How to manage a geographically distributed team in Scrum?

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Tudip

24 June 2020

What is a geographically distributed team?

Individuals working within the same team but are located in several locations. for instance one team with individuals in Pune, California, Florida and So on

Advantage of making a distributed scrum team

  • Enhanced productivity
  • Increases self-confidence
  • Saved commuting time
  • Closer to clients
  • Hire talent anywhere
  • More productive workforce
  • On-time delivery
  • Skill Enhancement

Below I  have noted down the 12 tips to succeed at managing distributed Agile teams

  • Pre-Sprint Planning:
    • It is recommended to spend quality time in pre-planning associated with upcoming sprints. One must identify interdependencies at the earliest stage. Also, Product Backlogs should be planned beforehand so one is often conscious of the upcoming task. Before the particular meeting takes place, it’s advisable that the merchandise Manager and therefore the Scrum Master should schedule a separate meeting to debate the identical.
  • Usability Testing:
    • Usability testing is an acceptance testing to understand how the end-user would respond to a product under realistic conditions. Hence, it is recommended to go for usability testing in different geographies as the results may vary. The product owner should take out time to give a brief to the team about what usability testing is all about and why it is so important. It is also advisable that the product functionalities should be tested should take place under all the circumstances and possible scenarios.
  • Enhance Code Quality through Reviews
    • Reviewing codes can help enhance the overall performance of the team and will help in providing value to the client. Also, It will help in improving the code quality. With co-located teams,  there might be issues pertaining to some Agile practices like daily standups, etc. Tools that support code review should be taken into account as they will help bridge the knowledge and information gap between different locations. In the end what is important is to ensure that the code is correct, easy to interpret by every member of the team and is easy to maintain. A test-driven development can be of help in multiple ways like improving the quality of the code and easy adaptability of Agile methodology.
  • Create Test Case and Execution
    • Creating a test case would help to cover all the possible scenarios so that the end result would be a bug-free application. One should set the guideline on how to execute the cases and fill the bug and the entire distributed team should follow the predefined guidelines so that everyone should be on the same page.
  • Conduct Distributed Daily Scrum Meetings
    • Daily scrum meetings have become an important part of an Agile methodology. Daily scrum is that the time when the whole team connect together for 15-20 minutes, where they will address three essential questions
      • What was all done yesterday?
      • What all that needs to be done today?
      • Are there any blockers?
    • One of the most effective ways to keep everyone focused is to answer the question mentioned above within the meeting itself. The team should know about obstacles during daily standups. The product manager can make use of project management tools, Scrum board or Kanban boards for better understanding among the team about the tasks accomplished.
  • Mid Sprint / End of Sprint Reviews:
    • The project can be further broken down into sprints where each Sprint of 1 to 4 weeks has more than one objective. Focus on every objective individually in order to track whether the decisions are in the right direction. After every sprint, the project should be reviewed, making sure that there is an overlap of time zone between offsite and onshore teams while conducting the review.
  • Retrospectives
    • Effective participation of the whole team in Retrospective is usually challenging. As in Retrospective, the entire team need to come and sit together and to work on the feedback and to identify the opportunities to improve
    • In retrospect, we need to make the team learn to stop the practice of blaming each other when tasks are not done properly.
  • Regular feedback from the Product Owner
    • The product owner is the person who is responsible for the management of Product Backlog and maximizing the value of the work. However, this may vary across Scrum teams and organizations. Hence, the Product Owner should set up weekly or bi-weekly meetings to discuss multiple aspects that teams should consider. Product Owner is the bridge between the stakeholders and the team and there should be a proper flow of information from the product owner end. The primary responsibility of a Product Owner is to assign requirements among different teams. This all can be achieved if the Product Owner is able to communicate and roll out the information. One of the finest ways to do so is to follow Agile principles.
  • Invest in Project Management Tools
    • With the use of the right tools, teams can not only improve their processes but also the outcomes. In this digital era, communication has become one of the most important aspects of managing an Agile team. The use of an online tool can further help the team communicate and collaborate efficiently and increase productivity.
    • A right Project Management tool can provide the entire distributed team the complete visibility of the task, bugs, progress and so on.
  •  Increase the Team’s Morale
    • High morale is important for seamless collaboration. It helps team members to take more pride in their work, and consistently improve performance over time. An effective communication approach followed by the team results in the overall improvement in team morale.
    • Agile methodology is surely helping to achieve their product milestones and swiftly accomplish development. However, if the projects handled by distributed teams are not managed in the correct way they can delay the development and hamper launching products at the right time. These best practices will not only help to manage distributed Agile teams but also steer development consistent with the roadmap.

Conclusion

Distributed teams are the future of work. Though distributed environments offer some unique challenges to Scrum teams, there are many possible ways to achieve success. Distributed Scrum teams are able to find that with some considerations and planning one can achieve efficient velocities while developing their own unique team relationships and can deliver the most valuable product to the client.

 

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