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Agile distributed teams

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Agile methodologies may find their comfort zone with co-located teams and with customers that are at hand for giving quick and valuable feedback. Is it possible to keep agility in distributed teams …

Agile methodologies may find their comfort zone with co-located teams and with customers that are at hand for giving quick and valuable feedback. Is it possible to keep agility in distributed teams scenarios, where the customer is miles away and testers at the other side of the world? What are the main challenges when face-to-face communication is minimized and the time zone and cultural differences are an everyday factor? What approaches, processes and tools can help overcoming these challenges?

2 weeks ago I had the privilege to present at the Agiles@BsAs monthly meeting a topic that addresses these questions: “Agile Distributed Teams”. In particular, I shared some stats and findings of co-located vs. distributed approaches for agile teams and shared some approaches that tend to minimize the impact of being remote.

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  • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k67NfWRJCn0 (10:30)
  • Transcript

    • 1. Agile Distributed Teams
      Ariel Schapiro – ariel.schapiro@southworks.net
    • 2. Stats
    • 3. Stats
      32% + 13%
      =
      45%
    • 4. Why distributed?
      Global markets
      Costs
      Specialization
      Talent
      “Follow the sun”
    • 5. “High-bandwidth communication is one of the core practices of Scrum… The best communication is face to face, with communications occurring through facial expression, body language, intonation, and words. When a white board is thrown in and the teams work out design as a group, the communication bandwidth absolutely sizzles.”
      Ken Schwaber,
      The Enterprise and Scrum
      Co-located
    • 6. War-rooms vs. cubicles
      Co-located
    • 7. Co-located
      Productivity
      Activities
      Distraction and recognition
    • 8. Distribution levels
      Devs
      Customer
      QA
      Sponsor
    • 9. Challenges
    • 10. Goal
      Minimize impact
    • 11. Communication
      HOW
      WHAT
      Status, plan, progress,
      Problems, discussions, expositions, training, complaints, congratulations, help…
      Frequent but efficient
      Channels for every need
      Balanced coordination and points of reference
      “Share the pain”
    • 12. Follow-up meetings
      Presentations: inspiring, easy to follow, to the point
      Live meeting minutes / collaborative
      Checkpoints (open questions, summaries)
      “sorry I was on mute”
    • 13. Slide 47 with a very long title (the “anti slide”)
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    • 14. Email
      1:1-N
      Formal
      Discussions
    • 15. IM
      1:1
      Ideas/thoughts
      Tool to get closer
      Status (available, busy, etc.)
      Availability + progress
      To the point
      Formal (?)
      Focus
      Exit
      Sensitive issues
    • 16. Phone
      1:1
      Urgency/sensitive issue
      Tone
      Official
      Availability
      Agenda
    • 17. Repository
      “Maps and dictionaries”
      Videos
      Tools
      Backlog
      Issues
      Shared Knowledge
    • 18. Change of channels
      Minimum doc necessary
      Sketches  “specltes”  doc
      Organization based on distribution (Conway’s Law)
      Flexible process
    • 19. Trust
      Frequent visits (sponsors, team members)
      Feedback:
      1:1
      Retrospectives
      Previous team cohesion
    • 20. Sample
    • 21. Thanks!
    • 22. References and recommended readings
      Scrum and XP from the Trenches - Henrik Kniberg
      The Enterprise and Scrum - Ken Schwaber
      A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum – Elizabeth Woodward
      Adapting Agile Methods for Complex Environments - IBM
      Global Development and Delivery in Practice (GDD) – IBM
      Distributed Agile Development at Microsoft patterns & practices – Ade Miller
      State of Agile Survey 2010 – VersionOne
      How Does Radical Collocation Help a Team Succeed? - Stephanie Teasley
      Exploring the Duality between Product and Organizational Architectures: A Test of the “Mirroring” - Alan MacCormackHypothesis
      2008 IT Project Success Rates Survey Results - Ambysoft

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