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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Setting up new Scrum team....

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  • Alan Dayley
    Nice contribution to the discussion, Gareth. I must admit, your location structure simply shocks me. The communication cost must be very high. The fact that
    Message 1 of 11 , Aug 29, 2010
      Nice contribution to the discussion, Gareth.

      I must admit, your location structure simply shocks me.  The communication cost must be very high.  The fact that you (everyone involved) is making it work is a great accomplishment!


      On Sun, Aug 29, 2010 at 9:22 PM, <gareth.mercer@...> wrote:

      Without wanting to sound like a Nike ad – just do it and do it properly.  (‘It’ being scrum.)


      I’m currently going through a similar project / process. 


      ·         Scrum Master – me – in Sydney, Australia

      ·         Team – Shanghai, China

      ·         Technical adviser / architect – New Jersey, US (provided initial technical training etc)

      ·         Product Owner – New Jersey, US

      ·         My boss – California, US

      ·         Input (mainly technical) from a couple of other people in the US, New Zealand, Australia and India


      One difference would be that we all work for one company – we off shore, but do not out source.  Everyone in the team in Shanghai is new to the project, all but one is new to the company, and all are new to the technical framework being used.


      At first I tried to introduce some of the scrum principles gradually.  This was because trying to combine work with recruitment and training in a team that gained at least one new person every week for a couple of months was very difficult.  This didn’t work - for instance the first ‘sprint’ turned into this vague thing that never ended.  Things only really got going when we drew a line in the sand and started proper 2 week sprints.


      Hence my initial advise of just getting on with scrum.


      Some things will be very difficult early on.  But that shouldn’t stop you – you have to start at some point.  For instance getting a new team to size epics and stories is very difficult.  But it’s only by doing it that you learn and get better. 


      I’ve been able to visit Shanghai twice so far.  It’s been invaluable.  For instance being there to do an early sprint planning, or the first sizing session made it much more succesful.


      I’d recommend short sprints.  One of the reason I went for two weeks, was that we would really struggle to define enough work for a longer period.  We didn’t know how a story was going to be delivered or how long it would take – until we got into it.  Also the priorities on the PBL where rapidly changing.  So the short sprint gave us plenty of time to learn and adapt – and for the PO to see what we were doing and prioritise accordingly.


      Having said all that I’ll possibly contradict myself by saying there needs to be some flexibility.  Maybe you want to implement some aspect of scrum with the team that they are resistant to, or that won’t stick.  Sometimes you need to push a little closer to where you want to be each sprint until the team see the wisdom in what you are trying to do.


      I’d agree with many of the practical points already mentioned – especially around communication.


      Don’t expect the first few sprints to be huge successes!  But do cling to the fact that they will rapidly improve.


      My final point is one of encouragement.  Of course it’s harder than everyone being in the same room.  But it can work.  We’re five sprints (10 weeks) in and we’ve had some form of working software at the end of each sprint.  We’re making good progress on delivering on the product backlog.  Also, when comparing the first sprint to the most recent the difference is enormous.  Things are really starting to work – for instance I don’t dread planning session quite as much as I did.  J


      Good luck.




      Gareth Mercer • Director of Software Development • SunGard • AvantGard Treasury


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