Saturday August 25 2018, Cockle Bay, 10:30 AEST

Come to this presentation to learn how a team of seven people, working across 17 time zones, became one of the best performing cross-functional product teams in an organisation. We’ll share how we got here, what we learned and our key principles for building a high performing remote first team.

Four short years ago, this organisation began a journey to develop Identity (access and authorisation) as an internally facing product. As a global organisation we needed to offer a global product, which was supported 24 hours a day and at least 5 days a week. As an organisation, we have always focussed on using Agile approaches to developing and delivering products and co-location was always considered important. But it was not going to work this time, Identity, and the services we offered were key, not only to every one of our colleagues, but also to the work of every internal team no matter where in the world they were, so we needed to think differently.

We set out to deliberately build a remote first, cross-functional product team, our mission was to be the team that facilitated joined up thinking across all our initiatives, but we were going to do this remotely. We also had a goal to be the most effective, closest and most cohesive team in the organisation, the team everyone wanted to join.

This presentation tells the story of our journey and shares the most important things we have learned and how we have grown into a high performing team, without ever sitting in a room together.


  • How to find the right people in the right places.
  • How to develop asynchronous ways of working together
  • How to work with other teams (both remote first and colocated).
  • How to free the team from distractions and focus on delivery

Watch 'Remote First, Not Second Best.' on PyCon AU's YouTube account

Kelsey van Haaster

Kelsey van Haaster
ThoughtWorks Inc

Kelsey currently works with the world’s most remote cross-functional product team to deliver Digitial Identity as a product to more than 5000 ThoughtWorkers in 40 offices spread across 12 countries. With a 25 year background in IT, Kelsey has been working with lean and agile approaches to product delivery for many years in many different roles. Kelsey is an active member of the Agile community and regularly speaks at conferences, meetups and other events.