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Achieving the Full Potential of Your Distributed Agile Team (AgileAus 2013)


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Achieving the Full Potential of Your Distributed Agile Team .
A workshop for those working in complex environments.

Given at Agile Australia 2013

Published in: Technology, Business
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Achieving the Full Potential of Your Distributed Agile Team (AgileAus 2013)

  1. 1. Achieving the Full Potential of Your Distributed Agile Team A workshop for those working in complex environments Scalable. Flexible. Open. Dipesh Pala Agile Capability Lead Kurt Solarte Agile Practice Lead @KurtSolarte @DipeshPala
  2. 2. Morning Agenda Topic 1. Background and Introductions 9:00 Social Contract 2. Why are we distributed? Group Discussion: Why are you distributed? BREAK 10:30 3. Types of Distribution 11:00 Exercise: What are your greatest challenges? 4. Choosing Communication and Collaboration Methods Demo: Collaboration with Rational Team Concert 5. Time Zone Issues Exercise: Picture with 2 sentences LUNCH 12:30
  3. 3. Afternoon Agenda Topic LUNCH 12:30 Exercise - Mini Farm 1:30 BREAK 3:00 6. Language and Culture Issues 3:30 7. Dealing with Teleconference Dysfunctions 8 . Tips for Distributed Agile Activities Open Discussion Close 5:00
  4. 4. Part 1: Background and Introductions
  5. 5. Our Social ContractOur Social ContractOur Social ContractOur Social Contract We, as a team, agree that:We, as a team, agree that:We, as a team, agree that:We, as a team, agree that: we will…we will…we will…we will… • • And we will not…And we will not…And we will not…And we will not… • •
  6. 6. Our Social ContractOur Social ContractOur Social ContractOur Social Contract Anyone breaching this social contract will be rewarded with an opportunity to enlighten the rest of the team with a small motivational talk. The topic of the talk will be randomly picked by the individual from “the jar” that will be pre-populated with a selection of topics. All team members are requested to submit a topic by placing a stick- note with the talk title in “the jar”. You can continue submitting the random topics as you come up with them in the future. Each talk should be no less that 30 seconds and to a maximum of 2 minutes in duration.
  7. 7. Our Expectations
  8. 8. Agile Scaling Factors
  9. 9. Agile Community Survey Circa 2007 Members from 7 Business Units responded -- SWG, STG, GBS, GTS, CHQ, Research, Learning Members in 12 countries (India, China, US, Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Ireland, UK,Brazil, Mexico and Canada) provided feedback 98 projects were represented What is Your Greatest Challenge?
  10. 10. #1 Challenge for IBM Teams was*? Working as a distributed team! Note: This is just one unit, IBM Software Group Canada Toronto,Ottawa Montreal, Victoria Edinburgh London / Staines Milton Keynes Haifa Rehovot China Beijing Shanghai Yamato Taiwan Paris PornichetBeaverton Kirkland Seattle Foster City San Francisco SVL/San Jose Almaden Agoura Hills Irving El Segundo Costa Mesa Las Vegas Andover Bedford, MA Bedford, NH Lexington Westborough Westford Cambridge Cork Dublin Galway India Bangalore Pune Hyderabad Gurgaon Cairo Rome Gold Coast Sydney Canberra Fairfax Raleigh Charlotte Lexington, KY Atlanta Boca Raton Tampa Perth Krakow Warsaw Sao Paulo Malaysia Delft Stockholm Pittsburgh Poughkeepsie Somers Rochester, MN Boulder Denver Lenexa, KA Tucson Phoenix Austin Dallas Boeblingen Hursley Warwick York Southbury New York City Princeton
  11. 11. Example Mid-Size Team 338 Members World Wide China 40 Westford 22 Dublin 10 India 20 Sydney 44 Raleigh 79 Boeblingen 123 Core Team US 101 Germany 123 China 40 Sydney 44 Dublin 10 India 20 Total 338
  12. 12. We turned to the broader Agile community for discussion* &and to the creators of Scrum for validation of adherence to spirit
  13. 13. Agile transformation is a culture change “Culture reflects the realities of people working together every day& &a set of values, practices, and traditions that define who we are as a group.” --Frances Hesselbeim Uwe Kils)
  14. 14. Of course, Agile provides us with values, practices, traditions& Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan Agile Manifesto Values Satisfy the Customer Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. Welcome Change Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. Deliver Frequently Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. Business + Development Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Trust the Team Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. F2F Communication The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. Working Software Working software is the primary measure of progress. Sustainable Pace Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. Technical Excellence Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. Simplicity Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential. Self Organizing The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. Reflections At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
  15. 15. Embrace the values and principles to fully benefit
  16. 16. Part 2: Common Reasons for Distributed Teams
  17. 17. Group Discussion: Why are you distributed? Do you consider it a “valid” reason?
  18. 18. Distribution - Why & How
  19. 19. Access to New Markets 2012 Gartner CEO and Senior Business Executive survey: Expansion into new markets or geographies was one of top three 2012 priorities.
  20. 20. Cost Reduction “In Asian countries, labor cost is very low. In India, the labor wages are less than 50% of their equivalent labor in USA and other European countries.”* *Fabriek, Matthias, Reasons for success and failure in Offshore Software development projects, Department of Information and Computing Sciences, Utrech University, The Netherlands, August, 2007. Growth Country 2012 Cost Index % Cost Advantage China 74.2 25.8% India 74.7 25.3% Mexico 79.0 21.0% Russia 80.3 19.7% Brazil 93.0 7.0% KPMG’s Competitive Alternatives survey
  21. 21. Expanding for Innovation and Thought Leadership “Multinational companies produce more ideas than purely domestic counterparts.” Chiara Criscuolo "Why Are Some Firms More Innovative? Knowledge Inputs, Knowledge Stocks, and the Role of Global Engagement"* April 2004
  22. 22. Telecommuting and Convenience “30 percent of workers in India, Mexico, and Indonesia claim to telecommute regularly, and one in ten overall work from home every day.”* *
  23. 23. Speed to Market with “Follow the Sun” “We conclude that there was an approximate 10% reduction in development duration - rather than the theoretical 50% of FTS.” Erran Carmel, et al. Follow The Sun Software Development: New Perspectives, Conceptual Foundation, and Exploratory Field Study
  24. 24. Acquisitions As of June 6, 2011 IBM had invested more than $14 billion in 24 acquisitions to expand just its analytics capabilities. Microsoft has acquired approximately 148 companies. Cisco has acquired approximately 153 companies.
  25. 25. Access to Needed Skills
  26. 26. Improved Tools for Distance Collaboration • High-speed Internet • Voice Over IP • Video Conferencing • Whiteboards • Electronic Meeting Tools • Electronic Whiteboards • Collaborative editing tools • Chat • Email • Blogs • Forums • Social Networking • Mobile/Smartphone • ALM Tools&
  27. 27. Part 3: Types of Distribution
  28. 28. Types of Geographical Distribution * Greater opportunity for language and cultural differences. Collocated Collocated part-time Distributed with overlapping work hours* Distributed without overlapping work hours* Increasing Challenge
  29. 29. Isolated Scrum Teams Deliverable A: Cross-Functional Scrum Team (3-9 Team Members) Deliverable C: Cross-Functional Scrum Team (3-9 Team Members) Deliverable B: Cross-Functional Scrum Team (3-9 Team Members) Sutherland and Schoenheim, Fully Distributed Scrum, 2008 IBM Global Business Services Examples
  30. 30. Distributed Scrum of Scrums Scrum of Scrums 1. What did your team do yesterday? 2. What will your team do today? 3. What blockers do you have? 4. What blockers might you throw in another team’s way? Sutherland and Schoenheim, Fully Distributed Scrum, 2008 IBM Research Technology Integration and IBM Global Business Services Examples
  31. 31. Totally Integrated Scrum (with Scrum of Scrums) Deliverable A: Cross-Functional Scrum Team (3-9 Team Members) Deliverable B: Cross-Functional Scrum Team (3-9 Team Members) Deliverable C: Cross-Functional Scrum Team (3- 9 Team Members) Scrum of Scrums Sutherland and Schoenheim, Fully Distributed Scrum, 2008 Large-scale Product Development Examples
  32. 32. Feature Teams Team is aware of how their work addresses the needs of end users. Dependencies are reduced. Handoffs are reduced. Planning is easier. Design issues are found and corrected earlier. Administer user accounts Administer Web server accounts Bill for services Administer email accounts Feature teams work on customer- centric capabilities delivered as features in the final product.
  33. 33. Component Teams Where teams are focused primarily on “layers” or components rather than features: Limited understanding of problem Increased dependencies Delays for feature teams Bottleneck for feature teams that use the components Slower to detect and correct design flaws Creates risk Feature: Administer user accounts Component Team: Database Team Component Team: Web Services Team Component Team: Billing System Team Feature: Administer Billing details Component Teams
  34. 34. Exercise: What is the greatest challenge that your Distributed teams (might) face?
  35. 35. Challenges & Tips
  36. 36. Part 4: Choosing Your Method for Communicating and Collaborating
  37. 37. Strive for the Richest Communication Channel Possible
  38. 38. Nonverbal Communication Edward T. Hall (1959), a renowned social anthropologist, argued that in a normal conversation: “More than 65 percent of social meaning occurs through the nonverbal channel.”
  39. 39. Critical Tools for Distributed Team Communication 11 • Conference phones and headsets 22 • Screen sharing 33 • Instant messenger 44 • Video conferencing 55 • Agile Project Management (Electronic Storyboard) 66 • Lifecycle Management
  40. 40. That Was Basic Communication& What About Collaboration? Silo’d teams; disconnected data Important discussions are lost to email -project records are missing the “real reason” for decisions Unified team shares linked data ALM environment tracks what is important for delivering “Am I blocking others” “Are others waiting for my approval” ww w
  41. 41. Collaborating in Real-time and in Context of Project Work Team Awareness Shows team members and their online status Discussions kept with work for all time Change Awareness Automatically links to changes if mentioned in chat Drag and drop any work item or query into chat Avoid Duplication Find potential duplicates Subscribe team members Move / Copy work between projects Rational Team Concert
  42. 42. Part 5: Dealing with Time Zone Issues
  43. 43. Approaches to Time Zone Issues Use a Liaison Whole team Consistent Date/time Whole team Alternating Meeting Times Documentation (and chat)
  44. 44. Using documentation Anyone who cannot attend documents their answers in an e-mail or wiki The Scrum Master reads their answers in the meeting BUT& Lack of opportunity for Q&A Less rich communication vehicle People don’t always read about what team mates are doing Reduces the whole team experience Reduces peer pressure
  45. 45. Meeting via instant messaging (form of documentation) Transcript of session produce notes for the meeting Makes the meeting easier for non-native speakers BUT& Complete loss of non-verbal communication Difficult to gauge if everyone is paying attention Depends on the Scrum Master to start on time Hard to follow if the meeting is not structured Instant Messaging
  46. 46. Taking a Liaison Approach Team schedules the meeting at two different times Team members attend at the meeting time most convenient to them One team member serves as a liaison and attends both meetings Liaison communicates information from the other meeting 4 7
  47. 47. Taking a Liaison Approach Pros Better for sustainable pace Allows for a degree of visibility on everyone’s work Can be better than docs because people can ask questions. Richer communication medium. Cons The liaison is basically “playing telephone” The liaison may not present all the details Risk of fracturing of the team Negative impact on “whole team” view Negative affect on the work-life balance of the liaison
  48. 48. Exercise: Describe this in 2 sentences& (in 1 min)
  49. 49. 3 Important Questions What days/times work best for you (including hours outside of normal hours)? Which days/times are okay? Which days/times are off limits? 1 2 3
  50. 50. Even if you have fancy tools& ask!
  51. 51. Or, you can alternate meeting times for whole team Team identifies two different times for the meeting Team alternates the time used for the daily scrum at a set frequency (every day, every week) Everyone is encouraged to attend Anyone who cannot attend documents their answers in an e-mail or wiki The Scrum Master reads their answers in the meeting 5 2
  52. 52. Alternating Meeting Times Pros Everyone shares equally in the compromise Aligns best with interactive spirit of Scrum and Agile Verbal communication Opportunity for Q&A Greater pressure to deliver on commitments Cons Challenging for sustainable pace Some may not be willing to share the pain Loss of information from members if team members don’t show up during the hours that are bad for them
  53. 53. Distributed Scrum Game Miniature Farm
  54. 54. Game: Miniature Farm The aim is to create a miniature farm while using the Distributed Scrum Framework. Timings Event Duration Release Planning / Planning Poker 30 mins Sprint (including Sprint Planning) 6 mins Sprint Review 5 mins Sprint Retrospective 5 mins Final Production Release (Demo) 5 mins
  55. 55. Miniature Farm – Release Planning (30 mins) Inputs • Product Backlog • Product Vision • Team Capacity • Risks, Issues, Dependencies Agenda Product Owner presents the product vision and goals Product Owner reviews key milestones and dates Product Owner presents the first cut of the Product Backlog Team asks questions to understand the stories Team estimates the stories at a high level Team estimates initial capacity/velocity per sprint Team produces a Release Plan Key Risks, Assumptions, Risks and Dependencies are recorded
  56. 56. Miniature Farm – Sprint Planning Inputs • Product Backlog • Prior velocity • Team capacity • Risks, Issues, Dependencies Agenda Product Owner proposes the Product Backlog for review Product Owner and Team review and clarify each item Larger Stories are broken down if necessary Team and Product Owner clearly define the Acceptance Criteria for every story Team estimates all resultant stories Team selects the stories they can complete within this sprint Team identifies the Sprint Goal or Theme Product Owner agrees with the order in which work will be completed
  57. 57. The Agile Farm
  58. 58. Part 6: Language and Culture Issues
  59. 59. Literally Speaking& Publicity photo from Oprah Winfrey show. Some rights reserved. What does this mean? Paul is a bit blue today. Paul ist blau. Paul is true blue. Until Paul is blue in the face.
  60. 60. Communication Tools
  61. 61. Addressing Language Issues 1 • Keep language simple• Keep language simple 2 • Say the same thing more than one way• Say the same thing more than one way 3 • Give everyone a chance to be heard• Give everyone a chance to be heard 4 • Use text or verbal as needed• Use text or verbal as needed 5 • Confirm understanding• Confirm understanding 6 • Use translator/transcription as needed• Use translator/transcription as needed
  62. 62. Cultural Differences The meaning of “Yes”
  63. 63. Cultural Differences 11 • Impacts effectiveness of communication 22 • In some cultures, it is inappropriate for someone to say they do not understand the speaker 33 • Humor does not always translate well 44 • Each person interprets conversation based on their cultural background… 55 • Impact on Holiday Schedules
  64. 64. Part 7: Dealing with Teleconference Dysfunctions
  65. 65. Teleconference Dysfunctions Side conversations One person talks too much Lack of understanding Lack of attention Too little information “Us” vs “Them” Assuming commitment
  66. 66. Teleconference Tips Make sure everyone can dial in Make sure everyone can dial in Work in meeting rooms with telephones Work in meeting rooms with telephones Identify the speaker until team becomes more familiar Identify the speaker until team becomes more familiar Handle missing visual cues Handle missing visual cues Encourage participation Encourage participation Limit the side conversations Limit the side conversations Mute the linesMute the lines Check for agreement and disagreement Check for agreement and disagreement Name a remote team representative Name a remote team representative When nothing else works, everyone dials in Everyone is a moderator
  67. 67. Part 8: Tips for Distributed Sprint Activities
  68. 68. Trust and Connection
  69. 69. Get to know each other Culture, customs, personality, family, likes, dislikes&
  70. 70. Distributed Planning May have to do planning in two chunks of time rather than one solid (4-hour) block Will need/want an electronic agile planning tool to pull stories into the Sprint plan Typically use electronic modeling, drawing tools and screen sharing. May do some diagrams offline and share electronically. Easy Planning Poker (Chat, everyone enters the number of story points) Teams will share files and links to facilitate discussions
  71. 71. Distributed Daily Scrums
  72. 72. Distributed Retrospectives “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.”*
  73. 73. Demos
  74. 74. “Rotation” Approach
  75. 75. Example Social Contract We commit to be honest with each other. If we have a concern, a doubt, a worry, or if we see a problem, we commit to surface it to each other immediately. If we are unhappy about something that has happened, or something that the other has done, we commit to surface this immediately to each other. We commit not to escalate a problem to upper management without first trying to work it out with each other. If an escalation does become necessary, we commit to letting each other know in advance, so it doesn't catch anyone by surprise. We recognise that people make mistakes and have misunderstandings, and that the important thing is to find and fix the mistake or misunderstandings as quickly as we can. For this reason, we commit to each other that there will be no retribution for surfacing a problem or a concern, a mistake or misunderstanding, or for speaking honestly.
  76. 76. Key Takeaways 1. Even though one of the primary tenets of The Agile Manifesto is that teams need to be co-located, it’s no longer required for everything 2. If you’re not co-located, tight collaboration and coordination is imperative. Make sure that everyone is communicating, both in real time and in non-real time 3. Tools are critical, but they are not the only answer. It’s necessary to have good processes in place, and for team members to meet in person as frequently as possible 4. Technology will help bridge most obstacles so code review, wikis, discussion forums, bug tracking, requirement tracking, Continuous Integration and SCM tools are very important 5. Having one integrated platform helps breeding synergy, transparency, productivity and trust increases efficiencies across projects and organisations.
  77. 77. WOWs!, Risks, & Parking
  78. 78. Related Books
  79. 79. Thank You Our Contact details: Dipesh Pala Agile Capability Lead Kurt Solarte Agile Practice Lead @KurtSolarte @DipeshPala