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A look at successful distributed collaboration Yvette Francino 1.

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Presentation on theme: "A look at successful distributed collaboration Yvette Francino 1."— Presentation transcript:

1 A look at successful distributed collaboration Yvette Francino 1

2 2 Advantages of Distributed Teams  With photo illustrations

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10  Split group into two groups: ◦ Those who have phones available (remote) ◦ Those who will be working Face-to-Face  Scenario: ◦ You are a developer and tester that have been asked to pair together. Determine a communication strategy.  Each person pick either an A or B card with further instructions. 10

11 Tack: So how do you feel about the advantages of co-location? DHH: Tack, incredibly overrated. Being in the same room occasionally is great, but I would much rather work with A players remotely than B players in the same office, if that’s the choice. remote-workers But problems are real and must be considered… Get ready to take notes. 11

12  Preconceived biases  Team configurations  Ways to build trust  Disadvantages of distributed teams and how to deal with them  Technologies and tools  Advantages of distributed teams  Communication plans  Experiments and ideas  Next steps for your teams 12

13  What are preconceived biases we have about working remotely vs. face-to-face?  What have your personal experiences been with working on distributed teams? 13

14 "From the moment two team members meet, each will make inferences related to what they see today by what they experienced in the past. These inferences can produce positive effects, wherein someone with a high trusting disposition may connect and bond earlier with remote colleagues. This is contrary to someone with a low disposition for trust who may not bond with coworkers because trivial matters are creating cognitive blockages for them." 14

15  What is your team configuration? How many people at different sites? What time zones? What differences in languages and cultures? 15

16  All at a common location (co- located)  Subgroups of people at different sites  Some groups at common site, others “isolates”  All people work from anywhere (100% distributed) 16

17 In-group/out-group effects in distributed teams: an experimental simulation “We found that the collocated people formed an in-group, excluding the isolates. But, surprisingly, the isolates also formed an in-group, mainly because the collocated people ignored them and they responded to each other.” 17

18  What is the best way to build trust between team members? 18

19 I’ve been in industry for close to twenty years. I’ve been through team-building exercises at companies large and small, and the biggest lesson I’ve taken from them is: Nothing builds a team like getting the work done. I’ve been through “trust building” exercises that involve blindfolds and obstacle courses — but the real source of trust is handing someone a task and having it show up when you need it (or earlier!), with quality work behind it. ~ Rob Crawford commenter on Mike Cohn blog post: build-trust-through-early-progress 19

20  "Transparency breeds trust" ~ Steve Wilson, Oracle  Have one-on-one conversations with team- mates  Pair people that are not face-to-face  Share your whole self... photos, hobbies, humor, emotions  Take an interest in one another  Be reliable; Follow-through on commitments  Engage in conversation and discussion  Set up communication plan  Do virtual team-building using games / remote technologies 20

21  What are the real issues involved in working with someone in a remote fashion? 21

22  Cannot see body language  Technology issues  When you aren’t seen, it’s easier to practice poor work habits.  Time zone issues  Language and culture differences  Task switching and churn to get something done  Social bonds may be more difficult 22

23  Cannot see body language ◦ Skype, Videocams, Phone, Communicate!  Technology issues ◦ Spend the time to build a high-performing infrastructure  When you aren’t seen, it’s easier to practice poor work habits. ◦ Don’t multi-task, Engage, Over-communicate if needed  Time zone issues ◦ Share the pain, Be flexible, Follow-the-Sun  Language and culture differences ◦ Take an interest / Pair / Mentor  Task switching and churn to get something done ◦ Work together to brainstorm solutions for efficiency  Social bonds may be more difficult ◦ Photos, social media, share of yourself, be reliable 23

24  What tools and technologies can we use to facilitate strong collaboration of distributed teams? 24

25  Cloud Computing ◦ Allows the sharing of information and access from anywhere that has Internet access.  Social Media ◦ Allows us to “befriend” one another and mix social and business  Mobile Devices ◦ Allows us to bring our computing power anywhere 25

26  Skype, Google Docs  DropBox, Box.net  Yammer, Chatter  IRC, FlowDock  JIRA, Confluence  Crucible  GitHub, Mercurial  Selenium  TightVNC  Pivotal tracker, Trellio  OnTime, Urban Turtle  BaseCamp  Redmine, ScrumDesk  Mantis, Rally, Trak  Jenkins, Cruise Control  Team Central  TopCoder, oDesk  MyGengo, Smartling  Zendesk  NetworkedHelpdesk.org 26

27  What advantages do you get from distributed teaming? 27

28  Diversity  Opens up world of opportunity to find best skills  Communicate, collaborate, and create outputs without time / location constraints  Puts everyone on an equal playing field  Consistency in use of tools and processes  One source of record for documentation  Allows for work-from-anywhere - No one is "out of the loop.“  Takes advantage of new modes of communication: cloud, social media, video, recordings, mobile  Removes barriers / silos of physical walls or location  Teams built on trust - not on need to "see" one another  More task-oriented (can be more productive depending on personality) 28

29  What guidelines can you set in a communication plan to help ensure strong communication and collaboration from a distance and strengthen trust? 29

30 Clear rules or expectations when using certain types of technology Clear definition of what effective work completion means Agreement to team charters laying out general team norms and expectations Project planning including time lines and specified team member outcomes Documentation and reporting systems, including the electronic archive Availability expectations 30

31  What ideas do you have for improving distance collaboration on your team? 31

32  Optional Work-From-Home Fridays  Pair “isolate” team members with “site” team members to make sure they have equal visibility into meetings and other discussions.  Do virtual team building exercises designed to get to know your remote team members personally.  Create a distributed team who’s goal is to continually improve distributed teaming within the organization. 32

33  Evaluate Team ◦ What technologies and tools are you using? ◦ What is the team configuration? ◦ What are the issues your team is encountering  Have 1:1 conversations with each team member ◦ What is their communication style? ◦ Ask for feedback in what could be done to create a stronger team  Implement ideas and re-evaluate periodically 33

34  Software developer for 17 years at IBM and Diner’s Club International  Managed distributed teams for 10 years (Development, QA) at Sun Microsystems  Site Manager for SearchSoftwareQuality.com with a focus on Agile ALM (Application Lifecycle Management)  Agile Distributed Collaboration Coach ◦ /


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