Remote teams need to be more explicit in transmitting availability, because not everyone can just look over a wall or room to see if someone is in Deep Focus mode or in a meeting. In serious Scrum`s Slack work area, we want to share tips and tricks with local teams so they can inspect and customize them. Your remote team agreement could help other teams: bring yours and talk! (Your invitation is below). Once we were all done, we took the opportunity to talk about each sticky team note. And the things we agreed on were placed in a Google Doc. At first, I remember it was a relatively painless process. There have not really been any major disagreements about anything for which we have just established the ground rules. What are the expected reaction times? And how are we going to give each other feedback? And what tools would we communicate with? So just a set of fundamental rules. And the idea was that we would evaluate them regularly. During the next retrospective, Steve mentioned some of these topics and said he wants to talk about improving their environment. Tonia informs that she knows that another of her peers has created her own work agreement to reduce some of the friction and improve respect. Instead of restarting the ICC workflow from scratch, I decided it would be easier to go through the Google document point by point of what we had decided last time, and just take a look at everything we wrote and decide on its relevance. And I admit it was a bit difficult to get on the list.
So I wonder if there`s a way to make it more fun. But even that highlighted some differences in the way we use the tools, and it gave us an opportunity to clarify some of the assumptions that were very interesting. For example, Chad, our illustrator, it [inaudible – 05:02] Status updates, and other people are very attentive and really watch it every day. This kind of thing is good to know, because if you want to communicate something important to Chad, you have to mark it specifically in an update, and I had done it, or use another tool where it attracts more attention. One of the assumptions we encountered was [inaudible – 05:24] which assumed that when she made Slack status available to a person, she thought she was online and available for questions. But it turns out that most people on the team don`t hold their Slack status properly. I am one of those people, for example. I only opened it in my browser all day, but I disabled all the notifications. So it`s open, but when I work on something else, I don`t know. Clarifying this assumption prevents her from being frustrated in the future if she does not receive an immediate response from people because she knows she cannot assume that they are online.
In our experience, most teams benefit greatly from the fact that they have explicit team agreements, not only to avoid conflict, but also to go on the field with clarity and confidence. Our conflict advisory work (inter-call ombuds) includes facilitating teams in creating their team agreements, with training and team coaching tailored to the excellent work of Team Coaching International.