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How to manage distributed teams successfully

In Hugo’s workshop, participants will create a best practice board in teams of 5-6 people. The teams go through each block of ‘The Bridge Canvas’. The goal is to share best practices, ideas and experiences. Per block, each team selects the ‘best best practice’. At the end of the workshop, each team will present the best best practices for each block.

 

At the start of the workshop, Hugo shares a few best practices (personal ones + from other distributed agile experts). Each person gets a handout with clear instructions. This includes some questions to stimulate thinking within the team + some best practice examples per block.

 

Main Message: I will share practical experiences, pitfalls and solutions for setting up and managing remote teams. Depending on the level of experience of the audience with offshoring and nearshoring, I will talk about how to setup a team (country/team selection, preparation) OR how to get better at managing a current team.

 

Presentation Description: For audiences with little experience in offshoring, I will go through the why, where and how of offshoring. Why would you choose for a remote team? If you decide to do it, where do you go? What are the pros and cons of India, Eastern Europe, South America? What are the criteria for choosing one location over the other? I will dive into a few cultural differences and how to deal with them. Then we’ll cover the 3 main pitfalls many people walk into: 1. An ‘us versus them’ and ‘parent-child’ relationship; 2. Not enough preparation; 3. The black box approach. As a counter measure, I will discuss 3 solutions: 1. Focus on people; 2. Create a strong communication rhythm; 3. Empathy. I will also share our ‘Bridge Canvas’: a structured method to create clear expectations from both ‘sides’.

 

For more senior audiences, I will dive deeper into the Bridge Canvas and share best practices in each of the blocks. I will present cases from larger companies and compelling best practices that can be applied directly. The four themes I will dive into deeply are: cultural differences and how to bridge them effectively. Process and how to apply agile methodologies to a distributed setting. Team spirit: how to build a true feeling of ‘one team’ across distance, time and culture. And how to effectively measure performance, using a structured framework.

 

Key learning points:

• What are common pitfalls and best practices in offshoring and managing remote teams

• How to get started with offshoring (for an audience of beginners)

• Learn how to communicate smoothly across culture, distance and time

• How to bridge cultural differences in distributed teams

• How to apply agile methods to a distributed setting

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Idea No. 72