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Agile for distributed teams in 90 minutes

Building trust and communication to increase innovation

Topic: Design
Matt LeMay

Cross-functional and Agile teams rely on close collaboration to build trust and deliver more innovative outcomes. Doing this is challenging enough in person—but how can teams keep collaborating and innovating when working in a remote or distributed environment? In other words, how can teams sustainably capture the depth and serendipity of in-person communication when they aren’t actually sharing a physical space?

Matt LeMay has helped organizations across the world implement best practices for cross-functional and Agile teams that run the gamut from fully colocated to fully distributed. Join him as he shares his hard-won knowledge. In just 90 minutes, you’ll get critical advice and practical tips for your cross-functional and Agile teams that will help you deal with one of the unique pain points of dispersed work.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live online course, you’ll understand:

  • The differences between synchronous and asynchronous communication, and why this is critical information for colocated and distributed teams alike
  • How to improve remote communication across a variety of tools and platforms (Zoom, Skype, Slack, etc.)
  • Common pitfalls for newly remote and distributed teams, and how to address them

And you’ll be able to:

  • Map out your team’s practices to better understand your current balance of colocated versus remote and synchronous versus asynchronous communication
  • Translate colocated practices and rituals (such as the daily stand-up) to remote and distributed working environments
  • Adopt a “remote-first” approach to collaboration that can be used for fully distributed work, colocated work with a few remote participants, and anything in between

This training course is for you because...

  • You’re a member of a cross-functional or Agile team that’s exploring remote and distributed work.
  • You collaborate regularly with people outside of your immediate colocated office setting.
  • You want to become better equipped for a remote-first world.


  • Experience working on a team in an organizational context (useful but not required)

Recommended preparation: - Take Agile for Everybody (live online training with Matt LeMay)

Recommended follow-up: - Follow and explore Managing Remote Teams (expert playlist) - Read The Remote Worker's Survival Guide (report) - Read Agile for Everybody (book)

About your instructor

  • Matt LeMay is cofounder and partner at Sudden Compass, a consultancy that helps organizations take a cross-functional and customer-centric approach to work with data. Matt has helped build and scale product management practices at companies ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 50 enterprises and has developed and led digital transformation and data strategy workshops for companies like GE, American Express, Pfizer, McCann, and Johnson & Johnson. Previously, he was a senior product manager at music startup Songza (acquired by Google) and head of consumer product at Bitly. Matt is the author of Product Management in Practice and Agile for Everybody from O'Reilly and was recognized as a top 50 product management influencer by the PM Year in Review in both 2016 and 2015. Matt is also a musician, recording engineer, and the author of a book about singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. He lives in Portland, OR, with his wife Joan and their turtle Sheldon.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Intro (5 minutes) - Presentation: Introduction to the course - Group discussion: Share a time that you solved a problem together with somebody who wasn’t in the same physical room as you

Mapping out your team practices (20 minutes) - Presentation: Colocated versus remote; synchronous versus asynchronous; how your team’s practices and ceremonies map to the two axes - Hands-on exercise: Map your teams’ exercises from colocated to remote and synchronous to asynchronous - Q&A

Making the leap: Translating from colocated to remote (15 minutes) - Presentation: Translating activities from colocated to remote; why this also means being purposeful about how you use synchronous versus asynchronous communication and collaboration - Hands-on exercise: Translate one colocated activity to a remote context, making sure that you deliberately place the resulting remote activity on an axis from synchronous to asynchronous and decide if you need to provide a complementary component (such as an asynchronous preread for a synchronous meeting or a synchronous follow-up for an asynchronous check-in) - Q&A

Break (5 minutes)

Tips for making the leap (40 minutes) - Presentation: General tips, tricks, and best practices for remote collaboration—using boring tools, “one remote, all remote,” and making every meeting shorter; common pitfalls and challenges to look out for in remote and distributed work - Hands-on exercise: Apply the tips, tricks, and best practices to a remote activity that your team is either practicing or considering adopting

Wrap-up and Q&A (5 minutes)