Remote Teams are Difficult!
Lets start by saying that even a team located in the same building, on the same floor, sitting together and working on the same project, often have collaboration issues that take time to iron out. When you now move to a remote team, the space/time between the remote pieces of the team generate some new issues, and exaggerate may of the local team issues. Jeff, over on Perception Is The Experience, offers some thoughts around remote teams, and some good evidence that remote teams can, and do work efficiently.
“Culture” is an influencer. The “here” and “there” culture’s are not surprising, and in many ways exhibit similarities to what is sometimes found in companies that have geographic offices that are linked, or not.
The five challenges listed in Jeff’s article are the usual suspects. Communication (point 1) is sometimes the reason why point 2 occurs, or at least part of the problem.
Virtual Presence – for me this is the big opportunity, and often the item that most people want when working in a remote team. It offers the ability to feel connected, to see a face, and strike a conversation in a more personal way.
Getting together at the start of projects does help. Meeting people face-to-face, getting to know people makes a massive difference.