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Distributed Digital Team: How to Manage your Remote Workers

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Digital team is distributed by nature, where members are partially or even fully remote. To keep the collaboration levels high, a remote digital team leverages agile and scrum. But despite having these modern frameworks in place, your digital team should also have the right tools and strategies to be successful as a distributed group.

Now that the business world transforms and adapts to remote working, the digital team models, which are characterized by agile, become more relevant now than ever. Its principles of open collaboration, continuous improvement, adaptability, and autonomy empower your digital team to work more effectively.

Gartner has predicted that by 2022 9 out of 10 agile teams will embrace remote work as an essential part of their operations, which is a 30% increase from 2020.

What is a distributed digital team?

Members of a distributed digital teamwork either fully or partially remotely. A remote team has numerous constraints in terms of collaboration and communication, which require suitable tools and approaches.

Luckily, your digital team can leverage most of scrum’s and agile’s rituals, tools, and roles to work more effectively in a remote environment, including sprints, ceremonies, daily scrums, and retrospectives. 

Read more: The Anatomy of a Digital Team

It’s advised that your digital team is divided into smaller digital teams. You can do this with the “two pizza” rule: two pizzas should be enough to feed your team, which means it should have 7 to 10 people. Why? A small team is always easier to manage than a large team.

Benefits of a Distributed Digital Team

  • A larger pool of accessible talent that can help teams improve their skill sets.
  • Teams from several locations that enable for a 24-hour workday

Today, digital teams are self-organizing and cross-functional, where members hail from every corner of the world. Businesses that leverage such distributed teams can access a wider pool of talent. 

As digital teams typically have many remote workers, they can apply agile and scrum frameworks to collaborate more effectively. Plus, these frameworks have built-in adaptability that allows teams to adjust to changing conditions and user requirements while being agile to continuously learn and improve.

Gartner has stated that remote teams could outdo a colocated team if it stick to agile methodologies.

How to build a successful remote Digital team

A remote digital team, to be successful, must stick to the agile’s and scrum’s principles of communication, transparency, and continuous improvement. Communication, collaboration, and trust are your A remote team’s success depends on mutual trust, communication, and collaboration.

A distributed digital team can reap numerous benefits from a sound strategy that encompasses: 

  • Remote work agreements
  • A process for team members to communicate on an ad-hoc basis  
  • Agreements for meeting structure
  • Ways for team members to communicate their availability
  • Primary collaboration tools to use

Collaboration tools

Collaboration tools are indispensable to all kinds of distributed teams. A digital team relies on agile planning tools to gather user stories/requirements, as well as report and track issues. 

A remote digital team is recommended to have some sort of digital whiteboard tool that can visualize project flow in an intuitive way. Some popular tools your digital team can consider are Jira and Confluence by Atlassian. Whatever you use, this tool should:

  • Give access to all digital team members
  • Enable data exchange, collaboration, and notifications

For example, your digital team can use Zoom video conferencing, Slack for ad-hoc communication, Jira for issue tracking, Confluence for team collaboration, and Trello for progress tracking.

Adhoc chats

Because water cooler discussions are disappearing as a result of remote work, it's critical to maintain these informal communication channels. If you're using Slack, you may establish several channels for different purposes. The scrum master should maintain open lines of contact with each member of the scrum team and enable communication with the entire team.

It's also critical for remote teams to foster a collaborative development culture by:

  • Decisions are overcommunicated across all regions.
  • reducing the amount of time it takes to set up the development environment
  • Clearly stating what constitutes "done"
  • Developing procedures for submitting efficient bug reports

Daily scrum meetings

Daily scrums are an important aspect of digital team, especially for remote members. These brief, daily team meetings give a distributed digital team a platform to aid with concentration, cooperation, communication, and problem-solving.

It's critical to arrange regular video conferencing if a team is dispersed across several time zones or locations. Asynchronous stand-ups can also be held, in which team members utilize Slack to check in or remark on their work board to provide changes. This gives a distributed team a rapid venue to aid with concentration, cooperation, communication, and problem-solving.

You can use ask these simple questions to structure your meeting:

  • Yesterday, what did I do?
  • What am I currently working on?
  • What are the difficulties that are preventing me from accomplishing my goals?

Product Backlog

It's critical that the sprint backlog's features are well-documented and that the "meaning of ready" is agreed upon. The team may lose momentum if the product backlog items are vague and imprecise, and the time to resolution may be prolonged.

Self Organization

While agile encourages self-reliance and organization, it's especially crucial for members of remote digital teams to take responsibility of their work and extend it to the entire team. Team members may take ownership of the company's goals and how they contribute to them. By defining expectations on a Confluence page and agreeing on how to hold each member responsible, you may give visibility.

Conclusion

Most teams in a multinational organization with many offices in various regions are decentralized. Even if only one team member works remotely, the team should follow remote principles to distribute work across locations, communicate efficiently, and sustain a strong culture across the firm.

It's critical to have clear and simple remote work methodologies, procedures, tools, and ways of working at scale as distributed teams and workplaces increase. This may be achieved by implementing agile methodologies like as scrum, SAFe, LeSS, or whatever works best for your digital team.

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