How can you adjust agile methodology to a distributed onshore team?
Last month we hosted a webinar on agile scrum methodology, during which we focused on ways to mitigate difficulties inherent in using scrum in a distributed team. We’ve given a lot of thought to this as we’ve introduced Scrum throughout our company and begun to use it more widely with customer engagements, usually in a distributed mode. So it was particularly interesting to hear what two scrum experts would have to say on this topic.
Some key recommendations that came out of the discussion are useful to any company using distributed scrum, and ones that we enthusiastically second based on our experience. These are:
Another set of recommendations were most applicable to companies just starting with scrum. It’s inevitable that expectations will be high when a new methodology is introduced, and a key to success is understanding how to adopt scrum while minimizing the initial expectations and giving yourself time to adjust and learn. This is even more important when the teams are distributed, as the learning curve will be steeper. Some specific suggestions when adopting with distributed teams are:
But listening to the webinar got me thinking – while mitigating the difficulty of distributed scrum is a valuable discussion, what was missing was the value of distributed teams, or more specifically, the value of working with a company like Systems in Motion.
It’s obvious how the Systems In Motion model for onshore outsourcing is perfectly aligned with the best practices for distributed scrum. The development teams are generally collocated at our Michigan delivery center and the product owner is usually at the customer premise. This facilitates communication between the product owner and the business owners while allowing the development team to work on complete units of work. And the maximum of 3 hours in time difference and Midwest location means that there is close to full overlap between work hours with almost any location within the continental US and easy travel when face to face meetings are required.
But for companies just getting started with scrum, working with Systems In Motion is an invaluable chance to learn about the methodology from a company that has successfully used it in real life development projects across a range of development projects. This can leave your company with not only a successful development project, but with the knowledge to implement scrum within your organization moving forward.
For more information about distributed scrum, download a copy of the webinar or read more about how we use Agile methodologies in our onshore outsourcing teams.