Viewing entries tagged
agile collaboration

The 4-KEYS to Effectively Working with Distributed Agile Teams

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The 4-KEYS to Effectively Working with Distributed Agile Teams

My first piece of advice is this:

DON’T DO IT!!!

Probably the worst possible setup for “team” is spreading them around the country or the world or the universe and expecting them to behave and deliver like a close, cohesive team.

My second bit of advice for those of you that blame it on “Management” and say you don’t have any say in the matter…is:

WRONG, YOU HAVE LOTS TO SAY IN SUSTAINING DISTRIBUTED TEAMS OR CREATING ANOTHER STRATEGY!!!

I hear this situation (excuse) all of the time. An organization has inherited distributed teams yet also wants to move to more agile approaches. They understand that these teams can be less than optimal, but are reluctant to do anything about it. That is but complain about it.

I recently read an article entitled Engineering Culture and Distributed Agile Teams that was published in InfoQ. In it, the editor called out the following strong themes or takeaways:

Key Takeaways

  • Team structure reflects in product architecture
  • Distributed teams can perform pair programming by using some remote pairing techniques and tools.
  • Microservices influence a good distributed team structure
  • Increase co-ordination within a team by encouraging T-shaped engineers
  • DevOps tools and practices are valuable for Distributed Agile Teams
  • Increase efficiency of Continuous Integration and automation testing in distributed teams by using cloud

While the article is titled and implies a focus on culture, it really focuses more on technical tactics or tooling as the key to distributed teams.

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Agile Spaces – I think I’ve been Wrong!

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Agile Spaces – I think I’ve been Wrong!

Whew! There, I said it, and now I feel a little bit better.

For years I’ve been coaching agile teams and one of the themes I’ve been emphasizing is:

  • Co-location
  • Sitting together at open tables
  • Face-to-face collaboration
  • Pairing: pair-programming, pair-testing
  • Whiteboard, post-it notes, and flip charts

Have all been terms that I’ve emphasized during this time. I’ve pushed and tried to inspire teams to break down the walls and tooling and to sit together to build great products.

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Pigs, Chickens, and Stand-ups--Oh My!

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Pigs, Chickens, and Stand-ups--Oh My!

I was talking to an experienced Scrum Master and Agile Coach the other day about agile in general and the topic of stand-ups came up. It seems he’d had an “experience” at one of our local agile group meetings where Daily Standup dynamics were being discussed.

Here’s a link to the session. It’s a meeting from our local Raleigh, NC AgileRTP group. The topic was entitled: Do You Stand Up? I missed the meeting, but he recounted the general discussion and flow for me.

The group consensus was that: 'Chickens' (interested bystanders, stakeholders, leadership folks, etc.) should not talk during the Daily Scrum. The rational mostly surrounded that at it would interrupt the teams conversations and flow.

The Scrum Master disagreed with this view and he (jokingly) said that—when he brought up his perspective, the crowd summarily dismissed him as being wrong.

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