Successful Agile Needs Teamwork

  • to be encouraged
  • We agree to share all our information, for the benefit of the team
  • As a group of individuals we expect each person to have a high degree of self-direction and autonomy working within the agreed team guidelines


Distributed Teams

Good teamwork is difficult enough to establish in co-located team but what about distributed teams? I foresee a big move towards distributed Agile Teams in the future and that means high-performing Agile teams will be even harder to create, develop and maintain. Already larger organizations are using Developers in India, with BAs in the UK and the PMO in the USA

I read that the volcano erupting over Iceland last week resulted in a significant increase in the use of web communication tools. Virtual meeting software tools such as Citrix dramatically increased as people looked for alternative ways of communicating. This is definitely the way of the future and Agile teamwork tools will need to be developed to enable distributed teamwork.

One of the important requirements for a distributed Agile Team will be the electronic Wall which will be the repository of all the information and stages of development. Any team member should be able to see the progress rate at the end of the day in any part of the world. In Bright Green Projects this is our main project for the coming year.

The Scrum Master’s role will be particularly difficult in distributed teams because they will need to exert their influence remotely. The Scrum Master needs to have excellent coaching skills, know how to influence others in a cooperative way and understand a lot about people and the reasons why they behave the way they do. I predict that top-class Scrum Masters will be in great demand in the future. The Scrum Master will then regularly monitor the wall to ensure that all stakeholders post their progress at the end of each day.

Other communication tools such as team wikis, webinars and customized social media platforms will facilitate the team processes that are fundamental to the success of Agile. The Team Charter of shared values will become an important part of the electronic wall – readily visible to every team members anywhere in the world. It’s through processes like this that we, as designers and developers of technology and people, can make a difference in the world of Agile.


About the Author Rowan McCann is the co-founder of Bright Green Projects (, which offers agile software tools, training and consulting. Bright Green recently partnered with international teamwork specialists Team Management Systems, to conduct research into improving the performance of IT teams.

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