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Disclaimer: I am new to the scaled agile topic.

I researched a bit about how to scale scrum -> Scaled scrum/agile frameworks (SAFe vs. Nexus vs. LeSS) comparison and I like the comparably lean approach of LeSS and Nexus due to its open collaboration practices.

For co-located teams this will probably work out very well.

However, I am wondering if LeSS/Nexus would also work in practice in a setting with geographically and time-zone distributed teams and even some remote team members within a local team.

I assume the joint scrum events as well as building a healthy cross-team spirit will become difficult to achieve.

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Short answer: yes.

Being remote and geographically separated does bring challenges, but they are no different than facilitating any other meetings or teamwork in the same circumstances.

You're going to have to invest time and money into keeping people connected. You'll need to make the most of times where hours overlap. One of the counter-intuitive things you'll need to do is lean into the challenges of working together, not avoid them. Many organizations try to create handoffs and ways for people in, say, Canada, to protect their work day from people in, say, China. This often leads to the building of bigger barriers and messier handoffs. If, instead, the teams are forced to rely on each other, it forces your teams and organizations to solve these problems in creative ways. I worked with one organization that got through this learning curve and ended up with a team that basically worked 24-hours a day, because as some of the team rolled off, other members just picked up the work. It took a while to get there, but it was a real asset to the company once they did.

And that's one more thing to make clear - this isn't easy. Everyone involved should understand that if you're going to take this on, you're investing in some future goal and payoff. You will slow down in the short term and you will send time solving challenges that will take away from time producing product. Everyone from the stakeholders to the team needs to be on board with this or they will subvert it.

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