The Agile community has lost a thought leader, influencer and friend, Jean Tabaka, who passed away earlier this week. She was best known through her work as an Agile Fellow at CA Technologies (formerly Rally Software) and author of the book ‘Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills for Software Product Leaders’.
Source: Vale Agile Collaborator and Leader Jean Tabaka
At the April 2016 Agile Brisbane meetup, we were lucky to have Korrine Jones present on Leading Virtual Teams. Korrine is the author of “Virtual Team Reality: The Secrets to Leading Successful Virtual Teams and Remote Workers“.
Check out her slides for the full summary of her talk, but here are my notes from the talk:
- distance does not make a huge difference once you are not co-located – whether a floor away or across the world
- challenges – time zones, culture, accountability, multiple competing stakeholders, latency in communication, availability and willingness, no body language
- Albert Mehrabian principle – to interpret meaning it comes from 7% words, 38% tome and 55% non verbals – which explains why we have so much breakdown in virtual communication, on the phone the breakdown is 8% words and 82% tone
- success factors – top notch leadership, clear goals, periodic face to face, frequent communications, attention to cultural differences, maximised communication quality
- a virtual leader needs to amp up the skillet of a good leader – communication, listening, open dialogue, goals, team dynamics, culturally sensitive, results focussed, handle conflict
- need to develop a shared team vision
- develop a social contract – ask what are the values, then to get around understand and cultural differences ask them to explain what that will look like
- fave to face inductions for new starters has a better chance for success
- high clarity processes, the team performance grows as the dispersion grows
- select people who are self starters, tech savvy, autonomous, actively reach out to collaborate
- manage by outcomes not activity (as you can’t see them) – so need to agree the objectives, collectively make a plan, collectively monitor performance
- GROW coaching model works well for remote workers, ask them what the goal is, what’s happening now, where are you at, what could you do, what do you need from me
- build one on one relationships – regular deliberate contact, focus on those most remote, have purely social conversations to build connection
- swift trust – trust that builds easily, SES has this because they know others have training, but one breakdown in conversation this breaks down
- need to move from swift trust to real trust – do you know the needs and expectations that you team needs from you and you need from them, these need to me be met for trust, it’s a simple conversation we often don’t have, you may need to lead the conversation for others to reciprocate
- virtual meeting – need to amp up how you chair, what are the protocols (eg mute when not speaking, raise hands, etc)
- virtual celebrations – have lunch or celebrations at each end
- have a ritual or something at the start of a call – a fun example is 2 truths and a lie or a list of words that can be snuck into a conversation
- consider the richness of your tools
Korrine alluded to these YouTube videos on virtual meetings, worth a watch!
It was great to have Martin Fowler back in Australia and host him in conjunction with ThoughtWorks for a YOW! Night in Sydney (he was also in Melbourne but I was unfortunately not able to attend).
Martin followed his usual approach of breaking his talk into three mini talks on Microservices, Event Sourcing and Infrastructure as Code. Here are the videos I shot from the session for YOW!