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Successfully Communicating With Distributed Agile Teams


Much has been written about the problem of the use of Agile software development techniques in allotted groups. Some mind is that the obstacles are so fantastic that Agile can in no way work; others trust that while speaking is challenging, the other benefits of Agile outweigh those problems.

Distributed Agile Teams

We use Agile techniques to manage software program improvement, and, in my opinion, I pick Scrum to many others as a control tool to song progress. With all Agile methods, verbal exchange is key. This turns into tougher the extra geographically allotted the consumer, crew, and different stakeholders are; however, there are approaches around it.

In my case, here is a top instance. One of our customers is based within the East Midlands of England, their Tech Lead is primarily based in London (as is my Tech Director), me – the Scrum Master – I’m at the south coast of England, and our improvement team (who also offer aid to the stay software) are in India – could not get lots greater allotted if we tried! Those within the “all too tough” camp could in no way have taken this challenge on, which is a disgrace as they would have discovered an excellent deal approximately coping with distributed groups.

Let me take you thru a typical day:

First, allow me to set the scene. Our development and help group are primarily based in India, 5½ hours beforehand of UK time. This presents the first of the demanding situations – the time quarter distinction. Given that the consumer is UK-based and wants to support their live software, the team in India has adapted their operating day. They arrive later in their morning and work on into their evening to align extra intently to our running day. This still way they start work some hours earlier than us, however, aside from the assisted group (who provide 9 am – 5 pm cowl), wrap up earlier than us; this works for us, and we adapt our hours on the activities when we want to paintings on a selected hassle or issue. One of the advantages of this is that it extends our improvement day – the team can be running on a hassle in a single day and presenting a solution while the client arrives in the office within the morning.

At the start of my working day, I’ll firstly test emails to peer if the improvement crew has sent me whatever in a single day that needs an urgent motion. I’ll log into our chosen IM device simultaneously, which we use as our number one real-time communications media. I can see who is online and get in touch with them quickly if we want to discuss any in single-day trouble; conversely, they can see I’m at my desk and speak to me. By this time, the customer’s team is commonly logging in, and, once more, we’ll seize upon any key occasions or issues.

Our Product Backlog and Bug Tracker are managed in an undertaking Wiki, which offers us all good visibility. I’ll run thru this and look through whatever new, discussing any key points with my Technical Lead in India.


We have a nicely defined Release Management manner, and this starts with the pre-Sprint Planning meeting. As Scrum Master, I’ll facilitate this, and we’re going to conference name to deliver absolutely everyone together. This commonly entails me, the development crew, and the client’s group. We all have the Product Backlog open, so we will fast run via the objects to go into the next Sprint. Conference calling brings it personally demanding situations whilst you cannot see those worried. Before everything, it took some time to develop a convention rhythm, but we recognize each other quite properly now and so have picked up the nuances of every one of the callers. I’ll lead and, as we run through the call, I’ll constantly confirm the information of all worried. This usually takes an hour or so and, as soon as finished, I’ll comply with this up with a totally brief “moves listing” email. Once we have completed the conference name, the offshore Technical Lead will talk about the gadgets with his group and then produce the Sprint Backlog, which he’s going to proportion with us all.

Our Daily Scrum is a virtual meeting and is typically held at 2.30 pm our time. Again, we will use conference calls, and every group member in flip has their opportunity to update us. This assembly is ring-fenced at 15 minutes, and in fact, I’ve discovered that it is easier to maintain this timing in a digital meeting rather than head to head when it could, on occasion, be difficult to prevent human beings from talking. We have deviated right here slightly from the regular Scrum rules and, if getting anyone online proves a hassle, I’ll get the offshore Technical Lead to supply a (quite simple) Daily Scrum written file – but I nonetheless insist on every crew member completing a phase for their location of labor, which need to remain unedited by using the management team. Not strictly within the spirit of a daily stand-up assembly; however, it works for us with an allotted group.

Daily progress is managed thru the Sprint Backlog & Burndown Chart, with each team member updating the effort ultimate for every one of the tasks they may be running on. We’re continuously looking to improve our information sharing with a disbursed consumer & development crew, something I constantly raise throughout the Sprint Retrospective.

When it comes to growing and reviewing the UI, this is made more hard by our geographical locations. We use an open supply computing device sharing tool because it’s simple (no download software program for those becoming a member of in) and free. This permits the UI fashion designer to percentage his desktop with all those involved with the assessment, and we’re able to without difficulty walk through the design; it additionally permits reviewers to take manage and mark up certain areas of the UI in actual time to reveal what they may be searching at. Again, we use conference calling at some point of the assessment, and we continuously verify the knowledge of all involved.

Before the offshore Technical Lead leaves for the day, we will catch up and discuss any troubles that the crew wants to work on in a single day. And earlier than I close down, I’ll make sure that any visitors from the customer are marked up and handed on to the offshore team.


Over time we’ve got refined and progressed our dispensed communications. We have a customer who has an excellent operating courting with our development group; they accept as true with every difference and work well together to remedy any troubles. We all appreciate the limitations of working in a dispensed environment. Rather than use this as an excuse for negative communications, all of us attempt to enhance our approaches to running. Using Agile strategies with an allotted group is not clean, but it’s miles viable.

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