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Strategies for better Release planning in distributed scrum

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  • Rajesh Velliyatt
    Hi All, One product owner and one product backlog for all participating scrum teams. Two Scrum teams in US and one in India. No travel budget this time. It s
    Message 1 of 11 , Sep 25, 2010
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      Hi All, 

      One product owner and one product backlog for all participating scrum teams. Two Scrum teams in US and one in India. No travel budget this time. It's not practical to get everyone in a virtual room ( audio/video ) for release planning because of timezone differences. How would you approach release planning in such case? 

      thanks,
      Rajesh.
    • George Dinwiddie
      Hi, Rajesh, ... Have you considered just waiting until there s a focus on value, and not just cost? There s a lot more potential in the value/cost ratio in
      Message 2 of 11 , Sep 25, 2010
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        Hi, Rajesh,

        On 9/25/10 4:34 AM, Rajesh Velliyatt wrote:
        > One product owner and one product backlog for all participating scrum
        > teams. Two Scrum teams in US and one in India. No travel budget this
        > time. It's not practical to get everyone in a virtual room ( audio/video
        > ) for release planning because of timezone differences. How would you
        > approach release planning in such case?

        Have you considered just waiting until there's a focus on value, and not
        just cost? There's a lot more potential in the value/cost ratio in the
        numerator.

        Are these teams experienced at Scrum or new to it? Do they previously
        know each other and the PO?

        - George

        --
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
        Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
        Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      • Rajesh Velliyatt
        Hi George, All three teams are experienced with Scrum, know each other and PO. thanks, Rajesh. On Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 2:09 PM, George Dinwiddie
        Message 3 of 11 , Sep 25, 2010
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          Hi George, All three teams are experienced with Scrum, know each other and PO. 

          thanks,
          Rajesh.

          On Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 2:09 PM, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:
           

          Hi, Rajesh,



          On 9/25/10 4:34 AM, Rajesh Velliyatt wrote:
          > One product owner and one product backlog for all participating scrum
          > teams. Two Scrum teams in US and one in India. No travel budget this
          > time. It's not practical to get everyone in a virtual room ( audio/video
          > ) for release planning because of timezone differences. How would you
          > approach release planning in such case?

          Have you considered just waiting until there's a focus on value, and not
          just cost? There's a lot more potential in the value/cost ratio in the
          numerator.

          Are these teams experienced at Scrum or new to it? Do they previously
          know each other and the PO?

          - George

          --
          ----------------------------------------------------------
          * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
          Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
          Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
          ----------------------------------------------------------


        • Don MacIntyre
          Hi Rajesh, I d try to break up the backlog so the teams have their own backlog and then have the PO and the remote team come in early and/or late and to have
          Message 4 of 11 , Sep 25, 2010
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            Hi Rajesh,

            I'd try to break up the backlog so the teams have their own backlog and then have the PO and the remote team come in early and/or late and to have calls. Obviously face to face is best, but this should not be a show stopper.

            -don

            http://www.scrumalliance.org/profiles/26043-don-macintyre


            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Rajesh Velliyatt <velliyatt@...> wrote:
            >
            > Hi All,
            >
            > One product owner and one product backlog for all participating scrum teams.
            > Two Scrum teams in US and one in India. No travel budget this time. It's not
            > practical to get everyone in a virtual room ( audio/video ) for release
            > planning because of timezone differences. How would you approach release
            > planning in such case?
            >
            > thanks,
            > Rajesh.
            >
          • Ron Jeffries
            Hello, Rajesh. On Saturday, September 25, 2010, at 4:34:25 AM, ... Get all stories to approximately the same size, a few days work. Establish and track each
            Message 5 of 11 , Sep 25, 2010
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              Hello, Rajesh. On Saturday, September 25, 2010, at 4:34:25 AM,
              you wrote:

              > One product owner and one product backlog for all participating scrum teams.
              > Two Scrum teams in US and one in India. No travel budget this time. It's not
              > practical to get everyone in a virtual room ( audio/video ) for release
              > planning because of timezone differences. How would you approach release
              > planning in such case?

              Get all stories to approximately the same size, a few days' work.
              Establish and track each team's velocity by doing a bunch of stories.
              Use this to estimate stories complete by the delivery date.
              Choose stories so as to get the best product by the date.
              Pare down stories so as to get the best product by the date.

              Ron Jeffries
              www.XProgramming.com
              www.xprogramming.com/blog
              Talent determines how fast you get good, not how good you get.
              -- Richard Gabriel
            • Vikrama Dhiman
              In addition to what Ron suggests, some other things that I have seen working well are: 1. Minimize dependencies between teams - easier said than done,
              Message 6 of 11 , Sep 25, 2010
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                In addition to what Ron suggests, some other things that I have seen working well are:

                1. Minimize dependencies between teams - easier said than done, especially for legacy architectures
                2. See if you can get some time overlap between India and US Teams [staff India teams appropriately]
                3. Create channels for communication like Internal Wikis, Mailing Lists, Microblogs and make Sharing a Habit - including the smallest details like daily sprint burn down charts [photos of whiteboards etc.] and an internal podcasting/ video sharing [and recording] apps. Reiterate: Make Sharing a Habit across the board.
                4. Keep teams at both sides stable. Do not chop and change frequently.

                P.S. It is not just India - US timezone difference that is a challenge, but increasingly the flexi work hours [a recent survey in India says that candidates look for flexi work hours as one of the top 3 criteria in future employers] and telecommuting also means, people are not able to engage in face-to-face conversations. Organizations can learn on how to use "social" tools and techniques to address these issues.

                Thanks

                Vikrama Dhiman

                ================================================================
                Personal Blog : http://www.vikramadhiman.com/
                My Blog about all things Agile : http://agilediary.wordpress.com/


                --- On Sat, 9/25/10, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

                From: Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>
                Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Strategies for better Release planning in distributed scrum
                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                Date: Saturday, September 25, 2010, 4:50 PM

                 

                Hello, Rajesh. On Saturday, September 25, 2010, at 4:34:25 AM,
                you wrote:

                > One product owner and one product backlog for all participating scrum teams.
                > Two Scrum teams in US and one in India. No travel budget this time. It's not
                > practical to get everyone in a virtual room ( audio/video ) for release
                > planning because of timezone differences. How would you approach release
                > planning in such case?

                Get all stories to approximately the same size, a few days' work.
                Establish and track each team's velocity by doing a bunch of stories.
                Use this to estimate stories complete by the delivery date.
                Choose stories so as to get the best product by the date.
                Pare down stories so as to get the best product by the date.

                Ron Jeffries
                www.XProgramming.com
                www.xprogramming.com/blog
                Talent determines how fast you get good, not how good you get.
                -- Richard Gabriel


              • George Dinwiddie
                Rajesh, ... If they are all experienced with Scrum and working with each other, why not ask them rather than an email list of strangers? Surely they know
                Message 7 of 11 , Sep 25, 2010
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                  Rajesh,

                  On 9/25/10 5:05 AM, Rajesh Velliyatt wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > Hi George, All three teams are experienced with Scrum, know each other
                  > and PO.

                  If they are all experienced with Scrum and working with each other, why
                  not ask them rather than an email list of strangers? Surely they know
                  what's worked well in the past, and what difficulties they've had in the
                  past, better than any of us.

                  - George

                  --
                  ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                  * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                  Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                  Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                  ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                • Rajesh Velliyatt
                  Thanks for all the good inputs so far.. Hi George, That s given. Teams are experienced with scrum but not done a distributed release planning yet. So, reaching
                  Message 8 of 11 , Sep 25, 2010
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                    Thanks for all the good inputs so far.. 

                    Hi George, That's given. Teams are experienced with scrum but not done a distributed release planning yet. So, reaching out agile enthusiasts to understand different approaches/experiences.. 

                    thanks,
                    Rajesh.

                    On Sat, Sep 25, 2010 at 9:21 PM, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:
                    Rajesh,

                    On 9/25/10 5:05 AM, Rajesh Velliyatt wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > Hi George, All three teams are experienced with Scrum, know each other
                    > and PO.

                    If they are all experienced with Scrum and working with each other, why
                    not ask them rather than an email list of strangers?  Surely they know
                    what's worked well in the past, and what difficulties they've had in the
                    past, better than any of us.

                     - George

                    --
                     ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                      * George Dinwiddie *                      http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                      Software Development                    http://www.idiacomputing.com
                      Consultant and Coach                    http://www.agilemaryland.org
                     ----------------------------------------------------------------------



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                  • George Dinwiddie
                    Rajesh, ... Sounds like less that what I might call experienced. How have they done non-distributed release planning? What distributed scrum experience do
                    Message 9 of 11 , Sep 25, 2010
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                      Rajesh,

                      On 9/25/10 3:21 PM, Rajesh Velliyatt wrote:
                      >
                      >
                      > Thanks for all the good inputs so far..
                      >
                      > Hi George, That's given. Teams are experienced with scrum but not done a
                      > distributed release planning yet. So, reaching out agile enthusiasts to
                      > understand different approaches/experiences..

                      Sounds like less that what I might call experienced. How have they done
                      non-distributed release planning? What distributed scrum experience do
                      they have with the other teams?

                      The reason I ask about these things is that distributed work is much
                      more about the people and their trust and understanding across the miles
                      than it is about particular practices in a particular ceremony.

                      - George

                      --
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                      * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                      Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                      Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                    • ted_st.clair
                      Hi Rajesh, We have a single Backlog & PO as well with a Team in India, US & South America. Our Sprints are weekly. We groom our Backlog weekly all together
                      Message 10 of 11 , Sep 26, 2010
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                        Hi Rajesh,

                        We have a single Backlog & PO as well with a Team in India, US & South America. Our Sprints are weekly. We groom our Backlog weekly all together in preparation for separate Planning for the Indian Team. We have an onsite coordinator for the Indian Team that is also a contributing member on the US Team. Onsite coordinator and ScrumMaster in US participate in Retro & Planning with Indian Team. We attempt to identify Epics that a Team in a particular location can take on from start to finish so that any dependencies, etc. can be somewhat self contained as well as a seperate Release Plan with that Team. If an Epic is shared between Teams then more attention is made to dependencies due to the reality of the lack of overlapping time with the Indian Team. Release planning is not impacted as much. At times the Teams have been very successful at even sharing stories with each other. Having the Indian Team's normal business hours during our "off hours" if you will, has been beneficial for the US Team from a human factor standpoint.

                        Hope that helps.

                        Ted

                        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Rajesh Velliyatt <velliyatt@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > Hi All,
                        >
                        > One product owner and one product backlog for all participating scrum teams.
                        > Two Scrum teams in US and one in India. No travel budget this time. It's not
                        > practical to get everyone in a virtual room ( audio/video ) for release
                        > planning because of timezone differences. How would you approach release
                        > planning in such case?
                        >
                        > thanks,
                        > Rajesh.
                        >
                      • Rajesh Velliyatt
                        George, Here is the background info - The Bangalore scrum team was formed after the previous release planning and they have been working with their US
                        Message 11 of 11 , Oct 5, 2010
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                          George, Here is the background info - The Bangalore scrum team was formed after the previous release planning and they have been working with their US counterparts for the last 10 sprints or so ( 3 weeks sprint ) to complete the current release. So, they are experienced with scrum and the trust level is good between scrum teams. Now the stage is set for the release planning for next release and hence the orig question. 

                          Thanks all for sharing your perspectives. At this point I'm leaning towards coming up with epic user stories, distribute it across remote scrum teams and having separate planning sessions for Bangalore & US than doing a combined planning exercise in multiple sessions by getting everyone into a virtual room for the following reasons,
                          - Multiple sessions breaks the continuity
                          - You ( one side ) won't be able to provide your best by attending an important activity like release planning at odd hours 
                          - Other usual logistical challenges
                          - Having a pre-planning meeting to go over the high level epics created by PO will help the teams to be in sync

                          thanks,
                          Rajesh.



                          On Sun, Sep 26, 2010 at 3:39 AM, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:
                           

                          Rajesh,



                          On 9/25/10 3:21 PM, Rajesh Velliyatt wrote:
                          >
                          >
                          > Thanks for all the good inputs so far..
                          >
                          > Hi George, That's given. Teams are experienced with scrum but not done a
                          > distributed release planning yet. So, reaching out agile enthusiasts to
                          > understand different approaches/experiences..

                          Sounds like less that what I might call experienced. How have they done
                          non-distributed release planning? What distributed scrum experience do
                          they have with the other teams?

                          The reason I ask about these things is that distributed work is much
                          more about the people and their trust and understanding across the miles
                          than it is about particular practices in a particular ceremony.


                          - George

                          --
                          ----------------------------------------------------------
                          * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                          Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                          Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                          ----------------------------------------------------------


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