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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Distributed Teams - Suggestions and Pitfalls

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  • Steven Gordon
    Would it be feasible to get the entire team together (including product owner and key stakeholders) in a single locale for up to a week for a reset consisting
    Message 1 of 5 , Jan 19, 2007
      Would it be feasible to get the entire team together (including
      product owner and key stakeholders) in a single locale for up to a
      week for a reset consisting of:
      - some scrum training,
      - establishment of a product backlog and a common understanding of it
      (release planning),
      - planning a sprint, and
      - some low-key team building?

      I have found that doing this colocated at least once (preferably at
      the beginning of every release) increases collaboration and
      communication when distributed.

      Steve

      On 1/19/07, David A Jones <daj@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > I'm interested in other's experiences of working with geographically
      > dispersed teams - what works, what doesn't...
      >
      > I've been asked to "Project Manage" (my client's terminology) a
      > distributed team with members from several different organisations who,
      > to date, have not had a great deal of success in demonstrating delivery
      > of useful functionality to their end user/customer.
      >
      > I have quietly started to transition from a waterfall based approach to
      > Scrum in the two weeks since engaging. By proposing subtle changes in
      > working approaches (and using terms such such as "daily
      > meeting", "prioritised functional and non-functional requirements", "30
      > day delivery checkpoints" etc.) the team are becoming more accepting of
      > my involvement and suggested changes - the team appreciate that the
      > status quo approach won't get us where we need to be.
      >
      > However, the team is split across several sites and represent a number
      > of different organisations whose products we are seeking to integrate.
      > Hence the question.
      >
      > I appreciate any suggestions or links to useful resources...
      >
      > Thanks
      >
      > DAJ
    • Hubert Smits
      Hi David, Thank you for raising this question, my experience learns to create teams in the separate locations (if possible). Say you have people in New York,
      Message 2 of 5 , Jan 19, 2007
        Hi David,

        Thank you for raising this question, my experience learns to create
        teams in the separate locations (if possible). Say you have people in
        New York, Boston and LA, then create one or more teams (as defined in
        Scrum) in those locations, and group the teams around functional parts
        of your project. Say you build a Scrumtool, then New York could build
        the backlog manager, Boston the Burndown Chart and LA would be surfing
        of course. THere will still be overlap or commonalities, like the
        storage model. I therefore bring the teams together for planning
        sessions, and create space to discover the dependencies and solve them
        face-to-face. If all your teams are within a few timezones, then it
        should be easy to have a Scrum of Scrums every day using a conference
        call. And share information about the teams, pictures, create a wiki
        with personal information, rotate the folks around the teams, if you
        do bring them together for a planning session the go bowling or
        skydiving.

        Just some things that worked for me.

        --Hubert

        On 1/19/07, David A Jones <daj@...> wrote:
        > I'm interested in other's experiences of working with geographically
        > dispersed teams - what works, what doesn't...
        >
        > I've been asked to "Project Manage" (my client's terminology) a
        > distributed team with members from several different organisations who,
        > to date, have not had a great deal of success in demonstrating delivery
        > of useful functionality to their end user/customer.
        >
        > I have quietly started to transition from a waterfall based approach to
        > Scrum in the two weeks since engaging. By proposing subtle changes in
        > working approaches (and using terms such such as "daily
        > meeting", "prioritised functional and non-functional requirements", "30
        > day delivery checkpoints" etc.) the team are becoming more accepting of
        > my involvement and suggested changes - the team appreciate that the
        > status quo approach won't get us where we need to be.
        >
        > However, the team is split across several sites and represent a number
        > of different organisations whose products we are seeking to integrate.
        > Hence the question.
        >
        > I appreciate any suggestions or links to useful resources...
        >
        > Thanks
        >
        > DAJ
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
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        >
        >
        >
      • Eric Lefevre
        Hi David, I m on a project with a large offshore component. From the top of my head, a few of things that did not work: * video conversation (too bothersome to
        Message 3 of 5 , Jan 19, 2007
          Hi David,

          I'm on a project with a large offshore component.

          From the top of my head, a few of things that did not work:
          * video conversation (too bothersome to setup; see http://ericlefevre.net/wordpress/2006/10/24/webcams-with-a-remote-team-should-we-give-up/)
          * Retrospective Meetings: though offshore did manage to get theirs running, onshore never did so regularly, and it seems nobody has time for the common retrospective
          * generally, programming practices were difficult to teach; not sitting together with the other developers proved impossible to generalize unit tests writing
          * far from enough physical meetings; the few people who went back and forth between the 2 locations were usually managers and analysts
          * conference calls involving customers must be done with the normal phone system. Quality with Skype is slightly too bad for this type of discussions.

          What worked:
          * as Tobias mentions UltraVNC is great to show the other party how to do things; more reliable than RealVNC too
          * "always-on" webcams are good to give a feeling of together-ness
          * Iteration Backlogs using Excel and shared through CVS are adequate; not fantastic, but it works
          * daily Scrum meetings using Skype work well, though the time difference (with the added difficulty of winter saving time) makes it slightly harder to find a suitable common moment
          * for day-to-day work, Skype chat actually works better that Skype Voice, because less intrusive for the rest of the room, easier to understand (no issues with accents)

          HTH

          Eric

          On 19/01/07, David A Jones <daj@...> wrote:

          I'm interested in other's experiences of working with geographically
          dispersed teams - what works, what doesn't...

          I've been asked to "Project Manage" (my client's terminology) a
          distributed team with members from several different organisations who,
          to date, have not had a great deal of success in demonstrating delivery
          of useful functionality to their end user/customer.

          I have quietly started to transition from a waterfall based approach to
          Scrum in the two weeks since engaging. By proposing subtle changes in
          working approaches (and using terms such such as "daily
          meeting", "prioritised functional and non-functional requirements", "30
          day delivery checkpoints" etc.) the team are becoming more accepting of
          my involvement and suggested changes - the team appreciate that the
          status quo approach won't get us where we need to be.

          However, the team is split across several sites and represent a number
          of different organisations whose products we are seeking to integrate.
          Hence the question.

          I appreciate any suggestions or links to useful resources...

          Thanks

          DAJ


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