Initially Agile was designed with teams working face to face, as it was believed that in that environment, teams can easily work together, and that face is no doubt still relevant today. However in many cases teams are spread out across countries and even across the world and it may be impractical to bring all the various teams together under one roof, in one office. Therefore it is important that if teams are forced to work separately that they can still preform as well as if they were together.
Having teams spread out can actually have some benefits. One is that the various teams can continue working around the clock if they are spread across different time zones. It also allows them to pick individuals to work for the teams where they might otherwise not have been able to do so due to being unable to leave their current location.
But as expected this kind of setup is not without downsides. Even though working across time zones can be beneficial, it can be difficult to coordinate with the teams. On top of that different cultures may cause some conflicts and add to the difficulty with establishing rapport (Source). But while these problems can be difficult, there are ways to deal with them and ensure the teams work well together.
Firstly, the idea of teams working on an integrated project becomes much more difficult when they are spread out, and it’s better not trying. Rather you should have each team work on a specific aspect of the project to reduce the amount of collaboration needed.
As the different teams may have to figure out what other teams are doing or have done without being able to directly ask them at their leisure, code reviews are a very important aspect. Not only does it make it so teams can understand what everyone is going for, but if there is an issue, then they do not have to worry about waiting for the team that created it to run support for it.
However even with team working on the project, having a good rapport between the team members can make it easier for them to communicate which would improve collaboration. This could be achieved by having people meet face to face by vesting the other offices. Or everyone sending out information about themselves such as their hobbies and interests.
Once there is a decent rapport, then video conferencing would be even more effective as it would give the various teams insight into the problems and challenges that each team might be facing in their own locations.
When teams are distributed across countries or even across the world, the goal is the same with agile even if they were all in the same office, communication and collaboration. Agile doesn’t work if everyone on the team knows what they are supposed to be doing to help move the project forward toward completion.
Atlassian. “Think Globally, Code Locally: The Secret to Remote Teams The Agile Coach.” Atlassian, www.atlassian.com/agile/remote-teams.Image: