What is a Distributed Scrum Team? Tips to Manage and Build an Effective Distributed Team

A distributed scrum team refers to a team where individuals work in the same team on the same project but are located in different locations physically. The distributed scrum team also refers to virtual teams or remote teams, which means that being a distributed team member, you can work from your desired location and collaborate with other team members located at some different location.

Tips to Manage and Build an Effective Distributed Team

Any distributed team for software development should follow the Scrum principle for clear communication, transparency, and dedication towards continuous improvements of the final results. Some of the distributed teams best practices are:

  • Focus on results
  • Use the right software
  • Study and compare other distributed agile industries
  • Follow the structure for daily and weekly meetings

When all these steps are followed, the distributed scrum team can better process the product, and all the operations can run smoothly. Apart from this, the other two essential ways that one has to follow while building and managing the Scrum in software engineering are:

  • It would help if you did reality checks of transparency and communication at the proper time.
  • Experimenting on different exercises and activities that would be relevant to a distributed agile environment.

Below are the three essential tips for managing the distributed teams in agile:

1. Fix a flexible structure for work

It is difficult to find a proper structure among the chaos when your team is working remotely. Flexibility does involve not only the time of work but also the other operations of the product development. Scrum helps the developers write only the meta-information about the product and fill the blank space with the content suitable for the product.

When we talk about the flexibility of the team members, the following has to be discussed:

  • The flow of meetings: The answer for the questions like when meetings will take place, the meeting agenda, and who needs to be present are found.
  • Expectations: It is needed when working with a large team, and the developers have to mention what they are achieving and what they expect from one another. It is a group activity where the interactions and transparency between the distributed scrum team are improved.
  • Which agile tool to be used: Here, the techniques like writing a DoD, a DoR, team contract, etc., are included.

2. Build trust among distributed agile team

Building transparency between the distributed scrum team members is challenging as the team is divided and lacks trust. Hence, building a foundation for trust becomes crucial for effective collaboration. Trust is the critical factor that needs to be built on both sides, i.e., the technical team with the client or the entire business on the client-side.

Businesses and developers have to collaborate efficiently and effectively to build the agile between different locations by the scrum team.

3. Reality check in distributed scrum team:

  • Does a manager communicate the feedback directly?
  • Are sprint retrospectives conducted regularly after every sprint cycle? How does the team react to it?
  • Are the impediments taken into consideration by the rest of the team and Scrum Master?

Tips for building trust among scrum team members:

  • Agreeing with the suggestions that are in good intentions for the success of the project. The members should take responsibility for their actions and not blame others if a specific product increment fails.
  • Setting up the ground rule that everyone has to follow like:
  • How to communicate with each other during urgent issues?
  • Setting a time window when no one should be disturbed for non-urgent communications.
  • Introducing different forms of communication and understanding that suits the best as a team.

4. Building self-regulation and self-reliance

Everyone in the distributed scrum team should take responsibility and ownership of their work as a self-managing team. It requires maturity and taking the leadership of their task and later expanding it to the whole team.

Self-management, self-reliance, and trust are all interconnected qualities among the team members. They are directly proportional to each other, and therefore, if one of the factors increases, the other two automatically increase.

What should you look out for?

  • Is the goal being delivered at the end of the distributed agile development?
  • How is the team accountable for their work and action?
  • Do distributed team members share their responsibilities and help each other to fulfill the common goal?
  • Can distributed teams describe their current goal and what tasks they are performing to accomplish them?
  • Are the members of the team giving feedback to one another?
  • Do people trust each other with responsibilities?

Tips to increase the self-reliance in the team

  • Set up the ground rules for the team to collaborate. It becomes easier for everyone to understand their limits and let them know their tasks and expectations.
  • Writing down the final goal and the expected task that everyone has to complete. Telling the team members to hold them accountable for their work.
  • Find the solution to the problem that arises for the distributed team. Some issues like members attending meetings late often should be handled with care, and the whole team should find a solution together.

Originally published here.

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Author: Mitul Makadia

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