Wide Links #12: Agility, Attitude, Independence

Wide Links #12: Agility, Attitude, Independence

Oct 22, 10 • In Links

A sampling of the week’s best articles about distributed teams and remote work, from around the web. This week, notes on distributed agile software development; an article that says changing mindset is a bigger barrier to remote work than adopting new tools; a post about how working remotely helps workers become more independent and self-directed; and much, much more.

  • Some notes on distributed software teams from a ThoughtWorks developer working in India.

    tags: wideteams

      • As I mentioned in my first post about distributed agile a couple of months ago I’ve found that it’s much easier to build the wrong thing when working in a different time zone to the product owner but I wouldn’t say the ability to write maintainable code is much different.


  • Lots of emphasis on what some Agile practitioners would call “working agreements” in this article. Good stuff.

    tags: wideteams

      • Have you created an e-mail culture that wastes time with endless “daisy-chain” conversations that take several hours to read? Does your team spend hours trying to solve an issue with an e-mail conversation that could have been solved with a 30-minute conference call? E-mail and instant messaging are critical tools in our work environments, but it’s important to create a new culture of effectiveness around them. Ask yourself: How can I make my team’s e-mail communication more productive? Set e-mail and IM rules for your organization. For example, we use IM for anything that can easily be answered with a simple yes or no. It is also our virtual water cooler where we talk about vacations and what’s happening.


  • Interesting points in this article. I’m not sure I agree with all of it – for instance, I wouldn’t say that the teams I’ve spoken with are notably more centralized than their collocated counterparts, and indeed I think that dispersion often calls for LESS centralization of control, not more. But there are definitely some thought-provoking insights here.

    tags: wideteams

      • The key to leading global virtual teams is, without doubt, communication. But when we communicate virtually, we often become less influential. INSEAD Professor Ian Woodward has demonstrated through practical exercises that moving your body while speaking enhances your voice quality. Managers of global virtual teams who sit rigidly at their desks, glued to Skype or videoconference screens, tend to lose their interpersonal or persuasive edge. Walking around or simply moving your arms is just one of many simple but effective communication tricks that managers can use to improve the sound of their message.


  • As you know if you’ve been following Wide Teams, there is no shortage of quality inexpensive tools for remote collaboration. For many organizations the blocker to becoming more distributed has everything to do with attitudes.

    tags: wideteams

      • The mindset of U.S-based firms towards flexible working will have to change in the future, however. If companies want to attract and retain the best talent, they’ll need to offer flexible work arrangements. Data released today in anther report, Cisco’s Connected World survey, revealed that most workers (66 percent) would prefer to have the option of flexible working over a higher salary. The Cisco study (which draws on a survey of end users and IT decision makers in a variety of countries) says that two-thirds of workers would like to have the option of flexible working, with 60 percent of workers feeling that they don’t need to be in the office to be productive.


  • It’s about the work that gets done, not how many people are in the building.

    tags: wideteams

      • Managers “should begin with the presumption that all employees are eligible to telework and negotiate agreements to carefully define results workers must achieve,” Nextgov characterized Berry’s remarks.

        And further, for teleworking to be successful, management culture itself must change, Berry said, remarking that federal agencies need to move beyond a traditional “butts in seats” style.


  • The lessons you learn from working remotely are useful in any work environment.

    tags: wideteams

      • As a workshifter you mostly rely on technology to communicate with the mothership. Whether it’s emails, phone calls or video chats, chances are that you’re not always going to get an immediate response. Sooner or later, instead of waiting for the return phone call or email, you find a way to adapt to the new environment.


  • An interview with Stacie of Simply Stacie, who manages a dispersed team of bloggers.

    tags: wideteams

      • Trying to coordinate a number of people working on a project can be a daunting task. I have found that using Google Spreadsheets that everyone can see and update has been a BIG help! Especially when we are working on an event.


  • Some initial thoughts from a project leader whose team is transitioning from being centralized to being dispersed.

    tags: wideteams

      • Distributed teamwork is tough, especially in the early stages of a new, ambitious, complex project.  And while the connection tools are better than ever, things like Skype, streaming video, and WebEx are just good enough to make you really aware of how much you’re missing by not actually being in the same room as your colleagues.


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2 Responses to Wide Links #12: Agility, Attitude, Independence

  1. Tonyg3 says:

    This is a great compilation, Avdi. Excellent work!

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