Scrum Team Building Across Multiple ContinentsI have been recently working with a Scrum team that is spread between 2 continents at first I was doubtful of how successful a team with so many differences could be. During the Southampton meet I had the opportunity to ask for some help.
We came up with the following 5 ideas during a lean coffee session.
Nothing can replace face to face contact, try to send different members of the team and make sure it’s not just one-sided. The time spent with the other half of the team will be invaluable. They will hopefully go back to their home office understanding the team more and being able to share this with the other team members.
When face to face contact isn’t possible then always strive to use a video chat over voice only. The market is saturated with video conferencing options so there really isn’t any excuse. For that extra edge try installing a permanent link between the 2 offices so that members of the team can be contacted real-time.
Start the daily stand up with a chat
Just like the initial hello you have with colleagues in your own office it is important to ask the other office how their evening went. It is also nice to do a bit of research on upcoming festivals and perhaps even do a themed day in the office to really get in the spirit.
Team building exercises
Team building is key to any successful scrum team but even more so when the team isn’t collocated. Some nice little games can be found here however my favourite is a game of speed dating. This can be done to cover personal or work related information. A summary of the latter can be found here.
Get others to facilitate some of the meetings
Try mix things up a little get members of the offshore team to be stand in Scrum Master during holidays or run one of the retrospectives or reviews. This can be a good way to get everyone to feel equal and equally involved in the success of the team.
Working with a Scrum team that is not co-located is always going to add an extra challenge. However through the use of technology it is easier than ever to perform Scrum team building exercises that will help make a success of what most would agree a difficult situation.
Written by John Barratt Director of www.edgeitagile.com