In my latest post I discussed one part of the presentation I gave a week ago for a group of senior HR managers. I shared my experience using the one page strategic plan for leading distributed teams.
The second topic I discussed was how to create a real team spirit, how to create bonding and engagement in remote team collaboration. Many people that work remotely, away from the head office of an organisation, are far away from the ‘action’, from the ‘coffee talk’. There’s also less time to discuss how to collaborate and communicate. Most teams ‘just get started’, doing the work they do in the way they have always done it. But with the complicating factor of remote work, especially
Yesterday, I gave a presentation in the Netherlands for a group of HR managers from some big multinationals. The subject I spoke about was ‘leadership and organisation for distributed teams’. Here’s a link to the slideshare presentation.
One of the questions that the group had was how to lead a remote team. How do you create engagement, alignment with the longer term goals and vision, how do you create team spirit. The key I found for this is the
Managing remote, globally distributed teams, is no easy task. During the past 10 years I have seen all sides of this role, good and bad. I want to share some of the competencies I think are fundamental to be an effective remote team manager.
I see empathy as ones ability to place oneself in the shoes of another person; to understand the thoughts, feelings and motivations of the people you work with. As remote team management is all about collaboration, empathy is the most fundamental character trait needed to succeed with globally distributed teamwork.
Especially in offshore software development teams, empathy is often a rare trait. Technicians are mostly men. Men are in
1. From working agile to living agile
A lot of organizations found that agile processes support offshore collaboration. We hire some agile consultants , train our people, make some handbooks and voila ‘we work agile’. Agile is a popular term today. People sense they miss out if they don’t work agile. So they say ‘we are agile, we follow scrum, our processes are agile’.
Agility basically means flexibility. It’s away from bureaucracy, rigidity and waterfall. Agile can refer to processes or how work gets done. But it’s also related to people. An agile process without agile people gets stuck.
With parts of your team offshore, agile behavior is crucial. We need to understand each other (the remote
One recurring theme in software development is ‘requirements’. This seems to be one of the most challenging starting point of any software development project. My experience is that the crucial point is ‘explaining what you have in mind, what you want to achieve’. Now I see the following problems with labelling the challenge in outsourcing as ‘making requirements’:
a. It implies that making requirements is largely a role of the outsourcer
Outsourcers oftentimes do see this as their responsibility. I would argue that this assumption is flawed. During the weekend I placed a job on a ‘handyman’ website. I want to re-paint my wooden floor. I had problems with the floor, having to paint it each 2 months. I could explain my problem very clearly. As a reply, I