Lisette’s journey into remote work began approximately 20 years ago when she started working for an online project management tool. What made this tool unique was its objective of bringing scientists together to find solutions to the aging problem. This experience got Lisette thinking about the possibilities of removing distance as a barrier.
Due to the nature of her work for the tool vendor, Lisette had the opportunity to work remotely while being a tour manager for a music band. At some point, someone suggested that she start a podcast on remote work, which sparked her interest in exploring and sharing her knowledge in this area.
Aligning teams is not only the challenge we face as Scrum Masters working with remote teams. There’s also the stakeholder side, and aligning stakeholders is even harder than aligning the teams we work with.
We discuss some tactics, as well as a key metric to keep our eye on: “the velocity and quality of decisions that happen around the teams.”
Scrum team consequences due to missing alignment
When teams and stakeholders are not aligned, we can see decisions being delayed, or even ignored. All of this leads to a direct impact on the team’s ability to deliver. Luke shares with us some anti-patterns and some tips he’s collected over the years.
We learn how important it is for Scrum Masters to keep tabs on the communication, and alignment between different departments (not only between teams), and we discuss how sometimes the solution is “more meetings”, leading to the inevitable meeting overload anti-pattern.
We also discuss and describe some of the anti-patterns that emerge when teams and departments lose alignment.
Solving the lack of alignment
When it comes to helping departments and teams get aligned, Luke suggests we try what he calls “sensemaking meetings”. These are meetings that help us find answers to questions and improve shared group understanding of a topic or situation. But there’s another goal for sensemaking meetings: to build the necessary interpersonal networks that are needed to solve future problems.
Solving meeting overload: an experiment
Just like many of us have experienced, Luke also experienced moments when there were too many meetings. In this segment, he suggests we try an experiment he tried before: cancel all meetings for 2 weeks. We discuss why you may want to try that experiment, what were some of the consequences of trying that experiment, and the good things that happened once people started to realize that some meetings were actually useful and necessary.
Dealing with unreasonable expectations
There’s another aspect of remote work that leads to problems at the team level. The fact that work gets hard when remote, and that stakeholders are now more distant from the teams, leads often to unreasonable expectations. These expectations can cause problems at the team level, through high levels of stress, and between teams and stakeholders because of missed expectations. In this segment, we discuss the dynamics that lead to unreasonable expectations and what we can do to help both teams and stakeholders adjust their expectations to the reality of remote work.
About Luke Szyrmer
Luke is the host of the Managing Remote Teams podcast. Luke has managed or participated in fully remote teams for almost a decade. He has lead programs of widely distributed teams. Over the last 9 years, he has lead teams building software, running marketing and sales, and launched a bestselling book. Remotely. In many cases, with people he never met or spoke to in person.
In this episode, we interview David Horowitz who’s the CEO of Retrium, a company that builds tools to help you facilitate remote retrospectives. The links to Retrium’s Retrospectives Academy below are affiliate links, if you prefer to follow a link that takes you to Retrium’s site, but does not give anything back to the podcast, you can. Just follow this link: Retrium.com. On the other hand, if you want to help us grow this podcast, you can follow the links below or this link to Retrium’s Retrospective’s Academy.
As David started his Scrum Master journey, he was faced with a big challenge. He struggled with remote retrospectives. No wonder, he ended up creating and being the CEO for a remote retrospectives company. He experienced the pain first-hand!
As he got started experimenting, he found the Lean Coffee format to be effective (see our Lean Coffee episodes). However, he found that even when the format worked well, there was something else missing.
The collaboration that can be had when the team is in the same room simply isn’t the same when we are all remote, and sometimes even without video!
As Cosima started her Scrum Master journey, she decided to invest and study psychology. That would open up new ways to look at her work in the role of the Scrum Master. The search for a more science-based approach to her work led her to study psychology, which later helped her understand that she couldn’t be a developer and a Scrum Master anymore.
Remote teams, and quick tips for facilitating #Remote Lean Coffee
#Remote meetings have been a topic that affects Agile teams for a long time. As many more teams go #Remote without previous experience, they become an even bigger topic for Scrum Masters who now need to facilitate online meetings almost every day.
In this episode, Lisette Sutherland (creator of the Work Together Anywhere Workshop) joins us to share her insights on how to make those remote meetings rock!
When going #Remote, it is harder to get the life/work balance right