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At a previous company, in order to encourage continuous learning, the developers would host lunch and learn sessions to talk about a technology or approach that could assist our organization or project. This was for the entire team (PO, devs, devops, QA), for those that wished to attend.

I'm currently the Scrum Master on a team that is somewhat distributed (40% in one office, 60% in another).

With the overall goal of encouraging continuous growth and improvement as a team, specialist, and individual, what strategies have you seen implemented successfully for a situation like this?

  • What collaboration facilities do you have between the offices? Can you do video conferencing in a good enough way that the other side can follow a presentation well and join the discussions? – Bart van Ingen Schenau Feb 21 at 15:35
  • What have tried already? How do you currently do meetings (e.g. refinement) with the scrum team? – Bart Mar 9 at 9:52
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Since the question has no hard boundaries and some points are left open, I'll try to have an abstract view on it in order to provide some ideas and ways you might find useful.

Is your question about "Lunch and Learn" explicitly?

If not then "transfer of knowledge" and "learning" is the focus. Some ideas:

  • Office-internal hackathons - Invite non-developers to code a little feature for your application. Might be hard to impossible to do depending on how willing and able the people are. But if they are, this can be a quite funny and insightful.
  • Application-specific tutorials - if you create a specific software application take one feature and present it in detail to others, maybe even go into the code
  • Wiki - Write tutorials and manuals into the wiki, or analyse new technologies and put the results into the Wiki, so other offices can read them remote
  • Mob-Coding - Invite the developers from the other office to a session of mob-coding, where you all try to code a new feature. This might also work remote over a video stream
  • If the two offices somehow meet like in a restaurante
    • Don't be afraid to have "no topic"
    • People tend to talk about work related topics often enough when they meet co-workers!

If "Lunch and Learn" is indeed the focus of your question, some other ideas:

  • If the offices are far apart from one another
    • make a video conference in the lunch pause
    • have each office make their own Lunch and Learn, this also depends on the size of the offices and if they are large enough
    • have a (regular?) meeting in the geographical middle of both offices. This way both offices have the chance to somehow meet without traveling too long
    • have some "chosen ones" that take part in those meetings, afterwards they can share the new knowledge with the others in the office
  • If the offices are nearby
    • Lunch and Learn should be possible normally

Does this answer your question or am I thinking in the wrong direction?

|improve this answer|||||
  • Excellent points. Also: one group that I met would do these as video-conferences where at the start of the meeting everyone would show what they were eating at the time. Yes, there were some ramen noodles, but quite a few of the members were very good cooks. These days, I think that video conferencing technology is good enough, reliable enough and cross-platform enough to take care of everything. – Mike Robinson Mar 23 at 14:42

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