Sunday, December 22, 2013

A Distributed Agile

Trust, Communication and Collaboration are Key Factors in Distributed Agile Success.

A distributed Agile is a hot debate in Agile community, as digital organization is ‘borderless’ and always on. Is the agile distribution only geographic or are there also organizational or technical aspects? What are the key challenges need to be overcome in a distributed Agile environment?

A distributed team has geographical, technical and organizational aspects. A distributed team is a team where members of the team are in different locales, and work in a geographically distributed development; regardless of role allocation, distributed work is where there are whole, cross-functional teams in various locations, each of which is capable of taking on some work items and delivering complete work.

Challenge 1: Communication: you need to overcome the communication issues, time-zone and technology. The 'local' team needs to have personal relationships with each and every member of the remote team, whatever it takes. Everyone needs to be available to talk to all team members. You need to include all of the remote teams in iteration planning. As clear communication is one of the most important prerequisites for good agile software development.

Challenge 2: Trust. You need the WHOLE team, every individual both local and remote to commit as one to the iteration plan. In short you need to make invisible the tyranny of distance, and ensure you have only ONE team. The activities to enhance trust include:
1) Go visit the remote team and help them see the value in agile to them and the company
2) Conduct virtual daily standups with small teams, know what is happening and if there is any blocker; understand who the tea members are, what motivates them and the underlying reason for the way they work. Every behavior has a positive intent.
3) Always do requirements walkthroughs before the developer starts work. Also Retros are important so the scrum master and the team can inspect and adapt
4) when a UI is involved, use storyboarding to better communicate the requirements. 

 Challenge 3: Collaboration. Make collaboration a discipline, use the tools available and create a one-team culture. As people got familiar with the new processes and could see the benefits of a Scrum influence on the project. It's not going to happen overnight, but it will happen. Continue to assess the following factors:
1) How educated your team are in the delivery mechanisms you are proposing
2) Do they know what is expected of them?
3) How empowered they feel. 

A distributed Agile is a trend, a solid communication strategy and technique, trust & collaborative business culture and process maturity are all key success factor in ensuring a distributed agile success and turning Agile as a mainstream methodology. 



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