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Scrum in non-co-located, non-overlapping teams? (was: Meeting minutes for stand up meetings

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  • Sean Corfield
    ... Can such a team even do Scrum ? (genuine question) They can t do daily stand up meetings - since their time doesn t overlap. Presumably there are other
    Message 1 of 20 , Jan 2, 2013
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      On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 9:47 AM, Account <richardknaster@...> wrote:

      Notes are very useful for distributed teams when there are no over-lapping hours and when there are several team members whose primary language is not the same as what is being used on the call.


      Can such a team even do "Scrum"? (genuine question) They can't do daily stand up meetings - since their time doesn't overlap. Presumably there are other aspects of self-organization in Scrum which they can't effectively do since they don't have overlapping time? How is that supposed to work?

      (My reason for asking is my team are geographically dispersed although they only cover three timezones so they do overlap in time - therefore I'm interested to hear what impact on Scrum people think a lack of co-location, a shift in timezones, and a language barrier all have)
      -- 
      Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
      An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
      World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/

      "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
      -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
    • Markus Gaertner
      Seriously, you won t achieve the same level of performance as a co-located team would. That said, you probably have to pay some interest for the difficulties
      Message 2 of 20 , Jan 2, 2013
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        Seriously, you won't achieve the same level of performance as a co-located team would. That said, you probably have to pay some interest for the difficulties of communication. I once worked with a team in Brazil together. Things only started to improve once we decided to start on 11 am German timezone, so that we maximized the time overlap with the team 5 hours away from us.

        I have similar experiences with team members not sitting in the same office space (but even in the same timezone). You have to bring in regular phone calls or video chat, if you can. That compensates some of the non-direct communication, but it can only compensate it in my experiences.

        Then there are other teams who brought in an own laptop for Lisa Crispin and a remote control for the webcam. She was put on a movable table and crossed along the aisle to the different meetings, so that it nearly felt close to being on-site.

        I don't know how hard it is to bring in an own notebook for the remote team member. At the last company I was at the purchasing department troubled the teams stating that "no team ever needs so many post-its." Seriously. We had a lack of post-its. Your company may vary.

        Best
        Markus

        On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 6:11 PM, Sean Corfield <seancorfield@...> wrote:


        On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 9:47 AM, Account <richardknaster@...> wrote:

        Notes are very useful for distributed teams when there are no over-lapping hours and when there are several team members whose primary language is not the same as what is being used on the call.


        Can such a team even do "Scrum"? (genuine question) They can't do daily stand up meetings - since their time doesn't overlap. Presumably there are other aspects of self-organization in Scrum which they can't effectively do since they don't have overlapping time? How is that supposed to work?

        (My reason for asking is my team are geographically dispersed although they only cover three timezones so they do overlap in time - therefore I'm interested to hear what impact on Scrum people think a lack of co-location, a shift in timezones, and a language barrier all have)
        -- 
        Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
        An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
        World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/

        "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
        -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)





        --
        Dipl.-Inform. Markus Gärtner
        Author of ATDD by Example - A Practical Guide to Acceptance Test-Driven Development
        http://www.shino.de/blog
        http://www.mgaertne.de
        http://www.it-agile.de
        Twitter: @mgaertne
      • scott
        Well, the meeting isn t the important thing, the sharing of status and commitment is. So, if people are comfortable with using a twiki or other means to
        Message 3 of 20 , Jan 2, 2013
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          Well, the meeting isn't the important thing, the sharing of status and commitment is. So, if people are comfortable with using a twiki or other means to service those goals, I think you could do Scrum even without synchronous meetings.

          I also tend to think that the key Scrum things are the planning/prioritization/demonstration paradigm, rather than the daily meetings. A long time ago, in confirmation class, I was taught "A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." Just so, the standup is a visible sign but the transfer of knowledge is the inward good that matters more.

          scott


          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Sean Corfield <seancorfield@...> wrote:
          >
          > On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 9:47 AM, Account <richardknaster@...> wrote:
          >
          > > **
          > >
          > > Notes are very useful for distributed teams when there are no over-lapping
          > > hours and when there are several team members whose primary language is not
          > > the same as what is being used on the call.
          > >
          >
          > Can such a team even do "Scrum"? (genuine question) They can't do daily
          > stand up meetings - since their time doesn't overlap. Presumably there are
          > other aspects of self-organization in Scrum which they can't effectively do
          > since they don't have overlapping time? How is that supposed to work?
          >
          > (My reason for asking is my team are geographically dispersed although they
          > only cover three timezones so they do overlap in time - therefore I'm
          > interested to hear what impact on Scrum people think a lack of co-location,
          > a shift in timezones, and a language barrier all have)
          > --
          > Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
          > An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
          > World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/
          >
          > "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
          > -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
          >
        • Markus Gaertner
          Hi Scott, well, putting it to extremes, a Scrum team that works all over the globe would probably have to plan in time so that they could pair up with someone
          Message 4 of 20 , Jan 2, 2013
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            Hi Scott,

            well, putting it to extremes, a Scrum team that works all over the
            globe would probably have to plan in time so that they could pair up
            with someone not in their timezone once they tackle a particular hard
            task at hand. Even pairing for 2 hours becomes a drag with it.

            Sure, with star programmers, you probably don't need that. You also
            don't work in an environment where everyone is sitting in another
            timezone, but even putting one team member at a different location
            costs dramatically when it comes to knowledge sharing.

            I think it's at Harry Collins' fifth level of knowledge exchange in
            "Tacit and Explicit Knowledge": a cultural thing. If you drop a
            dishwasher at a folk in the jungle, they won't know what to do with
            it. They have to invent fluent power supply, and heck, even dish,
            before they can do something with it. If you work in a dispersed team,
            some of the code will look like a dishwasher to a folk in the jungle
            if communication beyond timezone barriers has to happen for that
            knowledge to transfer to the people that need it.

            Best
            Markus

            On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 10:32 PM, scott <sepreece@...> wrote:
            > Well, the meeting isn't the important thing, the sharing of status and commitment is. So, if people are comfortable with using a twiki or other means to service those goals, I think you could do Scrum even without synchronous meetings.
            >
            > I also tend to think that the key Scrum things are the planning/prioritization/demonstration paradigm, rather than the daily meetings. A long time ago, in confirmation class, I was taught "A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." Just so, the standup is a visible sign but the transfer of knowledge is the inward good that matters more.
            >
            > scott
            >
            >
            > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Sean Corfield <seancorfield@...> wrote:
            >>
            >> On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 9:47 AM, Account <richardknaster@...> wrote:
            >>
            >> > **
            >> >
            >> > Notes are very useful for distributed teams when there are no over-lapping
            >> > hours and when there are several team members whose primary language is not
            >> > the same as what is being used on the call.
            >> >
            >>
            >> Can such a team even do "Scrum"? (genuine question) They can't do daily
            >> stand up meetings - since their time doesn't overlap. Presumably there are
            >> other aspects of self-organization in Scrum which they can't effectively do
            >> since they don't have overlapping time? How is that supposed to work?
            >>
            >> (My reason for asking is my team are geographically dispersed although they
            >> only cover three timezones so they do overlap in time - therefore I'm
            >> interested to hear what impact on Scrum people think a lack of co-location,
            >> a shift in timezones, and a language barrier all have)
            >> --
            >> Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
            >> An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
            >> World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/
            >>
            >> "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
            >> -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
            >>
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ------------------------------------
            >
            > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
            > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...! Groups Links
            >
            >
            >



            --
            Dipl.-Inform. Markus Gärtner
            Author of ATDD by Example - A Practical Guide to Acceptance
            Test-Driven Development
            http://www.shino.de/blog
            http://www.mgaertne.de
            http://www.it-agile.de
            Twitter: @mgaertne
          • Alan Dayley
            It is possible to be a high performing team without any of the Scrum or other Agile practices being explicitly required. Possible, but harder and longer to
            Message 5 of 20 , Jan 2, 2013
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              It is possible to be a high performing team without any of the Scrum or other Agile practices being explicitly required.  Possible, but harder and longer to get there.

              I my opinion, the team described in the trigger statement of this thread is NOT a Scrum team, given that they do not meet together and some members do not share the ability to talk in the same language. Sure, do as many Scrum and Agile practices as you can and get some benefit. I just think the situation compromises the ability to even approximate the spirit of Scrum practices.

              As for teams distributed or dispersed in less broken ways, they will have significant handicaps for reaching high performance. I see these handicaps every day with teams I am working with now.  Expect to double the amount of time people need for communication (documents, meetings, phone calls, chat, etc.)

              Can you do it? Yes. And it will be hard. A 40% minimum performance hit is my guesstimate for a great team that is not co-located. That is a huge hit. People who have not worked on a high performing, collocated team don't believe me when I state such a number. They just don't know how much the geography hurts and can't believe it's that much.

              Alan



              On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 2:32 PM, scott <sepreece@...> wrote:
               

              Well, the meeting isn't the important thing, the sharing of status and commitment is. So, if people are comfortable with using a twiki or other means to service those goals, I think you could do Scrum even without synchronous meetings.

              I also tend to think that the key Scrum things are the planning/prioritization/demonstration paradigm, rather than the daily meetings. A long time ago, in confirmation class, I was taught "A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." Just so, the standup is a visible sign but the transfer of knowledge is the inward good that matters more.

              scott

              --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Sean Corfield <seancorfield@...> wrote:
              >
              > On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 9:47 AM, Account <richardknaster@...> wrote:
              >
              > > **


              > >
              > > Notes are very useful for distributed teams when there are no over-lapping
              > > hours and when there are several team members whose primary language is not
              > > the same as what is being used on the call.
              > >
              >
              > Can such a team even do "Scrum"? (genuine question) They can't do daily
              > stand up meetings - since their time doesn't overlap. Presumably there are
              > other aspects of self-organization in Scrum which they can't effectively do
              > since they don't have overlapping time? How is that supposed to work?
              >
              > (My reason for asking is my team are geographically dispersed although they
              > only cover three timezones so they do overlap in time - therefore I'm
              > interested to hear what impact on Scrum people think a lack of co-location,
              > a shift in timezones, and a language barrier all have)
              > --
              > Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
              > An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
              > World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/
              >
              > "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
              > -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
              >


            • Mark Levison
              Well they can mimic Scrum but what they do isn t Scrum and they will wonder why they don t get the benefits. The best thing (in this bad situation) would be to
              Message 6 of 20 , Jan 2, 2013
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                Well they can mimic Scrum but what they do isn't Scrum and they will wonder why they don't get the benefits. The best thing (in this bad situation) would be to create complete independant teams in each location.

                Cheers
                Mark

                On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 4:32 PM, scott <sepreece@...> wrote:
                 

                Well, the meeting isn't the important thing, the sharing of status and commitment is. So, if people are comfortable with using a twiki or other means to service those goals, I think you could do Scrum even without synchronous meetings.

                I also tend to think that the key Scrum things are the planning/prioritization/demonstration paradigm, rather than the daily meetings. A long time ago, in confirmation class, I was taught "A sacrament is an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace." Just so, the standup is a visible sign but the transfer of knowledge is the inward good that matters more.

                scott

                --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Sean Corfield <seancorfield@...> wrote:
                >
                > On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 9:47 AM, Account <richardknaster@...> wrote:
                >
                > > **


                > >
                > > Notes are very useful for distributed teams when there are no over-lapping
                > > hours and when there are several team members whose primary language is not
                > > the same as what is being used on the call.
                > >
                >
                > Can such a team even do "Scrum"? (genuine question) They can't do daily
                > stand up meetings - since their time doesn't overlap. Presumably there are
                > other aspects of self-organization in Scrum which they can't effectively do
                > since they don't have overlapping time? How is that supposed to work?
                >
                > (My reason for asking is my team are geographically dispersed although they
                > only cover three timezones so they do overlap in time - therefore I'm
                > interested to hear what impact on Scrum people think a lack of co-location,
                > a shift in timezones, and a language barrier all have)
                > --
                > Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
                > An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
                > World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/
                >
                > "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
                > -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
                >




                --
                Cheers
                Mark Levison
                Agile Pain Relief Consulting | Writing
                Proud Sponsor of Agile Tour Gatineau Ottawa Nov 28, Toronto 26 and Montreal 24
              • Sean Corfield
                ... Now you re conflating an XP practice (pairing) with Scrum which is getting off-topic, yes? *** Others in this thread have touched on an interesting
                Message 7 of 20 , Jan 2, 2013
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                  On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM, Markus Gaertner <mgaertne@...> wrote:

                  well, putting it to extremes, a Scrum team that works all over the
                  globe would probably have to plan in time so that they could pair up
                  with someone not in their timezone once they tackle a particular hard
                  task at hand. Even pairing for 2 hours becomes a drag with it.


                  Now you're conflating an XP practice (pairing) with Scrum which is getting off-topic, yes? ***

                  Others in this thread have touched on an interesting subtlety that I hadn't considered: focusing on actual vocal sharing of information, rather than (for example) a group chat room. Both allow for a virtual stand up meeting for a distributed team in real time. Are there specific benefits to a conference call as opposed to going round a chat room, having each person summarize yesterday's achievements, today's planned work and any obstacles in their path?

                  I think there are definite benefits to a real time meeting - in contrast to Scott's position that async communication could replace the stand up - but I'm interested to hear thoughts on an audio meeting vs a group chat meeting. FWIW, our whole team is in a group chat room (instant message) on Skype all day long and we work primarily Pacific day time to ensure maximum overlap. The group chat is where we all ask questions, share information and coordinate anything that the team as a whole works on. We don't (currently) have a daily stand up via the group chat but as we grow the team I'll probably instigate that to ensure that at least once a day everyone really does share progress and problems.

                  I'm under no illusions about what we're doing not being Scrum - given our likely physical setup for the foreseeable future I don't see Scrum as achievable for us. We use Unfuddle as a wiki, ticketing system and git repository so any work committed or any ticket updated by any team member is communicated to all team members (and, at least so far, all team members seem to take the time to read thru those emails and offer advice on each other's tickets or ask questions about aspects of solutions).

                  Mark suggested creating independent Scrum teams in each location but that wouldn't apply in our situation - everyone works from home and no two team members live close enough to meet up and work together physically.

                  *** As for pairing, we use iChat for shared control of a single computer with two-way audio and that works pretty well since the team all know each other pretty well (but this is getting off into XP territory and isn't really relevant to this thread).
                  --
                  Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
                  An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
                  World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/

                  "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
                  -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
                • Mark Levison
                  Sean you re probably doing pretty well and the best you can given the circumstances. The point about not Scrum is that everything should have a label so we re
                  Message 8 of 20 , Jan 2, 2013
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                    Sean you're probably doing pretty well and the best you can given the circumstances.

                    The point about not Scrum is that everything should have a label so we're clear about what is in bonds and what isn't.

                    As to creating multiple teams I usually hear about mixed onshore offshore teams and I get asked how to coordinate 14-15 people in this context. My answer was about that sort of case.

                    cheers
                    Mark - mangled by a phone

                    On Jan 2, 2013 5:53 PM, "Sean Corfield" <seancorfield@...> wrote:
                     

                    On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM, Markus Gaertner <mgaertne@...> wrote:

                    well, putting it to extremes, a Scrum team that works all over the
                    globe would probably have to plan in time so that they could pair up
                    with someone not in their timezone once they tackle a particular hard
                    task at hand. Even pairing for 2 hours becomes a drag with it.


                    Now you're conflating an XP practice (pairing) with Scrum which is getting off-topic, yes? ***

                    Others in this thread have touched on an interesting subtlety that I hadn't considered: focusing on actual vocal sharing of information, rather than (for example) a group chat room. Both allow for a virtual stand up meeting for a distributed team in real time. Are there specific benefits to a conference call as opposed to going round a chat room, having each person summarize yesterday's achievements, today's planned work and any obstacles in their path?

                    I think there are definite benefits to a real time meeting - in contrast to Scott's position that async communication could replace the stand up - but I'm interested to hear thoughts on an audio meeting vs a group chat meeting. FWIW, our whole team is in a group chat room (instant message) on Skype all day long and we work primarily Pacific day time to ensure maximum overlap. The group chat is where we all ask questions, share information and coordinate anything that the team as a whole works on. We don't (currently) have a daily stand up via the group chat but as we grow the team I'll probably instigate that to ensure that at least once a day everyone really does share progress and problems.

                    I'm under no illusions about what we're doing not being Scrum - given our likely physical setup for the foreseeable future I don't see Scrum as achievable for us. We use Unfuddle as a wiki, ticketing system and git repository so any work committed or any ticket updated by any team member is communicated to all team members (and, at least so far, all team members seem to take the time to read thru those emails and offer advice on each other's tickets or ask questions about aspects of solutions).

                    Mark suggested creating independent Scrum teams in each location but that wouldn't apply in our situation - everyone works from home and no two team members live close enough to meet up and work together physically.

                    *** As for pairing, we use iChat for shared control of a single computer with two-way audio and that works pretty well since the team all know each other pretty well (but this is getting off into XP territory and isn't really relevant to this thread).
                    --
                    Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
                    An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
                    World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/

                    "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
                    -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
                  • Sean Corfield
                    ... We re doing OK but we can definitely do better :) ... Yeah, that sounds like a big team to me in terms of keeping communication open across the whole
                    Message 9 of 20 , Jan 2, 2013
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                      On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 3:02 PM, Mark Levison <mark@...> wrote: 

                      Sean you're probably doing pretty well and the best you can given the circumstances.


                      We're doing OK but we can definitely do better :)
                       

                      As to creating multiple teams I usually hear about mixed onshore offshore teams and I get asked how to coordinate 14-15 people in this context. My answer was about that sort of case.


                      Yeah, that sounds like a "big" team to me in terms of keeping communication open across the whole team. We're three people (four including the DBA/SA) and expecting to double this year - but unlikely to ever be co-located - so I look for good ideas wherever I can, to help us remain productive.
                      --
                      Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
                      An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
                      World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/

                      "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
                      -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
                    • George Dinwiddie
                      Sean, ... If I were trying to produce software with people dispersed to a degree that they had no overlapping time, I don t think I would model the process on
                      Message 10 of 20 , Jan 3, 2013
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                        Sean,

                        On 1/2/13 12:11 PM, Sean Corfield wrote:
                        >
                        >
                        > On Sun, Dec 30, 2012 at 9:47 AM, Account <richardknaster@...
                        > <mailto:richardknaster@...>> wrote:
                        >
                        > __
                        >
                        > Notes are very useful for distributed teams when there are no
                        > over-lapping hours and when there are several team members whose
                        > primary language is not the same as what is being used on the call.
                        >
                        >
                        > Can such a team even do "Scrum"? (genuine question) They can't do daily
                        > stand up meetings - since their time doesn't overlap. Presumably there
                        > are other aspects of self-organization in Scrum which they can't
                        > effectively do since they don't have overlapping time? How is that
                        > supposed to work?

                        If I were trying to produce software with people dispersed to a degree
                        that they had no overlapping time, I don't think I would model the
                        process on Scrum. I'd probably look at the open source model.

                        >
                        > (My reason for asking is my team are geographically dispersed although
                        > they only cover three timezones so they do overlap in time - therefore
                        > I'm interested to hear what impact on Scrum people think a lack of
                        > co-location, a shift in timezones, and a language barrier all have)

                        When you do have an overlap, you can do Scrum, though it will require a
                        lot of effort from everyone.

                        - George

                        --
                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                        * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                        Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                        Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                      • Markus Gaertner
                        Hi Sean, ... Not really. I was more referring to the pairing that happens, when I run into a problem with some particular code, and don t know how to fizz
                        Message 11 of 20 , Jan 3, 2013
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                          Hi Sean,

                          On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 11:53 PM, Sean Corfield <seancorfield@...> wrote:
                          Now you're conflating an XP practice (pairing) with Scrum which is getting off-topic, yes? ***

                          Not really. I was more referring to the "pairing" that happens, when I run into a problem with some particular code, and don't know how to fizz the foobar with the buzz. Then I need to find someone else how can show me how to do that. Most of the time I saw this happening in a good way was when people stood up from their desk, moved to another ones desk, who showed this to them directly - or if the expert joined the novice on her own desk.

                          You appear to compensate for that using a group chat. That's a good idea. However, you probably don't know how often people work themselves into the rathole before they ask on the group chat. That's what I would be bothered about. And that's what I refer to as opportunity costs in communication based upon communication distance (and I think I stole it from Alistair Cockburn).

                          Best
                          Markus

                          --
                          Dipl.-Inform. Markus Gärtner
                          Author of ATDD by Example - A Practical Guide to Acceptance Test-Driven Development
                          http://www.shino.de/blog
                          http://www.mgaertne.de
                          http://www.it-agile.de
                          Twitter: @mgaertne
                        • Sean Corfield
                          ... Good to know, thanx. Sometimes the discussions in this group can give the impression that everyone can do Scrum if they just apply sufficient effort, so
                          Message 12 of 20 , Jan 3, 2013
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                            On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 4:03 AM, George Dinwiddie <lists@...> wrote:
                            If I were trying to produce software with people dispersed to a degree
                            that they had no overlapping time, I don't think I would model the
                            process on Scrum. I'd probably look at the open source model.

                            Good to know, thanx. Sometimes the discussions in this group can give the impression that "everyone" can do Scrum if they just apply sufficient effort, so it's good to see recognition of situations where it can't be applied - and that there are effective alternatives.

                            When you do have an overlap, you can do Scrum, though it will require a 
                            lot of effort from everyone.

                            Yes, agreed on the effort added by geo-distribution. At one point I thought we might start to coalesce the team in the Bay Area but a key member had to move away for family reasons and we figured better to keep the team chemistry and work remotely than cut them and rebuild. It's worked well so far (given the usual caveats of remote working) but as we ramp up the team size this year, we'll face more challenges with remote working. If we ever do centralize our team, I'll want to try Scrum "properly".
                            --
                            Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
                            An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
                            World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/

                            "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
                            -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
                          • Sean Corfield
                            ... Ah, fair enough. ... Yes, definitely something we have to deal with - it amazes me how much work it is to ensure people feel empowered to ask for help when
                            Message 13 of 20 , Jan 3, 2013
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                              On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 7:23 AM, Markus Gaertner <mgaertne@...> wrote:
                              Not really. I was more referring to the "pairing" that happens, when I run into a problem with some particular code, and don't know how to fizz the foobar with the buzz. Then I need to find someone else how can show me how to do that. Most of the time I saw this happening in a good way was when people stood up from their desk, moved to another ones desk, who showed this to them directly - or if the expert joined the novice on her own desk.

                              Ah, fair enough.
                               
                              You appear to compensate for that using a group chat. That's a good idea. However, you probably don't know how often people work themselves into the rathole before they ask on the group chat. That's what I would be bothered about. And that's what I refer to as opportunity costs in communication based upon communication distance (and I think I stole it from Alistair Cockburn).

                              Yes, definitely something we have to deal with - it amazes me how much work it is to ensure people feel empowered to ask for help when they need it (and to teach them to recognize when they need help!). As we grow our team, I expect to spend more of my time doing mentoring, which I hope will address this to some extent.
                              --
                              Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
                              An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
                              World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/

                              "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
                              -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
                            • Ron Jeffries
                              Hi Sean, ... Well, one could argue (and this one would) that refusal to collocate the team constitutes insufficient effort. That said, there are many decent
                              Message 14 of 20 , Jan 3, 2013
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                                Hi Sean,

                                On Jan 3, 2013, at 1:49 PM, Sean Corfield <seancorfield@...> wrote:

                                Good to know, thanx. Sometimes the discussions in this group can give the impression that "everyone" can do Scrum if they just apply sufficient effort, so it's good to see recognition of situations where it can't be applied - and that there are effective alternatives.

                                Well, one could argue (and this one would) that refusal to collocate the team constitutes insufficient effort. That said, there are many decent ways to build software and if a company chooses for some reason to use extremely distributed teams (despite the 4X or greater performance decline), then Scrum may not be a good choice for them. 
                                Impossible is not a fact. It is an opinion.  -- Muhammad Ali


                              • Sean Corfield
                                ... That was almost spoonfed, just waiting for your response! :) -- Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN An Architect s View -- http://corfield.org/ World
                                Message 15 of 20 , Jan 3, 2013
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                                  On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 11:01 AM, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                  Well, one could argue (and this one would) that refusal to collocate the team constitutes insufficient effort.

                                  That was almost spoonfed, just waiting for your response! :)
                                  -- 
                                  Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
                                  An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
                                  World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/

                                  "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
                                  -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
                                • scott
                                  I completely agree that you take a hit by not all being in one place! My point about the standup meeting is that to me it s the least important of the Scrum
                                  Message 16 of 20 , Jan 3, 2013
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                                    I completely agree that you take a hit by not all being in one place!

                                    My point about the standup meeting is that to me it's the least important of the Scrum elements - it's specifically constrained in format to a level of sharing that doesn't really require synchronicity (though that's still the best way to go!). If everybody is sharing that information daily with the rest of the team you're still getting most of the benefit of the meeting.

                                    I think the dispersed approach has other problems in information sharing that are MUCH more significant than whether or not you have a daily meeting - the lack of the continuous communication and contextual awareness among the team members is the big hit. I worked last year as a remote collaborator with an otherwise collocated team, relying on webcams and skype. It worked pretty well except when it didn't work at all, because nobody thought to call me for an impromptu discussion.

                                    BUT, at the same time, that all-in-one-room model is not specifically a Scrum thing. I still think the absolutely critical thing for calling a process "Scrum" is the prioritization-selection-tracking-demo-retrospective cycle guided by a scrum master, rather than whether the "tracking" part is done in a real-time meeting or via regular-but-asynchronous sharing.

                                    scott

                                    --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Mark Levison wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Sean you're probably doing pretty well and the best you can given the
                                    > circumstances.
                                    >
                                    > The point about not Scrum is that everything should have a label so we're
                                    > clear about what is in bonds and what isn't.
                                    >
                                    > As to creating multiple teams I usually hear about mixed onshore offshore
                                    > teams and I get asked how to coordinate 14-15 people in this context. My
                                    > answer was about that sort of case.
                                    >
                                    > cheers
                                    > Mark - mangled by a phone
                                    > On Jan 2, 2013 5:53 PM, "Sean Corfield" wrote:
                                    >
                                    > > **
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    > > On Wed, Jan 2, 2013 at 1:44 PM, Markus Gaertner wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > >> **
                                    > >>
                                    > >> well, putting it to extremes, a Scrum team that works all over the
                                    > >> globe would probably have to plan in time so that they could pair up
                                    > >> with someone not in their timezone once they tackle a particular hard
                                    > >> task at hand. Even pairing for 2 hours becomes a drag with it.
                                    > >>
                                    > >
                                    > > Now you're conflating an XP practice (pairing) with Scrum which is getting
                                    > > off-topic, yes? ***
                                    > >
                                    > > Others in this thread have touched on an interesting subtlety that I
                                    > > hadn't considered: focusing on actual vocal sharing of information, rather
                                    > > than (for example) a group chat room. Both allow for a virtual stand up
                                    > > meeting for a distributed team in real time. Are there specific benefits to
                                    > > a conference call as opposed to going round a chat room, having each person
                                    > > summarize yesterday's achievements, today's planned work and any obstacles
                                    > > in their path?
                                    > >
                                    > > I think there are definite benefits to a real time meeting - in contrast
                                    > > to Scott's position that async communication could replace the stand up -
                                    > > but I'm interested to hear thoughts on an audio meeting vs a group chat
                                    > > meeting. FWIW, our whole team is in a group chat room (instant message) on
                                    > > Skype all day long and we work primarily Pacific day time to ensure maximum
                                    > > overlap. The group chat is where we all ask questions, share information
                                    > > and coordinate anything that the team as a whole works on. We don't
                                    > > (currently) have a daily stand up via the group chat but as we grow the
                                    > > team I'll probably instigate that to ensure that at least once a day
                                    > > everyone really does share progress and problems.
                                    > >
                                    > > I'm under no illusions about what we're doing not being Scrum - given our
                                    > > likely physical setup for the foreseeable future I don't see Scrum as
                                    > > achievable for us. We use Unfuddle as a wiki, ticketing system and git
                                    > > repository so any work committed or any ticket updated by any team member
                                    > > is communicated to all team members (and, at least so far, all team members
                                    > > seem to take the time to read thru those emails and offer advice on each
                                    > > other's tickets or ask questions about aspects of solutions).
                                    > >
                                    > > Mark suggested creating independent Scrum teams in each location but that
                                    > > wouldn't apply in our situation - everyone works from home and no two team
                                    > > members live close enough to meet up and work together physically.
                                    > >
                                    > > *** As for pairing, we use iChat for shared control of a single computer
                                    > > with two-way audio and that works pretty well since the team all know each
                                    > > other pretty well (but this is getting off into XP territory and isn't
                                    > > really relevant to this thread).
                                    > > --
                                    > > Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
                                    > > An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
                                    > > World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/
                                    > >
                                    > > "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
                                    > > -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
                                    > >
                                    > >
                                    >
                                  • Mark Levison
                                    ... Conversely after the retrospective I would argue its the 2nd most important meeting in Scrum. Basically I tell teams if you can t talk daily then its not
                                    Message 17 of 20 , Jan 3, 2013
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                                      On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 3:46 PM, scott <sepreece@...> wrote:
                                       

                                      I completely agree that you take a hit by not all being in one place!

                                      My point about the standup meeting is that to me it's the least important of the Scrum elements - it's specifically constrained in format to a level of sharing that doesn't really require synchronicity (though that's still the best way to go!). If everybody is sharing that information daily with the rest of the team you're still getting most of the benefit of the meeting.


                                      Conversely after the retrospective I would argue its the 2nd most important meeting in Scrum.

                                      Basically I tell teams if you can't talk daily then its not going to go well. Remember the purpose of the meeting is to coordinate and synchronize for the rest of the day. Sharing of information is how we do that.

                                      Cheers
                                      Mark Levison
                                      Agile Pain Relief Consulting | Writing
                                      Proud Sponsor of Agile Tour Gatineau Ottawa Nov 28, Toronto 26 and Montreal 24
                                    • woynam
                                      It must be the 5x cost savings. (Rolls eyes). Mark
                                      Message 18 of 20 , Jan 3, 2013
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                                        <sarcasm>

                                        It must be the 5x cost savings. (Rolls eyes).

                                        </sarcasm>

                                        Mark

                                        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries wrote:
                                        >
                                        > Hi Sean,
                                        >
                                        > On Jan 3, 2013, at 1:49 PM, Sean Corfield wrote:
                                        >
                                        > > Good to know, thanx. Sometimes the discussions in this group can give the impression that "everyone" can do Scrum if they just apply sufficient effort, so it's good to see recognition of situations where it can't be applied - and that there are effective alternatives.
                                        >
                                        >
                                        > Well, one could argue (and this one would) that refusal to collocate the team constitutes insufficient effort. That said, there are many decent ways to build software and if a company chooses for some reason to use extremely distributed teams (despite the 4X or greater performance decline), then Scrum may not be a good choice for them.
                                        >
                                        > Ron Jeffries
                                        > www.XProgramming.com
                                        > Impossible is not a fact. It is an opinion. -- Muhammad Ali
                                        >
                                      • Sean Corfield
                                        ... Yes, having most of the team co-located and just one or two remote is almost the worst of both worlds. I saw that several times at Macromedia where one or
                                        Message 19 of 20 , Jan 3, 2013
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                                          On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 12:46 PM, scott <sepreece@...> wrote:

                                          I worked last year as a remote collaborator with an otherwise collocated team, relying on webcams and skype. It worked pretty well except when it didn't work at all, because nobody thought to call me for an impromptu discussion.


                                          Yes, having most of the team co-located and just one or two remote is almost the worst of both worlds. I saw that several times at Macromedia where one or two team members had moved away for various reasons and the rest of the team mostly continued on without them :(

                                          At least when everyone is remote, everyone is aware of communication needing to include "the team" rather than "an individual".
                                          --
                                          Sean A Corfield -- (904) 302-SEAN
                                          An Architect's View -- http://corfield.org/
                                          World Singles, LLC. -- http://worldsingles.com/

                                          "Perfection is the enemy of the good."
                                          -- Gustave Flaubert, French realist novelist (1821-1880)
                                        • scott
                                          Well, I didn t say you didn t need to be able to talk everyday - just that you may be able to get along without an all-together-at-the-same-time standup
                                          Message 20 of 20 , Jan 4, 2013
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                                            Well, I didn't say you didn't need to be able to talk everyday - just that you may be able to get along without an all-together-at-the-same-time standup meeting, if you've got good communications and a discipline of sharing.

                                            But this is largely hypothetical, in any case - I'm not recommending it! Sometimes, though, the people you need to do what you want to do aren't in the same place and aren't fungible.

                                            scott

                                            --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Mark Levison wrote:
                                            >
                                            > On Thu, Jan 3, 2013 at 3:46 PM, scott wrote:
                                            >
                                            > > **
                                            > >
                                            > >
                                            > > I completely agree that you take a hit by not all being in one place!
                                            > >
                                            > > My point about the standup meeting is that to me it's the least important
                                            > > of the Scrum elements - it's specifically constrained in format to a level
                                            > > of sharing that doesn't really require synchronicity (though that's still
                                            > > the best way to go!). If everybody is sharing that information daily with
                                            > > the rest of the team you're still getting most of the benefit of the
                                            > > meeting.
                                            > >
                                            >
                                            > Conversely after the retrospective I would argue its the 2nd most important
                                            > meeting in Scrum.
                                            >
                                            > Basically I tell teams if you can't talk daily then its not going to go
                                            > well. Remember the purpose of the meeting is to coordinate and synchronize
                                            > for the rest of the day. Sharing of information is how we do that.
                                            >
                                            > Cheers
                                            > Mark Levison
                                            > Agile Pain Relief Consulting
                                            > | Writing
                                            > Proud Sponsor of Agile Tour Gatineau Ottawa Nov
                                            > 28, Toronto
                                            > 26 and Montreal 24
                                            >
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