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Finding a Routine That Works for a Distributed Engineering Team

Remote
Collaboration
Agile / Scrum
Roadmap
Deadlines

6 December, 2018

Christian Jennewein, CEO of TopScore, illustrates his process of organizing the success of a team of four engineers on four different time zones.

Problem

Challenge 1: Finding a daily stand up time that suits everybody. Challenge 2: Absence of a development process.

Actions taken

We were able to build a process together, stick to that process, and continuously refine it. Challenge 1: We met to pick a daily standup time that would work for all of us, despite our personal schedules from our lives in different time zones (with a maximum time difference of 9 hours between San Francisco and Warsaw). Challenge 2: We established a routine by introducing an agile scrum process with two-week cycles, including daily stand-ups, bi-weekly product demos, sprint plannings & grooming sessions as well as monthly retrospectives. The latter is the crucial component that ensured that we challenged and refined the process over time, resulting in a highly adapted and adopted routine that allowed everybody to strive.

Lessons learned

There is constantly room for improvement, and most of the time it's the team that is able to identify and implement those. The most important thing, however, is that you enable and encourage the team to allow for such improvements to happen. The environment I build gives me the confidence, that due to this built-in, self-healing, improvement mechanism, any future situation that we navigate through can be mastered because of, and by the team.


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