5 most common problem in agile remote teams

It is normal that we commit mistakes when we start with practices that we haven’t do in the past. But the most important part of making a mistake is to learn about it. In Agile Teams, we are always looking for improvement and found that goldmine on every step even if it is a misstep.

Staring with remote work isn’t easy, but sure have a lot of rewards when you find your balance with your team. I want to share with you some of the most common mistakes that you could be incurring with your remote team. If you detect some that you have on your team you can tackle quickly and find the best solution.

Lack of communication

The mother of problems. In a survey by Slack, The newly remote workers are more than twice as likely as experienced remote workers to cite “the volume of communications to coordinate with others” as a challenge.
Image Source: Slack

Having good communication is essential in remote teams due to we aren’t in the same place and we can just go to the next office and ask questions. The difference between good and bad performance on remote teams is on the transparency that exists with your team. You need to maintain all the teams on the same channel and make sure that everyone is having the same info. Misunderstanding can become a little problem in a bigger one. So be aware of how everything is going with communication even if it is a casual conversation is important.

Loss information is the result of bad communication. This one is linked to bad “hygiene” on the way that you structure your information. As a remote team documentation is very important. I’m not telling you that you have to be all day writing about what you’re going to do. But you know that there are some documents and some information that all the members need to have without asking for it.
Here you can find some advice to improve the way you share information with your team.

Misalignment

With remote teams not is just that your boss isn’t some offices nearby you, for remote teams is about been self-organized. Because actually, agile teams need to be prepared to work without external coordination.

Agile teams don’t work based on what a person at the top of the hierarchy says. Actually, we work following the requirements on the backlog. These teams follow the necessary steps to achieve the sprint incrementation. If your team doesn’t achieve an incrementation at the end of the sprint, the problem isn’t the team, the problem is on the backlog. Maybe the backlog isn't clear or it is ambiguous. So check with your team that everyone has clear what are the activities necessary to achieve.

One great way to achieve an accurate backlog is with Scrum poker. This tool will help the team to decide to prioritize their activities.

Not having the right tools

Remote work operate based on tools. Because tools are like buildings for Building blogs for the organization, is where all the information is, where the team interact is everything, a remote team without tools is a serious disadvantage. So if you are working remotely and you haven’t defined the tools you will use, all the other efforts you made isn't going to work.

Make sure to have a tool for:

  • Instant messages: Slack, Skype.
  • Meetings: Google Hangouts, Zoom, Skype.
  • Share Information: Confluence, Google Drive.
  • Assign tasks: Trello, Jira.

And for remote teams using Atlassian products, we have some incredible tools to keep your agile ceremonies easier:

If you want to learn more about these ones check this article.

Lack of productivity.

Some newly remote workers declare that they are having problems with their productivity. With all the distractions that you have in your house, all the people there, notification, and work, being productive can every difficult.

Stay in front of the computer all day doesn't mean that you are being more productive, actually means that you are being less. One of the biggest benefits of remote work is that you can work in the time that you feel more productive. But it is necessary that you help your team scheduling the working time, these will simulate the office hours and will help your team to keep a routine that is extremely necessary to be productive.

Have some scheduled meetings, this will help your team to feel motivated and start with the work. And encourage your team to take some breaks, that actually help you to be more productive.

Role Success.

First of all, what does it mean role success? Role success is a kind of behavior that exists in many teams, where the people think that the most important part of all is to highlight over all the members. This kind of behavior is all the opposite of engagement and team performance. The worst part of role success is that it can result in the individual mindset that the most important thing you can do in the team is to be better than the others and the constant research to overthrow your partners. Clearly this is not how agile teams need to behave.

For sure there are members that have been working more on the company and have more experience. That actually is great because they can teach the new ones to be prepared for all the situations in the area. But it doesn’t mean that the new members have less value or they are less important

Another way you can see role success is watching the deliverables and it will show some kind of overlap that is clearly a signal that the team is not having good communication because they are focus on their own area problems -that it is ok- but remember that the goals are collective. Having different groups for each area in your team is okay. But when the success of a little part of the team and this is not helping the entire team you are not on the right track.

All the teams have problems, find the little signals that shows that your team is having and encourage them to find the best solution. One great way to do it is with Retrospectives

Check our tools to improve your team performance: