Since the Covid-19 Quarantining began, we’ve all had to adjust to our work-life taking place 100% online. Whether you are working in a traditional environment or in Agile, this change has impacted your teams’ ability to engage, learn, and collaborate online. In this episode of the podcast, I am joined by Braden Cundiff who works in the International Division of McGraw-Hill Education serving in a Product Ownership role for international education products.
Braden’s work involves creating tools and products that are used in collaborative, educational environments all across the globe. He also has a background that includes teaching, agile coaching, and transformation. This allows him to offer a unique perspective on how to create an effective online environment for your teams.
At the start of the interview, Braden and I also discuss his role as a Product Owner and he offers his take on the one question that comes up in every single Product Owner class I teach … “How do I get better at saying ’No’?”
This podcast features an interview with Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby about their new book "From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver"
* Update - you can download a transcript of the podcast here.
Distributed Teams present challenges for any group of people trying to work together. This is true in a traditional approach to project work, but maybe even more so in an Agile approach, where many of the frameworks are based on the idea of co-location. The challenges distributed teams face are present regardless of whether you are separated by 12 time zones or by a single flight of stairs. It can absolutely work, and there can be many benefits to working distributed. The big question is how?
In their new book “From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver", Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby deliver the practical answers we all need to help our distributed teams succeed. During the interview Mark and Johanna explain who they wrote the book for and how it can help. We also walk through a few of the most critical practices that help distributed teams work well together, and the authors share some tips that they did not include in the final version of the book.
Now... I generally try to remain objective in this blog/podcast, but...
GO BUY THIS BOOK! YOU NEED THIS BOOK!
As someone who works with and on distributed teams, I have questions of my own with respect to steps that can be taken to foster a distributed team's success. This book had answers/strategies for all my questions and it is sure to be an invaluable resource for anyone working on or with distributed teams.
Links mentioned in the podcast
"From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver" can be purchased on:
Dave interviews Johanna and Mark about writing as a Distributed Team at Agile 2018 https://youtu.be/JMxEeeCtK2I
In this podcast interview which was recorded live at Agile 2018, Johanna Rothman and Mark Kilby offer some tips on how to improve communication in distributed teams.
Many of the tips were discovered while writing their new book "From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams" which they've co-written AS A DISTRIBUTED TEAM.
If you'd like to pick up the book you can find on LeanPub using the link below
If you'd like to get in touch with Johanna:
If you'd like to get in touch with Mark:
If you aren’t already familiar GitHub, the interview provides a quick overview of it’s capabilities and what it does. If you are a PM and you use Github, Brent is currently working on reaching out to the PM community learn more about of how project managers can leverage source control applications to make their jobs easier.
During the conversations we had in Malmo, one of the most interesting things Brent and I discussed was how GitHub works from a distributed employee standpoint. They are based in San Francisco, but 70% of the staff work remotely. If you are struggling to cope with the challenges of distributed teams, check out the interview to hear some of the ways that GitHub has managed to establish itself as an organization that was able to function in a distributed way. Brent shares a lot of the critical things that GitHub does to make sure the relationships and interactions are deeply established despite the virtual nature of the organization.
One of the exploding lightbulb moments for me during the interview was at 9:40 in when Brent says that during the previous day he had been “trying not to work”. This struck me because I often struggle with the same thing when I am home, and I wonder if this will be a new challenge distributed organizations have to learn to cope with. When you have a group of highly motivated, energized people who work for your company, and they enjoy what they do so much that the hard part is getting them to stop and take a break, how does that impact sustainable pace? In the same way that teams are sometimes forced to work all night and all weekend, I’m wondering if we may reach a point where we have to stop teams from working all night and all weekend.