Virtual Agile Teams - part 2 - Overcoming Challenges
#Agileteams are usually very unconventional and stick less to formal documentation. Sticky notes and handwritten notes are the order of the day. However for meetings they strictly stick to norms. #virtualteams on the other side need more formality in the documentation etc. The unique challenges for virtual teams all center around the fact that you are not able to be together, see each other fully, watch each others body language and pick up all kinds of cues. At the same time you may sit in different cultures and not know much about each other.
More common problems are:
1. Communication - in his suggested solutions, the author of the article below suggest you look at hiring the right people from the start, foster a culture of communication and choose the right tools. For virtual teams collaborative online tools are very important and you need to find the ones that work for you.
2. Trust - It is hard work to build trust in a virtual team. The author suggests you start with a team mission statement, encourage collaboration and team building and establish a shared goal. I would take that even further and come up with a shared team charter, contributed to by all, which lays out how you engage, how you prepare and participate in meetings and what is expected of each. It also elaborates how the team celebrates victories and things like birthdays.
3. Productivity - when you are not co-located, some team members may find it difficult to be productive and collaborative work may be a challenge in itself. The author suggests you ensure accountability, form supportive structures and develop processes.
Overall a virtual team needs a more elaborate game plan than a co-located team.