The “Distributed Teams” book – created by a distributed team!

Here’s a little trivia about the book “Distributed Teams: The Art and Practice of Working Together While Physically Apart“. This book *about* distributed teams was created *by* a distributed team.

Catherine, Linda and I live in three different states (California, New York and Utah), in three different timezones and never once met in person during the creation of this book. Instead, we “walked the talk” – following the practices from the book while writing the book.

We held video calls instead of audio-only conference calls. We used pre-agreed Single Source of Truth to track each person’s work as well as the state of the overall project. We had crisply organized communications. Depending on the phase of the project, sometimes we co-worked on multi-hour video calls multiple days in a row and sometimes we didn’t talk all week. But we always knew the latest status of what the others were working on. These, and many other tactics, came from the “How” section of the book and were essential for helping this team work well together while physically apart.

I note for the record: Catherine and I had never worked together before. Linda and I had worked together once before, years ago, on a completely unrelated project. This team went from “forming” to “performing” (bypassing the “storming” part!) while never once meeting in person. It was a great team to be a part of and one of the highlights of the whole book writing process. We’ll be working together again, I know it!

John.

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