The Agile team was working on interdependent products that were to be delivered in Parallel Sprints. Some team members were spread across different cities while some were collocated in the main office.
Main Problems Identified During Assessment Interview
- Product Owner was overwhelmed with requests for requirements clarification.
- Most requests for feedback were lost in emails.
- Timezone difference was not considered in scheduling meetings.
- Daily project status was not appropriately coordinated.
- Daily Scrum call was taking excessive time beyond the ideal threshold.
- Updates were veering into detailed conversations.
- The Agile Framework in use was not best suited for the teams’ makeup and needs.
- There was a breakdown in effective collaboration and feedback channels among project stakeholders.
Solutions Implemented and Results
A more suited Agile Framework was chosen based on the Agile teams’ size, distributed nature and other factors that were unique to desired project outcomes. There was a period of best practice training shortly there after to institute a working agreement with communication norms that took into account better use of collaboration tools while having an efficient request communication channel to the Product Owner.
Since there were different teams working on an interdependent product in the same release, the daily Scrum calls were segmented in order to stay on topic while limiting to the ideal 15 minute threshold. Status updates were then coalesced in a shared space to increase visibility to project stakeholders.
Change management is often the biggest hurdle to overcome by teams adopting Agile practices. Once teams experience the benefits, most do not see themselves operating effectively in any other environment. That being said, Agile frameworks are not always the right methodology to be adopted by every team and organization. There should be considerations of unique team needs and organizational makeup taken into account.
Most organizations now work with teams internally and externally that are not collocated. It is therefore important to consider how project risks in communication as influenced by factors such as timezone difference, cultural difference and collaboration tools, can affect the performance of Agile teams. A good place to mitigate the risks is in the norming phase.