Flextime and flexplace. You may be more distributed than you think.
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Let's take the (fictitious) example of SatoriGeeks, a small company specialized in innovative solutions for the finance industry. They have a team of 6 people to develop their current solution. They all work at the SatoriGeeks office in Montreal, Canada. They have an open space to sit together for better collaboration, they have scheduled daily meetings for better progress status. They have also adopted a whole team approach with cross-functional people to maximize project success.
What can go wrong with this small collocated team? Their working environment may actually be more complex than it appears at first glance.
Marie, the product owner, is often visiting customers to understand their concerns. On a typical week, it is rare to see her at her desk. Simon, a team member, had a new baby girl last year. To balance work and family life, he is working from home twice a week. Rachel has flexible working hours (she lives in the Montreal south shore and tries to avoid peak hours to cross the bridge). Thomas had a knee injury playing tennis a couple of months ago. Since the beginning of the project, he must visit the physiotherapist twice a week during working hours. And he works from home when the knee hurts to much.
So for many good reasons, key members of the team are not always able to meet in the same workspace. Communication is affected, collaborative work is not as effective as it used to be. The team should consider itself as a distributed team because they have flexible working hours.
Flextime and flexplace has become mainstream in many organizations. It is too often considered as an human resources matter only, although flexible working hours affect project teams. Even if they are small and collocated, teams like SatoriGeeks would benefit from a more disciplined agile process to facilitate collaborative.:
Flextime and flexplace should lead collocated teams to consider some agile practices usually adopted by distributed team.