An Online Event for Those Working in Remote Teams

We’re trying a new format this year for our Internal Affair.
We’ll start on Monday 18 June, run a few sessions, and see if there’s anything we want to add to the event which continues on the following day.
For Tuesday 19 June, we’ve programmed a new set of sessions, but there is room to see what else emerges from those present.

Join us whenever you can!
Register at Eventbrite:


MONDAY 18 June
16.00 Kick Off – coffee and mingling
Orchestrated by Pilar Orti and Lisette Sutherland
Introduction to the event and what we do at Virtual Team Talk.
Share why you’re here, meet others, or just hang around listening to the conversation as it emerges.

16.30 Strengthening Culture with Celebration: Ideas for Virtual Parties, Casual Conversations, and Long-Distance Gifts.
A talk by Laurel Farrel, with plenty of room for you to share your experiences and ask your questions.
We know that shared rewards can strengthen culture, fuel motivation, and unify teams, but what does “cake in the break room” look like in virtual teams?

17.30 Break and Mingling

17.45 Creating a Shared Team Identity for a Global Virtual Team
A conversation led by Theresa Hollema and Howard B. Esbin
According to academic research, team identity can play a more important role in global virtual teams than onsite teams. Theresa and Howard will facilitate a conversation with those present about their experiences creating a team identity in a virtual team, reference the research from academia and share practices from other teams.

18.45 Break and Mingling

19.00 Are There Principles for Successful Distributed Teams?
A discovery session led by Mark Kilby
Many people focus on “best practices” or “best tools” but how do you know it will work for you? In this session, Mark will cover some of the principles that Johanna Rothman and him are starting to formulate in their new book for a particular type of knowledge work team: the distributed agile software team. We suspect that the principles can apply more broadly. Help us prove/disprove that by participating in some exercises to classify your distributed team type and characteristics and how you can use that to choose practices for your teams.

20.00 Closing Conversation
Is there anything that you still want to talk about? Any questions from the first session or anything that has popped to mind? Would you like to propose a session for Day 2? We’ll converse as long as we want or need to…

Tuesday 19 June

11.30am Kick Off and Coffee
Orchestrated by Lisette Sutherland and Pilar Orti
Were you here yesterday? Have you got any reflections to share?
Have you just joined us? Introduce yourselves and let’s get you up to speed…

12pm Cultural Challenges for Virtual Teams
A panel chaired by Darlene Pike with Theresa Hollema, Morgan Legge and Sue Westerway
This group of practitioners will share stories of success and failure in virtual teams. Maybe you have one or two to share as well…?

1.00pm Break/Mingling/Coffee/Lunch…

1.30pm Use the VIRTUAL Framework to Plan Your Next Leadership Steps
A workshop led by Pilar Orti and Maya Middlemiss
You know your team needs development but you’re not sure what area of teamwork to focus on next… Or you’re starting to lead a virtual team, but not sure what you will be faced with. Join us for this workshop and let us help you discover your own answers.

2.30pm Where Next?
We’ll co-create the programme with whoever is around.
Ask a question, present a dilemma, share a story or two…
In the spirit of an Unconference, we’ll decide where we want to go to next.
And if we’re short of ideas, here are some topics that have emerged so far:

Interior Design
Adventures in Podcasting

18 and 19 June 2018 Save the Dates!

This year’s Internal Affair, an online event where Virtual Team Talk members gather online to celebrate and experiment, will take place on 18 June from 1600 CET for about four hours and 19 June from 1030 CEST for about another four hours.

These starting times might change as we curate the content. We will publish a schedule two weeks before the event. Meanwhile, you can sign up here:

You can subscribe to this blog to receive the schedule into your inbox when it’s published. Or if you want to be a little bit more involved, join us now at Virtual Team Talk.



9 November Bring Your Own Book club

The first of our sessions where you get to share what you’re reading with other members of Virtual Team Talk.

Unpick what you’re enjoying most of your book by sharing it with others and discover new titles and authors. Plus get to spend some quality time together!

If you’re a member of Virtual Team Talk, join the #books_reading channel for more information.

If you’re not a “Virtual Team Talker”, this is the perfect excuse to join us!

Strengthening an Online Community

Five of us got together yesterday to take part in an open discussion on “What environment can we create to enable people to experiment or instigate change, in a remote set-up?”. We used the Lean Coffee format, where attendees suggest at the beginning of the session those specific issues or questions they want to address, and then the group creates the roadmap for the conversation through a voting system.

All the issues suggested yesterday were connected to understanding what conditions could encourage people specifically within Virtual Team Talk to initiate experiments or projects within the group, or to feel free to call group meetings or even organise events as a collective. At the moment there are plenty of asyncronous discussions and information exchanges, but very rarely do we actually collaborate.

The discussion moved very quickly to a suggestion by Nenad:

Could we try out Donut to randomly pair up people in the group to have chats together, to facilitate (in the pure form of the work, as in, to make easy) people in the group to meet each other informally?

(The app has actually been created for organisations to enable people who don’t work together to get to know each other. Trello also has a similar process, Mr Rogers, for doing this, but using Trello, of course.)

As we were discussing the pros and cons and how it might work practically (and emotionally) within the group, Simon pulled up the app website and integrated it into our Slack.

Voilá, by the end of the meeting (should we call it “meetup” as “meeting” sounds a bit formal…?) two relatively new members to the group had set up an experiment with the aim of strengthening relationships within the group: a first step in encouraging others to try initiate “stuff” themselves.

One of the reasons for encouraging people to experiment within an online community is to bring people closer to each other through “doing” something, sharing a common, specific objective or solving a problem that’s worth solving together (I could go as far as to say, it’s a problem they can ONLY solve together).

When you have limited personal time to put into a community (a self-organised community, not a component of a marketing strategy), the only way forward is to keep experimenting, to keep trying things out, a few times, with different people.

It was during a debrief of our Internal Affair, with only Mark, Mikey and myself that we identified that we weren’t sure what we needed in order for more people in the group to take the initiative to do “stuff” involving others. That question was then taken to our next video discussion, addressed by new people and turned into action, which now involves a wider group.

Creating an Environment for Experimentation

On Thursday 27 July 2017 at 4pm CEST we will be holding an online open discussion on the theme:

“What environment can we create to enable people to experiment or instigate change, in a remote set-up?”

The discussion will be facilitated, but what direction we take will depend on who is present on the day. So all we require from you is to bring your views, thoughts, struggles or even just your curiosity to the session.

On a practical note, you will need access to a Chrome browser, so that you can join us in Sococo (we’ll invite you) and we might be also using Zoom.

This event is for members of Virtual Team Talk, but you can easily become a member of the community by filling in this form:

And if you have any questions, please contact us through the contact form on this site.

We look forward to seeing you there!


An Internal Affair 14 June 2017

To join us CLICK HERE.

(To find out more, scroll below…)

The Members of Virtual Team Talk are delighted to invite you to our annual Internal Affair.

We are a group of people who know that working in virtual teams can be just as joyous as working in the collocated space. We know it doesn’t work for everyone, but we know that it works for us – and we understand the deliberate practice it takes to be able to operate as a remote / virtual / dispersed or even hybrid team.

On Wednesday 14th June, we will be gathering online for twelve hours from 10:00 CEST to 22:00 CEST (4:00 EST to 16:00 EST).

We have been creating a programme of talks and discussions around aspects of working in virtual teams. We’ll continue to massage the schedule as we go along, right onto the day, so that the schedule can adapt to those wanting to attend.

10:00 CEST Virtual Coffee
10:45 CEST  How To Convince Your Boss to Go Remote (Lightning talk and discussion)
12:00 CEST Open Space-style discussions

13:00 CEST Break

14:15 CEST / 07:00 EST Regrouping
14:30 CEST / 08:30 EST How Can We Best Advocate for an Office-Optional Workplace? (Facilitated discussion)
15:30 CEST/ 09:30 EST Conflict in Virtual Teams (Facilitated discussion)
16:30 CEST / 10:30 EST  Open Space-style discussions
17:30 CEST / 11:30 EST Facilitating Remote Team Discussions (Workshop)

18:30 CEST / 12:30 EST  Break

19:00 CEST / 13:00 EST Games Product Owners Play (Talk)
19:30 CEST / 13:30 EST “Squish Me”. Moving through dimensions in space and time (Talk)
20:00 CEST  / 14:00 EST Open Space-style discussions
20:30 CEST/ 14:30 EST Success with Agile Ceremonies in Distributed Teams (Collabinar)

21:30 CEST / 15:30 EST Virtual Coffee and Close

All the sessions are led by one or two Virtual Team Talk members.

Whether you can pop in for a couple of hours or whether you would like to spend a day online, we’d love to see you there.


Here’s how you can participate.

Click here and sign up to be part of Virtual Team Talk.

You will then be invited to our communication and collaboration hub in Slack, where you can follow how planning for the event is unfolding and pick up your joining instructions.

You’ll also have access to our online co-working space in Sococo.

On 14 June, you will need to have access to Slack to follow the schedule and any developments during the day.

You’ll also need to be able to access Sococo (via Chrome) and Zoom.

You will need a microphone and ideally a quiet space (so that you don’t have to be constantly muting/un-muting yourself) and a camera is important if you want to connect with those you haven’t met before.

Don’t forget to wear your best smile.

That’s probably all you need to know for now.

Sign up now by following this link:

And if you have any questions, fill in the contact form below.

We look forwards to seeing you soon!

We Continue Talking about Trust

We’re still having conversations around trust in virtual teams: how it’s built, what gets in the way, how it affects the work and its relationship with “working out loud” and values.

Yesterday, three of us continued the conversation and decided to press record so that we could share it with you, to see whether these conversations are any use to anyone else out there and to show that you can have high-quality conversations on video, as long as your internet is speed is good throughout and you don’t have too many interruptions (which we did, being home…)

We’ll continue publishing here our findings and thoughts. We’re also working on a framework/guidance notes/something or other to start pulling our findings into something that can be used by those working in virtual teams.

Let us know if you have anything to add, we’d love you to be part of the conversation. Please use the contact form to get in touch.