It is the Psychological, not the Physical distance – working with Distributed Agile Teams

Have you worked with Distributed (Agile) Teams, what was your experience, what did you like most about it and what were the challenges?

Photo by Jason Rosewell

For me, I have worked with remote teams earlier as well, however, recently I have started working extensively with Distributed Agile Teams and the experience has been so far fulfilling and really interesting. I am working as an Agile/Scrum coach, and building the sense and feeling of “Team” for people sitting in a remote location is challenging and exciting as well.

It requires a lot of effort from everyone in the team as well to open up and gel together. This is fun for me, I like building people into a team, gelling letters into meaningful words and people into teams.

I have been following and I really got interested in “Understand Team effectiveness“. One key tool that has always helped me is “Foster psychological safety“. It is important for building teams that are co-located and also those who are working remotely. It is light on the tongue but heavy on the scale of building a Team, and worth doing it.

Thus, the distance in a Team, in my opinion, is mostly Psychological and sometimes Physical, that’s what I think. Do you think the same? I have seen people sitting together and not communicating effectively, on the other hand, people sitting across the globe and communicating and producing results. Isn’t it the Psychological ingredient important?

So I held a Team Building session for Distributed Agile Teams, to increase the amount of this key ingredient item in the teams. Building a team is as important as building a software product. I think, to build an innovative software product, focus and time should be spent on building the team, perhaps the seven statements of tool “Foster psychological safety

  1. If you make a mistake on this team, it is often held against you.
  2. Members of this team are able to bring up problems and tough issues.
  3. People on this team sometimes reject others for being different.
  4. It is safe to take a risk on this team.
  5. It is difficult to ask other members of this team for help.
  6. No one on this team would deliberately act in a way that undermines my efforts.
  7. Working with members of this team, my unique skills and talents are valued and utilized.

How do you foster psychological safety in your co-located and distributed teams?

This article was first published on October 31, 2017 on LinkedIn:

Photo by Jason Rosewell and

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