8 Elements of Successful Distributed Agile Teams

location_city Washington schedule Oct 15th 03:15 - 04:00 PM place Room 6 people 14 Interested

The common advice for a distributed agile team is, “Don’t do that!” And, we know that at least half of all agile teams are distributed. The common advice isn’t working or useful.

However, many distributed teams have problems using agile approaches. Too often, they don't understand how to adapt to this very different environment. In this talk, Mark Kilby will walk you through eight elements of successful distributed agile teams, and how you might take small steps and giant leaps to increase your team’s success.


Outline/Structure of the Talk

  • Brief intro to my 14 years of experience with distributed agile teams (not by choice, but by a series of curious events)
  • Describe the 4 environmental elements external to the team (with examples in each)
    • Acceptable hours of overlap (instead of time zone juggling) - including tools and tips
    • Create transparency at all levels in the virtual org - with a few examples including onboarding new employees
    • Create a culture of continuous improvement (personal, team and org level examples)
    • Practice pervasive communication (and why and when you might echo certain messages)
  • Describe the 4 elements internal to a team (with more examples)
    • Assume good intent (with a simple exercise to learn team preferences online to build working agreements)
    • Creating a project rhythm (and why allowing each team to find it's rhythm may be best for virtual teams)
    • Creating resilience by communicating beyond work issues (with examples of sharing personal context can help virtual teams adjust to hazards and opportunities)
    • Default to collaboration over solo work (how virtual teams that focus on collaboration are not only sustainable but fun)
  • Will include a worksheet that allows participants to think about where they are now with their distributed teams and how they might take first steps.

Learning Outcome

  • What are distributed agile principles? How can these new principles be derived from original agile and lean principles and the distributed context?
  • Seeing the principles as a spectrum and how being outside of a “sweet spot” on the spectrum puts distributed teams in difficult environments.
  • What are different types of distributed agile teams? In what conditions do they work well and where are there pitfalls?
  • Understanding the advantage of “hours of overlap” rather than struggling with time zones.

Target Audience

Coaches, scrummasters, managers or any leader who works with distributed teams.

Prerequisites for Attendees

You should have experience with successful agile teams in a collocated environment and may be struggling with achieving this same success with distributed teams.


schedule Submitted 2 years ago

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