Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Challenges in Distributed Agile

While executing multi-site projects, Agile practitioners do face several challenges due to factors such as distribution of teams that results in limitations in face-to-face communication, and cultural mix of teams that impedes team bonding.   In some instances  I have seen collocated Agile teams inducting distributed teams in order to implement distributed Agile.  In other instances, several virtual teams come together to implement distributed Agile.  In both cases, the short term results are not impressive because of the inherent challenges associated with distributed Agile. Also, several questions such as the following surface as challenges.

1) How do you ensure that everyone understands the project vision and builds adequate rapport to work as a team?
2) Are engineers making the right assumptions (and validating them) and understand their expectations?
3) Are team members aware of detrimental communication loops that can impact productivity?
4) How will team members involve in efficient query resolution and ensure that they preserve the tacit knowledge exchanges?
5) How do team members avoid the trap of 'Blame Game' that could arise from product demos at the master location?
6) How do team members own quality and improve both internal and external quality of the product?
7) How will senior leaders or program mangers react to unfinished user stories?
8) How accurate can be the status checks? How will Scrum Master(s) perform status checks?
9) When and Where will Root Cause Analysis happen? Who will participate?
10)  How will senior leaders maintain team motivation across virtual teams?

There are ways to manage distributed Agile challenges and ensure early success in projects.  Governance of distributed agile projects plays a crucial role in making this happen.   What has been your experience?  What are the critical success factors?

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