Starting at the development team level, companies that are apt to succeed with distributed agile projects will have mature, experienced developers. The very nature of agile work places a lot of responsibility and self-governance with each team member. Assigning developers to one project rather than diluting them across many is important, since shared resources can easily become problematic in a distributed agile team. This is particularly true if a developer is working jointly on one waterfall and one agile project. Also, a team that boasts prior experience with automated, test-driven development will be more successful with distributed projects.
From a management perspective, an agile-ready company will understand that executive involvement is required on a regular basis. As with any agile project, a distributed team is dependent on management deciding what business objectives are the most important for the new application to address. Management is also going to need to work with the agile team to develop a smart set of boundary conditions.
In some organizations, the core principles of agile may create friction. If an organization is used to working within a fixed scope, budget, or corporate release window, adopting agile practices can be particularly shocking to the system. There are a couple of ways around this. Top level executive support becomes necessary here; otherwise, the needed changes are hard to affect. Make sure the CXO's are onboard.
If this isn't possible, and you must work within the corporate release window, focus on analyzing each window for what has the most business value. This way, agile practices can be used to ensure the most valuable coding is done first. It may be possible to reduce the risk of the application you are looking to deploy or even decouple it from the core release in some way.
To set up a successful global agile development team, a company should pay close attention to its specific data considerations, communications needs, and the company's agile readiness. How you handle each of these issues will vary widely and there are no best practices that can help—just a few good ideas to consider.