Ideas on Managing Distributed Teams Using Agile [2/3] – The Retrospective

globalization-agile-distributed-teams

Retrospective Timings :

To be effective and timely, distributed teams should call joint retrospectives as soon as possible after having their own team meeting. Depending on the no. of teams involved in a joint retrospective, teams may want to limit the number of participants from each Scrum Team to keep the meeting productive.

  • Team Composition – Teams >=9 people should consider geographic closeness and proper distribution of skills as well as team size so as to build self-organizing teams
  • First level of Sprint Planning – The PO, SM will use a screen-sharing tool to display the vision, sprint goal, user story, the estimates the team provided, and the acceptance conditions for the user story.
  • Answering the 3 questions: Team members should communicate information that brings value to others on the team. They should also try to identify team members that can help them resolve their issues.
  • Documentation helps to Overcome Distance: Because of language barriers, distributed teams often need more written documentation than collocated teams. Another approach is to record the demonstration before the meeting to allow the developers to create the recording at their own pace in the language of the meeting or to have a fluent speaker speak over the recorded demonstration.
  • Hold Joint Retrospective – The Distributed Teams working together will conduct their individual
  • Sprint retrospectives at the end of each Sprint and then will conduct a joint retrospective.
  • The benefit of this approach is that it promotes communication between the various teams involved in a project
  • Individual Scrum Teams should aim to have the lowest distribution level possible encouraging feature teams over component teams.

Dealing with Incomplete Stories

The PO takes the impact of dependencies into consideration when reprioritizing the Product Backlog due to work the team did not complete during the Sprint, highlighted in Scrum of scrum Coordinating the Team on a Daily Basis – Priorities can change daily. The Daily Scrum meeting provides a daily synchronization point for the team and allows them to revise their plans regularly. Using the Right Tools : In a distributed environment, tools and good practices can help team members communicate more effectively, but it is more important to make sure the tools the team introduces will help them get the job done.

Scheduling for Teams with Overlapping Work Hours – Make sure all team members of distributed team, regardless of the time zone, can complete their work and prepare for the demo within overlapping work hours.

Larger Retrospectives

Distributed team members can reflect and comment on release quality and capability. The team talks about the project, and then defines and records the various milestones within the project to improve on or continue in future releases.
Enterprise planning tools for distributed team members, PO & SM to develop more than one feature to address a single solution so as to disaggregate the higher-priority features into user stories that can fit within a Sprint.

Checking Estimates from Preplanning Teams

In scaled environments where teams send representatives to help with preplanning, it is important
the teams who are going to be doing the work revisit the estimates

Committing to the Team

Team members are making a verbal commitment to their team when they state what they are going to do today, creating an opportunity for the rest of the team to confirm they met their commitments yesterday.

Valuing the Whole Team

SM should focus on an “us” versus “them” attitude in the distributed team, due to more delays in communications & fewer opportunities to work together Scheduling for Teams with No Overlapping Work Hours.

Alternate meeting time

The distributed team holds one Sprint Review meeting during the normal workday for part of the Scrum Team and holds the other Sprint Review meeting during the normal work hours of the other part of the Scrum Team.

Building Trust

SM needs to develop a sense of trust and honesty with one another, which in turn will lead to a wider degree of openness.

  • Single Backlog for Multiple teams – The different skill sets in the team needs to deliver user stories that are available across each distributed location
  • Separate Backlog for Multiple teams – The Scrum teams work independently from one another and have their own individual Sprint backlogs, but the Sprint dates are the same marking their interdependencies and risks in the Sprint preplanning sessions or in a Daily Scrum of Scrums.
  • Reviewing Changes Based on Stakeholder Feedback – The team would review changes made since the preplanning meeting, and the PO would confirm the priorities of the Product backlog.
  • Verifying Progress – Tasks not opening and closing regularly are an early sign the team may be going off track. Team members not showing regular progress may be facing outside distractions the SM should reduce or remove.
  • Transparency – Distributed agile teams should use project management tool to identify tasks that are open, in progress, and completed so everyone is aware of the current status.

More on the Sprint Review and Conclusion next!

Ideas on Managing Distributed Teams Using Agile [1/3] – Introduction and Ceremonies

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Today the businesses are shifting to emerging economies due to reduced business operations cost and easily available workforce, like Russia, China, India, Philippines etc. If I put it more precisely, tomorrows business would be more virtual and distributed with distributed as its key element. Hence forth, the need for better managing the teams, using right tools and process become critical day by day for any enterprise company.

Shift and Need of having Distributed Agile Teams

  • Globally distributed teams reduce costs
  • Reaching Market more quickly with the “follow the sun’ Model
  • Distributed Teams Expand Access to New Markets
  • Acquisitions as a result of consolidation resulting in companies working together to integrate their business
  • Expanding for Innovation and Thought Leadership
  • Telecommuting gives options to communicate with their teams more effectively
  • Collaboration Tools – Improved tools for distributed communications and server-based, multiuser tools for product development are removing barriers, and more teams view distributed collaboration as an alternative.

Handling Distributed Agile Teams

Distributed teams heighten the need for clear, timely communication between sites. You might be thinking of some questions as the complexity increases with distance as time zones, language barriers, and cultural differences get in the way, let me resonate it for you:

  • Are distributed teams difficult to manage?
  • Are they failing to meet some expectations?
  • Are they having trouble working as a team?
  • Is team morale a problem?

Agile can’t fix every problem, but it can bring them out into the open where the team can evaluate and correct them. Agile puts challenges under a magnifying glass. As the image under the glass grows larger, they scream for attention, and your team’s performance will improve after they address the challenges and correct dysfunctions. Continue reading “Ideas on Managing Distributed Teams Using Agile [1/3] – Introduction and Ceremonies”

Outside In Perspective (Series 5/5)

The 3 B’s of Going Global: Beliefs, Behaviors, Benefits

Beliefs and behaviors are the hard part. Behavior can get to beliefs, which is cultural. – Brad White, Partner, Prophet, formerly (r)evolution

This is the last of the series “Something Innovative happened at KO HQ this Thursday”

Operating Globally? First, understand the point of view (aka needs) of consumers and then the shareholders’ point of view. The two are linked, products cannot have market success without both needs met. Continue reading “Outside In Perspective (Series 5/5)”

An Hypothesis is Really a Prototype [Series 4/5]

Agile as the Innovator

Thought bytes

Don’t think research is a phase, it is really ongoing. Prototyping is the way you learn. You learn so much by watching how people learn. It’s OK if the prototype is really rough.

Rapid prototyping your guesses* is an iterative process. You learn just enough to feed into building a better prototype. Then you go out and learn more, build again.

Launching is validating how much more solving is needed. If not solving the problem, re-calibrate.

Service design seems similar to product design – but it is harder to prototype an “experience.”

Product design creates an experience. ID the real issues.

Key is have a clear objective of what you are trying to find out.

Think about the smallest thing you need to do to get the most learning – throughout the entire life-cycle.

Storyboards! Stories describe a type of interaction.

Always design for people.

 

* My note:  a simple word for hypothesis?

 

Next up:   Outside in Perspective

 

Innovation by Immersion [Series 3/5]

 Experience is the Message

People have experiences about product, products don’t have experiences.  – Marcelo Marer, Chief Creative Director, Intel Media

What sells well in the U.S. many not be a benefit to anyone elsewhere. If you sell globally, it’s critical to design products for the new markets you plan to enter. Doing so requires research and an honest/thorough analysis of the information you have collected.

User Stories and User Personas

In the previous blog, the product teams hypothesized their customers and prospects need to collaborate – on demand, from anywhere – with their partners and other growers, in order to be more productive and to reduce risk. Continue reading “Innovation by Immersion [Series 3/5]”

From Iron to Cloud – Customer Driven Innovation [Series 2/5]

Customer Driven Innovation: A Global Perspective

Changing iron by using the cloud

Growers (Matt rarely called his customers “farmers”) are a uniquely tenacious and optimistic group. They have to be risk takers too, so many out-of-their-control environmental factors impact outcomes.  You might never guess that this group is well set to innovate/change how they farm.

The head of  Product Management explained that today’s growers, in order to feed the many billion of us, must find ways to limit their risk and increase their yield. They’ve already teased out most of their farming costs from fuel (which impacts feed, fertilizer and other necessary items on the farm). More was needed to be done – there are hungry people to feed.

Continue reading “From Iron to Cloud – Customer Driven Innovation [Series 2/5]”

Going Global – PDMA Georgia [Series 1/5]

Something innovative happened again at KO HQ this Thursday

The PDMA| Georgia chapter held it’s 9th annual Summit – topics were global in scope but personal in focus. Much shared learning and best practices offered. A very good reason to step away from desks/deliverables and come together with like-minded product professionals.

Innovators may already be intuitively using Agile

Top-line takeaways from the Round Table

  • Get a handle on things that bite in your planning stage, not during execution (import laws, regulations)
  • RESONATE! – don’t just BE in the chosen markets (do provide consistency, quality, awesome user experience)
  • Create RELEVANCY- use everything around your product to do this
  • LISTEN, partner with a local  –  help your prospects ARTICULATE their unique drivers Continue reading “Going Global – PDMA Georgia [Series 1/5]”