Remote First - A Behavioural Pattern for Product Team Design

This session proposes a behavioural pattern for building a successful remote first Product Team, as described by Martin Fowler in his article, Remote versus Co-Located Work, it is inspired by several classic GoF Design Patterns The Mediator, The Decorator, The Observer, The Strategy Pattern and the Adaptor Pattern.

The goal of this pattern is to provide a set of repeatable techniques which can be used to build a high performing, cross-functional remote-first product team. The pattern can used by product teams to take advantage of the many benefits arising from remote work, whilst attempting to correct for some of the possible disadvantages. This pattern introduces some restrictions on hiring, but independence of location is a key benefit.

The Remote First pattern has been developed over almost four years by a long-lived product team whose members are distributed across 17 time zones. The techniques, and approach to tooling and ways of working, described in the pattern have been identified and tested as a result of a great deal of trial and error, but have contributed to the growth and ongoing success of the team.

These patterns have been further implemented into parts of a multinational program with over 1500 team members to pressure test how they work 'at scale'. Key lessons from implementing this are shared to highlight key opportunities to build great teams independent of location.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

  • Background and Introduction 5 m
  • Challenges met and overcome 5 m
  • Introduction to Design Patterns as a knowledge sharing mechanism 5 m
  • The Pattern - Techniques and Tools 10 m
  • How to use the pattern to build a high performing team 10 m
  • Limitations and unsolved problems 5m
  • Questions 5m

Learning Outcome

Attendees will leave the session with a playbook of tools and techniques that can be applied, to intentionally set up a remote team for success. They will be provided with concrete examples of what to do, what to avoid and how to do it. Pattern-based design is not prescriptive but is intended to provide a reusable framework which can be applied in a given set of circumstances. Attendees will also learn how to identify when a particular pattern is applicable and when it is not.

Target Audience

Product Owners, Developers, Analysts - anyone who is working or considering working remotely - Leaders, Program Managers and Project managers who need to learn how to support their remote teams

Prerequisites for Attendees

No prerequisite knowledge required

schedule Submitted 10 months ago

Public Feedback

comment Suggest improvements to the Speaker
  • Anand Bagmar
    By Anand Bagmar  ~  9 months ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Kelsey, Peter,

    I think the CD-DevOps track may not be the correct fit for this submission. Can you please revisit and update this?

    • Kelsey van Haaster
      By Kelsey van Haaster  ~  9 months ago
      reply Reply

      Thank you, Anand,  I selected this because as a team we embrace and apply CD-DevOps approaches in our work, however, I realise this may not be obvious from the proposal.  I have updated the track to Agile Mindset, since this is fundamental to our approach, however,  I am happy to take further advice.  I think that Business Agility could also be a fit.


      Kind Regards



      • Tathagat Varma
        By Tathagat Varma  ~  9 months ago
        reply Reply

        Thanks Kelsey. It sounds like some interesting ideas. 

  • Vivek Ganesan
    By Vivek Ganesan  ~  9 months ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Kelsey and Peter,

    The video link ( doesn't seem to be working. Can you please verify if that is correct?

    Thank you.

    • Kelsey van Haaster
      By Kelsey van Haaster  ~  9 months ago
      reply Reply

      Thank you Vivek, my apologies, I have updated the link. Please let me know if it continues to be problematic.