If you find yourself reading the Agile Manifesto (as for some reason I do from time to time) you may notice this:
The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
I don’t think anyone would disagree with this. However in these days of satellite offices, home working, and outsourcing your team members are often scattered across cities, countries, and time zones you may not have the luxury of every team member sitting in the same room.
So what can you do?
There are a few tricks and tips I’ve found help you keep a high level of communication between team members.
- Ensure your daily standup times suit everyone. Make sure it doesn’t force people to start early or stay late, consider people’s lunch and prayer times. There’s no golden rule saying you must meet at 9am!
- Use tools like Trello to move post-it notes online.
- Keep a running channel open for informal chat (such as Skype or Slack) and switch important notifications onto email so people don’t miss important information.
- Work from home yourself, experience any pain points of your remote colleagues your are describing and aim to resolve them.
- Use video calling. We were a little reluctant to start this but after years of Skype the difference was noticeable, remote team members were more engaged and banter was at an all time high.
These are a few of the tips and tricks which have worked for us, what do you do to help your distributed team thrive?