remote teams and agile

Remote Team Management and Agile

Remote teams are becoming increasingly common in the modern workplace, and for compelling reasons.

Remote workers are reportedly more motivated and productive compared to the employees who commute.

Businesses also improve their employer value proposition (EVP) by allowing their employees to work remotely.

Read more about remote work’s benefits on another post.

But despite how it benefits businesses, remote work is not without its challenges, and managers must deal with these complications when operating remote teams. 

On the other hand, if managers want to keep the procedures agile, managing the team becomes all the more difficult.

Three factors need consideration in this situation:

  1. Communication
  2. Motivation
  3. Building rapport

Let’s talk about each of them in detail.

Communication 

Traditional agile development was originally for teams located in the same place; this approach believes that face-to-face communication is the most efficient. 

But face-to-face communication isn’t always possible in remote teams. The team members could be hours apart while working from different continents. 

Still, regular and efficient communication is essential in remote teams, even though it’s way harder to achieve compared to co-located offices.

Here are some tips to help keep the communication agile in remote teams:

  • Hold agile meetings

Keep your team members synced up through agile-style meetings. 

For example, hold 15-minute long daily scrum meetings if you’re using the scrum methodology, or hold sprint planning meetings between two sprints and include all the team members.

  • Coordinate across different time zones

Try to structure your teams according to your team members’ time zones and group the people with similar time zones together.

But don’t have one team bear all the burden and be available on odd hours. Everyone has to make an effort and stay flexible to coordinate across time zones.

  • Set clear guidelines 

It’s unlikely for all the team members to be available every time a problem occurs. 

Specify how sudden and unforeseen issues are to be handled. Maintain guidelines for bug reports, troubleshooting, and running tests and make sure everyone is well aware of these guidelines.

  • Check in regularly and on a predictable schedule

Overall, your remote team will be more functioning if your team members are self-disciplined. But even if they are, checking in with them is still vital; it makes them feel part of the team and valued and increases their work quality.

Regularly check in with your team members and give and take sufficient feedback (especially in the early stages), and schedule your checks in a way that doesn’t surprise them. 

  • Make use of communications tools

Choose the type of communication tool that suits your needs best.

There are numerous apps and programs you can use to connect your remote team members via instant messages or video calls, like Skype and Slack.

Motivation

  • Recruit motivated individuals 

Even though regular and efficient communication adds to the motivation of remote teams, they ought to be highly motivated themselves (even more than on-site employees). That’s because remote workers need to make more effort to communicate and stay engaged and on track.

You should be able to trust the people you hire, so make sure they are self-organized and self-motivated, especially if they are working remotely.

Building rapport

It’s more difficult for remote teams to build close relationships and be a part of the company culture since they don’t work in the office, but including them adds to their motivation and enhances the company’s EVP.

  • Make everyone feel part of the team

Include your remote team members in the decisions you make, engage them in the company’s activities, and inform them about any changes in the projects or the company.

  • Encourage impromptu interactions 

Impromptu and spontaneous interactions between team members are a source of knowledge and productivity. 

Encourage these interactions and create more opportunities through video calls (or even shared spaces). 

  • Set up get-togethers if possible

Building culture in person and having your team members work together is valuable for every one of your team members. 

Schedule get-togethers and trips once or twice a year; this helps your remote team members create stronger bonds with your company and also enhances your EVP.

Creating a balance between agility and managing remote teams is no easy task. But by using these tips, you’ll hopefully build a successful agile remote team.

But most importantly, make sure your company is primarily remote-friendly and is ready to accept remote work’s principals and challenges.

If you are planning on building a remote team, our network of vetted talents offers many individuals who are willing to work with you and be a part of your team. 

Find out more about our services at WinATalent.

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