Key Principle: Fix the System, Not the Individual

Decriminalizing errors is important for the success of distributed Agile teams.

Geographically distributed development increases miscommunication, which in turn increases errors. Geographically distributed teams spend more of their time fixing defects than a co-located team would—because of both increased defect counts and increased defect resolution times caused by the distance between the teams. Increased error rates tend to increase stress, which increases the tendency to point fingers and assign blame.

To be successful with a geographically distributed team, it’s important to emphasize the principle of decriminalizing errors. Treat errors as system problems, not personnel problems. Ask this question: What is it about our system that allowed this error to occur? This is a good practice in general, but it’s especially important in a geographically distributed environment.

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