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The 5 Components To Running A Successful Remote Agile Team

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Remote working isn’t just a trend. More companies are realising the cost-saving benefits of allowing workers to telecommute, and more employees are enjoying the myriad benefits that come with working from home. 

Managing an agile remote team, however, brings a host of challenges, especially if you’re new to the concept. Fortunately, there are some tried and tested methods (and some great technology) that can make the task smooth sailing. 

What are the challenges of managing a remote agile team?

Before we dive into the solutions that you can use to better manage your team, let’s discuss some of the challenges inherent to remote working. 

Communication issues

With everyone in separate places (and sometimes separate time zones), communication can be a struggle. 

Communication issues are exasperated when people can’t look each other in the eye and read each other’s body language. It’s just not as easy to communicate emotions and tone in written text.

Delineation of Work

In an office, it’s easy to see what everyone is working on—you only need to walk over to a colleague’s desk and ask them. But when working remotely, it’s not so simple, and people often have less clarity about who is assigned what tasks. 

It’s important your remote team members know who is leading each project and what’s expected of each person involved in any given task. 

Team morale

There’s no office birthday cake or after-work happy hours when your team is located all around the globe. This can leave teams feeling disconnected, especially if they aren’t used to speaking to each other out loud. 

Managers of remote agile teams have to get creative to make their employees feel like they are part of a true team. Without strong morale, collaboration will be next to impossible. 

5 tips for running a successful remote agile team

How do you overcome these challenges? Fortunately, with some smart planning and the right tech, you can make your team run as efficiently as they would in a traditional office.

1. Establish clear lines of communication 

Before you can do anything else, you must be certain your remote team knows how and where to communicate effectively. You may still use email, but when working agilely, it’s sometimes best to have a live internal chat system in place. 

Many of these platforms allow you to have different chat rooms dedicated to different subjects. For example, you could have one chat room dedicated to marketing, another for your primary projects, and a third one just for day-to-day chatter. 

2. Use a communal task management system 

Because your team will likely be collaborating on several projects at once, you need a communal space where everyone can see the status and stages of work. 

This is where agile project management software comes in handy. Tools like Trello feature aesthetic, drag-and-drop project management dashboards that make it easy for everyone to be on the same page. 

3. Schedule in some regular face time 

Email and live chat will be your main ports of call for much of your work, but sometimes you still need to be able to have live, out-loud, face-to-face conversations with your staff. 

Thankfully, video conferencing software has come a long way, and it’s now easier than ever to set up high-quality video calls with multiple people. Many of these tools allow you to record your video sessions as well, 

4. Embrace the freedoms that come with remote work

Remote work comes with a whole host of benefits beyond the ability to work from the couch. Remote workers want to enjoy a flexible schedule, spend more time with their families, and work when they feel most capable. 

Of course, you will have to have some standards in place so your team can communicate effectively and meet deadlines. But trying to force them into a traditional 9 - 5 work schedule is a surefire way to tank team morale. 

5. Schedule in some digital morale boosters

Speaking of morale, just because your team is not working in the same space doesn’t mean you can’t find ways to bring them together and improve team cohesion. 

Once again, digital software will be your friend. Consider hosting a group ‘pub’ quiz via video chat, a fantasy sports league, or even online video game tournaments. This kind of non-work-related bonding will make your team stronger than ever. 

There’s no reason your remote team can’t be just as productive (or perhaps more productive) than they would be if they were all in the same office. Once you have the right resources and processes in place, working remotely will feel second nature for both you and your staff.

1 comment

Thanks for the helpful tips.

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