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Any advice on working with implementations when all your devs and QA are on another timezone and not able to communicate too much online? This is my first experience being in a remote silo situation. There is an internal PM team at their location who gets a lot of their face time and easy access to information. From remote, it's hard as we only use Jira tickets but are stuck with waiting for responses, there is slack to connect but response time is slow as they are always busy and also two hours behind (they often suggest to stick to Jira). I just find it's easier for PMs to work with ops when we have the opportunity to build relationships and have direct contact, but it's feeling very difficult to do this as the only PM who is in another location.

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First of all, what's the difference between 'remote' and 'local' PM? Where these two roles differ? As the question stands, it looks like just you have a redundant position on the main office while the offshore team does the job. If that's the case, then I'd say the problem is likely to be at company level... after all, what's the reason on having two identical roles in two different locations?

Before trying to foster more communication and interaction with the team (doing the same the 'local' pm already does) I'd suggest to clarify how your specific position (far from the team) can help. An easy example: the team works off-shore but you work at the same place as the end user (or the directors, for the matter). How could you help? Being the focal point for all the escalations the team need.

I'd avoid working towards duplicate the same actions the local pm is already doing; instead, try to identify how your differences can be used in your benefit. If there's no benefit... then, your role is redundant.

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If you don’t have huge travel budget to build solid relation with remote team, then good option is to build proxy PM there to represent you. This will be a good opportunity for someone there to grow.

Good hits can be found in the book

Practices for Scaling Lean & Agile Development: Large, Multisite, and Offshore Product Development with Large-Scale Scrum by Larman and Vodde

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Increasing Communications and Collaboration

There are plenty of ways to improve communications and collaboration, but they all require political capital and active cooperation between teams. At the level of direct influence, you should:

  1. Get buy-in from the internal PM on the need for increased communication and collaboration.
  2. Work with the remote team to set up meetings, communications channels, and other workflows to increase the level of active cooperation.
  3. Raise the visibility of project costs and delays attributable to insufficient collaboration and ticket-based communication.

However, if this is a more systemic problem, you will need organizational support to fix it. That means retargeting all the advice above towards senior management, as they are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the project, as well as being the only people who can mandate and finance cross-team collaboration at a governance level.

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