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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 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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Agile distributed teams

  1. 1. Agile Distributed Teams<br />Ariel Schapiro –<br />
  2. 2. Stats<br />
  3. 3. Stats<br />32% + 13%<br />=<br />45%<br />
  4. 4. Why distributed?<br />Global markets<br />Costs<br />Specialization<br />Talent<br />“Follow the sun”<br />
  5. 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.”<br />Ken Schwaber,<br />The Enterprise and Scrum<br />Co-located<br />
  6. 6. War-rooms vs. cubicles<br />Co-located<br />
  7. 7. Co-located<br />Productivity<br />Activities<br />Distraction and recognition<br />
  8. 8. Distribution levels<br />Devs<br />Customer<br />QA<br />Sponsor<br />
  9. 9. Challenges<br />
  10. 10. Goal<br />Minimize impact<br />
  11. 11. Communication<br />HOW<br />WHAT<br />Status, plan, progress,<br />Problems, discussions, expositions, training, complaints, congratulations, help…<br />Frequent but efficient<br />Channels for every need<br />Balanced coordination and points of reference<br />“Share the pain”<br />
  12. 12. Follow-up meetings<br />Presentations: inspiring, easy to follow, to the point<br />Live meeting minutes / collaborative<br />Checkpoints (open questions, summaries)<br />“sorry I was on mute”<br />
  13. 13. Slide 47 with a very long title (the “anti slide”)<br />Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetuer adipiscing elit. Maecenas porttitorconguemassa. Fusceposuere, magna sed pulvinarultricies, puruslectusmalesuada libero, sitametcommodo magna eros quis urna. Nunc viverraimperdietenim. Fusceest.<br />Vivamus a tellus. Pellentesquehabitantmorbitristiquesenectus et netus et malesuadafamesacturpisegestas. Proinpharetranonummypede. Mauris et orci. Aeneanneclorem.<br />In porttitor. Doneclaoreetnonummyaugue. Suspendisse dui purus, scelerisque at, vulputate vitae, pretiummattis, nunc. Maurisegetneque at semvenenatiseleifend. Utnonummy.<br />Fuscealiquetpede non pede. Suspendissedapibuslorempellentesque magna. Integernulla. Donecblanditfeugiat ligula. Donechendrerit, felis et imperdieteuismod, purus ipsum pretiummetus, in lacinianullanislegetsapien.<br />
  14. 14. Email<br />1:1-N <br />Formal <br />Discussions<br />
  15. 15. IM<br />1:1<br />Ideas/thoughts<br />Tool to get closer<br />Status (available, busy, etc.)<br />Availability + progress<br />To the point<br />Formal (?)<br />Focus<br />Exit<br />Sensitive issues<br />
  16. 16. Phone<br />1:1<br />Urgency/sensitive issue<br />Tone<br />Official<br />Availability<br />Agenda<br />
  17. 17. Repository<br />“Maps and dictionaries”<br />Videos<br />Tools<br />Backlog<br />Issues<br />Shared Knowledge<br />
  18. 18. Change of channels<br />Minimum doc necessary<br />Sketches  “specltes”  doc<br />Organization based on distribution (Conway’s Law)<br />Flexible process<br />
  19. 19. Trust<br />Frequent visits (sponsors, team members)<br />Feedback:<br />1:1<br />Retrospectives<br />Previous team cohesion<br />
  20. 20. Sample<br />
  21. 21. Thanks!<br />
  22. 22. References and recommended readings<br />Scrum and XP from the Trenches - Henrik Kniberg<br />The Enterprise and Scrum - Ken Schwaber<br />A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum – Elizabeth Woodward<br />Adapting Agile Methods for Complex Environments - IBM<br />Global Development and Delivery in Practice (GDD) – IBM<br />Distributed Agile Development at Microsoft patterns & practices – Ade Miller<br />State of Agile Survey 2010 – VersionOne<br />How Does Radical Collocation Help a Team Succeed? - Stephanie Teasley<br />Exploring the Duality between Product and Organizational Architectures: A Test of the “Mirroring” - Alan MacCormackHypothesis <br />2008 IT Project Success Rates Survey Results - Ambysoft<br />