A few weeks ago I wrote an article about why new digital technologies drive organizations to look to nearshore Agile innovation. I promised that as follow-up I would provide guidance on how to create your own innovation team. I’m now providing that blog post.
Based on my experiences working with clients, here are my top five best practices for creating a nearshore innovation team:
1- Keep the team size to 7-10 members. While the exact team size will depend on a variety of variables, ideally you’ll want to keep the number low. If necessary use multiple sub-teams rather than one larger team. As team sizes increase, so does the potential for conflict, less cohesion, and less productivity.
2- Find the best talent, but remember the importance of culture. Talent is critical to responding to the wave of digital change. But it is equally important to develop an organizational culture which strives for excellence, and which challenges your best individuals and teams. In distributed teams, this means making sure the individuals you hire are well suited to collaborative work, and making sure they have communication skills and self-reliance. Work with specialized human resource teams to identify these individuals.
3- Precisely define the methodology together with the partner. This article refers to “Agile”, but this actually includes a range of different methodologies, such as behavior-driven development and Kanban. When working with a partner, make sure it is clearly defined. In addition, well known methodologies, such as Scrum, can be modified depending on your exact circumstances and requirements.
4- Clearly outline the partner´s roles and responsibilities as well as your own. Noise and friction can quickly develop when roles and responsibilities are not clearly defined. The process starts by knowing the skills needed, and identifying the profiles of individuals that match these skills together with your partner.
5- Put in place clear practices for communication for team members. Effective communication does not just happen, but rather needs to be proactively addressed. While email remains ubiquitous, it often slows down communication. The use of instant messaging, video conferencing, and screen sharing all contribute to faster, more effective communication.
I hope these practices help you in creating your own team. Do you have any additional practices that you would recommend? If so, please comment below- as always, I look forward to reading your comments.