Are you, or have you ever been, a member of a distributed Agile team? Tell us about it.

What was great? What wasn't so great? What was surprising? What would you like to try differently next time? etc.

There is an old saying in software (so not that old), that "latitude hurts but longitude kills". I've been working with distributed teams (agile and otherwise) for 17 years and I can easily say this is true. Having team members in different time zones in the United States is a mild difficulty. Having a team split between Chicago and Hyderabad is close to impossible (never stops people from trying).

In order to work effectively with a team in software you must have constant and deep communication. Even with the best tools at your disposal (Slack, Hangouts etc), having literally ZERO common work hours that aren't a pain for one party or another makes communication a major problem. Eventually one side or the other is waiting 12 hours for someone else to respond to something.

I'm not trying to say people shouldn't work with the other side of the world, I think an organization can easily make it work but you have to be willing to keep it fairly self contained. A team in China should totally own the thing it's working on and not need constant input from a PO or architect or another team in Boston.

So where is the line for a team? I'd probably put it at 70% common core working hours (8-5 for most).


Mark Kilby and others suggested a 4-hour minimum overlap time.


I've only ever been distributed !

the basics. Video conference, immaculate calendaring and well manicured visible electronic boards. Also ignore dogma.


"Distributed" starts when you leave the team room. I've worked with many "distributed teams" that are in the same building.


Gregory Brown on Twitter with a thread of remote tips

Builiding a sufficiently shared view of what it is we do is incredibly important. Everybody doesn't have to be on the same page (which is actually a good thing) but they do have to be in the same book. Breaking long-held assumptions -- or getting buy-in on suspension of disbelief -- is non-trivial, but part of the process. Transmuting the finely tuned notion of "mine" into "ours" takes some effeort.

But when you get there -- when you get some flow -- results can be startling.