7 Concrete Ways to Improve Collaboration in Remote or Distributed Scrum Teams

Paddy Corry
Serious Scrum
Published in
7 min readFeb 20, 2020

Co-location was once a pre-requisite for success with agile approaches like Scrum. This is no longer the case: Remote Working, Distributed Teams and Satellite Workers are the New Normal.

For better or worse, the world of work is globalised: we are no longer obliged to work in the same location as our colleagues. We can be WFH, digital nomads and remote first, if we want to be…

This post is about ways to improve your vernacular on this topic and help your team to become more ‘remote aware.’ This will help you and your team to succeed with Scrum.

Distributed and Remote are the ‘New Normal’

The 13th Version One State of Agile Survey in Spring 2019 revealed some pretty remarkable numbers to illustrate that the majority of respondents worked with remote or distributed teams:

“78% of respondents said their organization practices agile with team members distributed (not co-located). 68% of respondents said their organization practices agile with multiple co-located teams, collaborating across geographic boundaries.” (13th Version One State of Agile Report)

In addition to international organisations, the rise and prevalence of flexible working policies mean it is now quite normal for our team-mates to work from home from time to time.

Is Co-Location a Pre-Requisite for Success with Scrum?

No it isn’t. The Scrum Guide does not mention co-location remote working or distributed teams.

In the guide, there is advice for Scrum Teams to be right-sized, cross-functional and self-organising, but Schwaber and Sutherland remain quiet on the topic of co-location. In theory, distributed and remote Scrum teams could be just as successful as fully co-located teams. At the very least, Scrum does not require co-location.

Speaking the Language of Remote Working

In my own experience as a Scrum Master, and given the increasing prevalence of remote and distributed teams, learning the vernacular of remote working is becoming more important if teams want to be successful with Scrum.

Paddy Corry
Serious Scrum

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