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From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams: Collaborate to Deliver


Cover image for From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams

From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams

Collaborate to Deliver


Distributed agile teams have a terrible reputation. They don’t deliver “on time,” and too often, they don’t deliver what the customer needs. However, most agile teams, have at least one remote team member. And, agile approaches are here to stay.  

Don’t blindly apply agile practices designed for collocated teams. Instead, learn to use three mindset shifts and the agile and lean principles to create your successful distributed agile team. Use the tips and traps to help your team succeed.

Leave the chaos of virtual teams behind. See how to help your distributed team succeed.

This work was written and produced entirely by the author. We are proud to be distributing it.

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About this Title

Pages: 312
Published: 2019-05-15
Release: P1.0 (2019-05-07)
ISBN: 978-1-94348-711-0

You’ve worked on agile teams before, but how do you use these same practices with a distributed team? You don’t! Taking off-the-shelf practices designed for collocated environments will only frustrate your teams. Or worse, you may even cause harm by forcing people to work unnatural hours because they are in a different timezone. Because your team works in a different environment, they need to think about a different way to work.

In this book, Johanna and Mark take you back to agile and lean principles and help you think how your team can adapt their culture, practices, and virtual workspace to continuously deliver. Three mindset shifts begin this rethinking process. Then Johanna and Mark describe eight principles to guide you on crafting the best collaborative environment for your teams. They also address hiring for your distributed teams and how leaders optimally support these distributed teams. Mark and Johanna provide many stories of how teams they have coached followed these principles in developing their own agile practices.
Successful and even happy distributed agile teams are possible and this becomes your guidebook.

What You Need

No technical expertise or experience needed, just a desire to know how agile principles can help you adapt or create new processes to make your distributed teams successful.


Contents & Extracts

  • Introduction
  • 1. Distributed Agile Teams Are Here to Stay
  • 2. Focus on Principles to Support Your Distributed Agile Teams excerpt
  • 3. Avoid Chaos with Insufficient Hours of Overlap
  • 4. Identify Your Distributed Agile Team Type
  • 5. Communicate to Collaborate
  • 6. Create Your Collaborative Team Workspace
  • 7. Cultivate Your Distributed Team’s Agile Culture
  • 8. Build Respect With Working Agreements
  • 9. Adapt Practices for Distributed Agile Teams
  • 10. Integrate New People Into Your Distributed Agile Team
  • 11. Lead Your Distributed Agile Teams to Success excerpt
  • Appendix A: Our Toolset
  • Appendix B: Compass Activity for Distributed Teams
  • References
  • Annotated Bibliography
  • Glossary
  • More from Johanna
  • More from Mark


Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” provides frank advice for your tough problems. She helps leaders and teams see problems and resolve risks and manage their product development. Johanna is the author of more than ten books and hundreds of articles. Find her two blogs at and

As an agile coach, Mark Kilby has cultivated more distributed and dispersed teams than collocated teams. He’s coached as a consultant, an internal coach, and as a facilitator of distributed professional communities. His easy-going style helps teams learn to collaborate and discover their path to success and sustainability. See for his blog, newsletter and articles.

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