A facilitation guide – Team Building for Distributed Agile Teams, It is the Psychological, not the Physical distance

A facilitation guide for Team Building for Distributed Agile Teams (DAT). It might be helpful for someone working with remote teams and want to break the ice among teams.

My philosophy is that to build innovative software products, a company need to focus hans-dorries-180013and allocate time for building Team(s) as well.

Yes, that’s what I think when building and working with Agile Teams, both co-located and remotely distributed. It is the Psychological, not the Physical distance. It is a great interest for me to understand Team dynamics and foster psychological safety as well.

I have been working with distributed Agile Teams for a while with a startup company (DPOrganizer). After some time, I felt a need to hold a Team Building activity, where people from different teams and region can have a flex-time and understand each other more – a break from discussing technical stuff. It was not a day long, but a two-hour session to break the ice, the feedback was really good. The session helped them to know more about a person behind the technical layer.

So cutting long story short, using the same experience, I created a facilitation guide., it could be helpful for someone working with remote teams.

Download

Please experiment with it and share your experience.

The total length of team building session is around two hours, it has two main activities and a break in between.

The Team Building

Participants: 14-16

Tools:

  • Any online video collaboration tool e.g. Google Hangout, Zoom
  • Two display screens for the facilitator, one to share and one for personal notes
  • Online interactive presentation tools, e.g. mentimeter.com

Time: 100 – 120 mins (as per maximum number of participants)

Activity 1 – Talk with a buddy

The purpose of this activity is to talk, share and learn about someone from another team, culture or region.

Below are the steps;

  1. Find a buddy – Pair up using the given criteria
  2. Buddy talk – On virtual coffee table each person shares information, suggested questions are as;
    • Share something about yourself, culture, sports, entertainment etc.
    • What motivates you in general and work?
    • What do you like about working with company
  3. Group share – In virtual coffee lounge, everyone shares what they have learned about their buddy
  4. Quiz – As a facilitator, create a fun quiz (e.g. mentimeter.com) based on information from step 3

Activity 2 – How can we work together more effectively and with fun?

Once the participants have shared, learned and had fun. The next activity is to discuss how we can have more fun. The length of this activity is around 30-35 mins.

  1. Assign group – Participants join a group.
  2. Group discussion – On virtual coffee roundtables, discussion below question
    • How do we as a Distributed Agile Team(s) can be more effective, in work and collaboration or anything else?
  3. Join reflection – In virtual coffee lounge, word cloud visualized, each group shares their insight

Donut – Slack?

slack-donutThis team building session can act as an icebreaker and if you are using Slack, then there is a donut app, that randomly connects people to continue further to increase communication among team members.

Download

If this facilitation guide was helpful, please leave a comment.

(Stay tuned! In my next article, I will share the insight from activity 2 discussion)

Img src: unsplash.com

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