What Is a Distributed Agile Team and Why It’s Important?
Agile is an adaptive software development method that has replaced the traditional predictive software development approach. According to the Agile Manifesto, “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.”
In the olden days, it was believed that all the team members work under the same roof and face to face communication was a necessity for team success. But companies started facing issues like lack of resources, high labor cost, and high investment in the infrastructure.
The concept of Distributed Agile Teams gives an alternative for all these issues and it opens easy access to a great global talent pool. It all started when companies started staffing employees from locations other than their own like India, Philippines, etc. the software talents were easily available. They also started outsourcing their work to other organizations resulting in a distributed team that is managed remotely from their own country. Work from their home/home country improved work-life balance and also the employee productivity to a large extent. The global talent pools help to reduce the recruitment and other overhead costs. It also allows recruiting the right people for a short or long span of time.
In simple words, a distributed agile team is a group of resources residing in multiple locations to achieve a common goal, with a shared understanding of the business processes of a project. This distributed agile practices will help IT companies to scale up by executing frequent releases and delivering high-quality codes. ‘All you need to know while making your remote team agile’, will throw further light on the tips to make an extremely agile remote/distributed team.
The most indispensable elements in the distributed agile method are:
• The company will be able to hire a high performing and talented workforce from the global talent pool.
• It’s proven that distributed teams are exceptionally self-organized and motivated.
• The distributed agile team works beyond cultures, languages, and geographies. This practice gives us a chance to learn more languages and also helps to accept other cultures.
The following key elements are primarily considered to scale up the distributed agile team.
Each individual has a vital role in building a successful team and they work for a common goal. The openness of team members helps to build trust and honesty among the team members and that results in a more inspired and motivated team.
2. Self Organizing
It is mentioned in the agile manifesto that “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” Team members should be mentored to take up responsibilities and initiatives and should be encouraged to do things in their own way.
We cannot call it a process, moreover, this meant to be a culture or a work practice. We have to groom each individual in the team to familiarize with this culture because each individual is vital in the formation of self-organized agile teams.
The team has to ensure the following key principles in their work culture:
Great commitment towards the work
Take ownership and responsibilities
Take good initiatives to achieve the team goal
Achieve personal goals
Team members should focus on the same goal
Productively help each other
Avoid command and control inside the team
Trust and respect each other
Effective communication and constant collaboration
Ask good questions and encourage to ask questions
Follow the Scrum framework
The organization has to take the following initiatives to create a productive self-organized team:
Educate about distributed agile and scrum framework
Motivate each member to take ownership regardless of the role
Appreciate team achievements and suggestions
Understand each employee skillset
Provide technical as well as behavioral Training
Provide mentoring, coaching and facilitation by the ScrumMaster
Frequently monitor the team’s behavior
Facilitate demand-based improvements
Proactiveness is an important quality that should be encouraged in a distributed agile team to overcome obstacles and achieve results. Since the team is located in a different remote location, there are more chances of having roadblocks due to a lack of understanding and diversion from the team goals.
4. Scrum Framework
It’s proven that the Scrum framework can work well with the distributed team because it cultivates cross-team collaboration.
There are several scrum ceremonies that are being conducted to accelerate team collaboration. Daily Stand Up, Sprint Planning, Product Backlog Grooming, Sprint Review, and Sprint Retrospective are the main scrum ceremonies conducted during the development period.
The distributed agile development method opens windows to the global market. This promotes the concept of the virtual team that helps to spread our team globally. As distributed teams are exceptionally self-organized and motivated, they benefit the entire operations in the organization by promoting frequent releases that increase customer satisfaction.
Moreover, in the current COVID-hit world, where work from home has become the ‘new normal’, distributed teams will be in great demand and will become a norm in the near future. Check out our e-books that are sure to help you polish your remote team management skills.