Integration of distributed teams

 As the companies are being acquired across geographies and companies are going global for utilizing the right talent for building products, distributed development centers are very common sight now.

Agile methodology, which started with collocated team concept, is being adapted to distributed teams. Collaboration across teams becomes most vital component to the effective working of the teams and for sharing the knowledge across the teams.

For distributed agile projects, either the distributed team is from the same company or it’s from the outsourced company.

Teams need to plan on the areas mentioned below, before and while starting the distributed projects.

  • Division of work based on technology or functional across distributed teams
  • Collaboration model, process and tools
  • Network connectivity
  • Access to similar/common Infrastructure, tools, resources across locations
  • Knowledge ramp up plan for the new locations

As there is no one size fits all solution for distributed teams, the projects are different by

  • Size
  • Complexity
  • Number of distributed centers
  • Expertise of teams across locations on the tools, technology, domain
  • Cultural diversity
  • Communication Language

I have come across teams that have started distributed development without understanding the challenges around it and then coming to conclusion that distributed models do not work. One of the biggest lacking areas is that teams don’t take steps to integrate them as one team and motivate them to work towards common goal.

Collaboration being very vital, tools and technology should be used to bridge the communication gap across centers and to bring more transparency and visibility. Apart from collaboration there needs to be frequent travel of members across locations.

Creating culture so that all teams share same values, trust each other, work towards creating high quality project and have the common goal will is important for the foundation of great distributed teams.

There needs to be continuous process of improvement in these areas to build a team that works like one team even if it’s distributed.


About aslamhirani

I am working from last 19+ years in areas of Product development, agile coaching, software R&D process consulting. I have been working in agile development model from last 10 years and coaching agile teams from last 6 years in areas of agile assessment, agile adoption, agile transformation, agile scaling, distributed agile development and agile competency development. I work with software R&D organizations to help them improve their effectiveness and efficiency with reuse, process improvement in development and testing, competency development, innovation in R&D, collaboration improvement across teams, automating devops and so on
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