within your team
  • Virtual office: Discuss how your virtual office looks
  • Tools: Discuss what tools work wonders to collaborate with your remote colleagues?
  • Communication Rhythm: Discuss how and when you hold meetings within your team
  • Process: Discuss with your team how you take a project from A to Z

Best practice sharing 20 minutes

The group will be split into teams of 5-6 people. Each team discusses the best practices they have learned (or which they find online/from other people), for each block. They can use the handouts for stimulating questions and examples of best practices.

Conclusion & action plan 5 minutes

Each person creates an action plan for his team. People can take the things they learned and put specific actions in each of the bridge canvas blocks. These actions can be taken as soon as they’re back in the office.

Learning Outcome

Key learning points:

  • Practical experiences from seasoned distributed team managers/coaches
  • Learn how to communicate smoothly across culture, distance and time
  • How to bridge cultural differences in distributed teams
  • How to apply agile methods to a distributed setting

Target Audience

Product owner, scrum master, project manager, team member, developer

schedule Submitted 1 year ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Tathagat Varma
    By Tathagat Varma  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Hugo, the proposal outline looks rather free-flowing and unstructured (even though the bridge canvas has specific boxes for some of the variables in a distributed setup). It might be helpful to make it a bit more structured in terms of discussing various variables and guiding the participants on some kind of first principles which could then be used by the participants to help evolve or fine-tune their own techinques based on their own unique context.

    • Hugo Messer
      By Hugo Messer  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi thatagat,

       

      Thanks for the feedback! In the handouts (the link is included in the slides field), I give people clear guidance on how to share best practices in every box. It includes the intro to each topic, some questions for discussion and some sample best practices. I will include some parts of this instruction in the outline today evening when I have a pc. I hope that is what you meant? 

       

      Hugo

      • Tathagat Varma
        By Tathagat Varma  ~  1 year ago
        reply Reply

        Thanks Hugo, I do see the focus on each of the building blocks. 

        How do you address if the attendees come up with any other factors apart from what you have in the bridge canvas? Further, would you have enough time to go into details for each of the blocks?

        • Hugo Messer
          By Hugo Messer  ~  1 year ago
          reply Reply

          It would be great if they came with such suggestions, then I could re-consider the blocks of my canvas. I think that most topics would fit into the (broad) themes that I included. 
          I will focus on the most important blocks. 90 minutes would have fit best for covering all blocks, but there is only 45 minute slots left. The most important blocks are the outer ones (process, metrics, culture, team spirit), so I will start with those and move inwards. I will offer options for participants to continue working with the canvas after the conference (through webinar and inhouse training options). 

    • Hugo Messer
      By Hugo Messer  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Tathagat

       

      I now added the main topics I will go through in the workshop, connected to the blocks in the canvas. Hope that creates more structure as you suggested?

      Let me know if you have any other suggestions!

      Hugo

  • Naresh Jain
    By Naresh Jain  ~  1 year ago
    reply Reply

    Thanks Hugo. Distributed Development is an important topic, however we don't have a 90 mins slot left. We've 1 last 45 mins slot. Do you think you can do just the "Teams develop best practice canvas" part in 45 mins?

    • Hugo Messer
      By Hugo Messer  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      I  have updated it in the submission as well. 

    • Hugo Messer
      By Hugo Messer  ~  1 year ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Naresh,

       

      thanks for the reply. Yes I have it in 45 minute format too. Here's the 45 minute schedule:

      Duration: 45 minutes

       

      Introduction 5 minutes

       

      Hugo will introduce himself, the goal of the workshop and instructions + agenda.

       

      Group brainstorming 5 minutes

       

      1. Everybody will put his business card/name on a board on the wall indicating on the y-axis the size of the company and on the x-axis the level of experience with distributed teams.
      2. Everyone can individually put post-it notes on the bridge canvas (large size on the wall), indicating what challenges they have experienced with managing distributed teams. The notes are put in each block of the canvas, so they’re grouped.

       

      Concepts and materials 10 minutes

       

      Hugo will share some best practices from his own experience and other’s related to each of the blocks of the bridge canvas. There’s a couple of slides and videos.

       

      Best practice sharing 20 minutes

       

      The group will be split into teams of 5-6 people. Each team discusses the best practices they have learned (or which they find online/from other people), for each block. They can use the handouts for stimulating questions and examples of best practices.

       

      Conclusion & action plan 5 minutes

       

      Each person creates an action plan for his team. People can take the things they learned and put specific actions in each of the bridge canvas blocks. These actions can be taken as soon as they’re back in the office.


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