balance-distributed-teams-300x225Distributed agile can work, but it is risky. Even more than traditional agile implementations, teams tend to fall into two failure modes: “command as control” or team fragmentation.

Distribution between teams or team members can be considered along two distinct dimensions: separation and project gravity. Distribution, including physical distance, is the most commonly recognized barrier to effective distributed teams. Gravity is the other, less recognized dimension of separation and is some stable center which teams can organize around. This can take the form of a stable product backlog, a clear mission, or an inspiring product owner. Lack of a clear model to guide your is risky.

  • Where does your project sit along the dimensions of separation?
  • How is your balance?
  • Will you know if your projects balance is off?

Both dimensions of distribution, can be used to guide and suggest remedial actions when needed. Leadership must be aware of both dimensions of a team/project’s distribution, and act accordingly. Teams need an appreciation for what is working and take ownership of their protocol for effective communication. Bringing these together is the mission of this course.

Agile Distributed Teams Course – 2 Days

Protocols and techniques that enable better distributed team work patterns.

Use protocols and tools to make your teams more effective Create synergies between two or more teams separated by distance Leverage the proven power of Scrum with remote team members

agile-distributed-teams

Detailed Description and Course Outline

Brief

Attendees will have a unique, challenging, and rewarding experience. This course goes beyond presentation of theory by allowing attendees to internalize the ideas via a powerful combination of applied exercises, reflection, and learning. Attendees will learn techniques for joining and setting up “well-formed agile teams” across distances, and apply these techniques in experiential exercises. This course is built on proven principles of systems thinking, team process concepts, agile product development, human interaction and creativity. Attendees will have numerous opportunities for interactive discussion with the instructor and each other. You will not find this course elsewhere!

Why?

Agile methodologies warn how critical it is to co-locate teams in the same room, but this is not always practical. Distributed or “virtual” teams are a reality of business today. Offshoring, flex-work schedules, multiple corporate offices, and other forces create pressures to achieve results even when team members are scattered across the globe.

But most of these distributed teams seem to prove the Agile warnings right by demonstrating old habits of waterfall behavior. Long cycle times and endless requirements revision are the norm, status reporting takes up far too much time, and individual leaders dominate the team. Management direction gets lost in a sea of process and tools instead of manifesting as tangible, quality product.

How can we realize the benefits of Agile product development – hyperproductivity, high-quality products, self-organization, elimination of waste, and rapid releases – when team members are not sitting next to each other?

This is the challenge of business in the 21st century: how to work effectively at a distance. This course is where you will meet that challenge: how to create and sustain tightly-knit, effective Agile distributed teams.

Goals

This course cuts to the heart of Agile behavior, leveraging foundational principles and the power of Scrum (an Agile framework) to help those facing the unique challenges of their distributed teams. You will learn:

  • Agile attractors – the universal forces of effective product development, values for basic human interaction, and how to negotiate the complexities of team interaction face-to-face or miles apart
  • Creating distributed teams for maximum effectiveness – choosing initial members for a new distributed team, joining the team as a new member, and scaling, while boosting productivity, quality, and creativity
  • Setting up and improving your team’s protocols – examples of protocols that work for collocated teams vs. those that work for distributed teams, and criteria for evaluating your own team protocols
  • Enabling the power of self-organization – empowering the team to be “pulled” by their product rather than “pushed” by a dictatorial leader; critical roles for distributed product development
  • How to thrive instead of merely survive – leveraging “feedback loops of trust,” both within the team and with those outside the team, to actually increase team effectiveness over time

This course is based on experiential learning. Participants will practice in applied simulations and pull out real-life examples and case studies. This will involve participants totally in the experience of applying these topics to their own unique challenges.

Who Should Attend

  • Product Managers / Product Owners and Project Champions / Department Heads facing projects depending on the expertise of distributed staff
  • Project Managers, Team Leads / Team Coaches, ScrumMasters leading teams with geographically distant members
  • Business Analysts, Software Analysts, Architects, QA Analysts, Developers and Testers who want to maximize their productivity on distributed teams
  • Process Advocates who want to fit the needs of distributed teams with the process standards of their organization
  • Co-located teams who need strong interactions with remote vendors, clients, or other resources

Prerequisites

Participants should have some experience with team-based development of a deliverable product.

Course Details

Length: 2 days

Size: Class is limited to 21 participants for maximum student benefit

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