and Collaboration in Agile
Everyone who is working in Agile understands the importance of communication and collaboration. In fact Agile team is a cross functional and self-organizing team. In the initial day of Agile, there was perception that team needs to collocated so that Agile Scrum will happen effectively.. If teams are at different locations then Agile won’t be successful. Now, there are still some Agile methodology like Xtreme programming where it is advisable to have team together from pair programming standpoint. However, other Agile methodology such as Scrum, LeSS, Scrum@scale figured out approach to execute Agile from multiple geographies. As saying goes “ necessity is the mother of invention.” No doubt, every enterprise is looking to adopt Agile execution approach with economically viable model. As majority of IT business is done from multiple geographies, Agile needs to be customized in the desired way to reap same benefits .
Fortunately, due to technological advancement, it became seamless to interact and collaborate across multiple geographies. Following are some of the best practices for Agile teams working from different geographies.
1) Leveraging video conferencing and chat software :
Its important to leverage video conferencing and chat software to communicate and collaborate with team members on daily basis. There is constant pressure on team to deliver based on sprint duration which is any where between 2-4 weeks. Hence, its imperative to stay in touch with team to know whether work is on track or any help is required. Leveraging these software is of great help.
2) Leveraging Agile project management toolchain
While team is collocated, it can create story board on the walls and each team members can pick up the tasks for themselves. However, when team members are operating from different geographies, similar arrangement of story board can be made using Agile project management software where team members can pick the story and update its progress on daily basis so that Scrum master and other team members can see it. Project documentation including Sprint planning, execution and all deliverables can be centrally stored.
3) Attendance from all teams for agile Scrum ceremonies
While teams are working from multiple geographies, it’s really important to find out common time zone and in that time zone , Agile ceremonies can be planned so that most of the team members (ideally all) can attend it. This step is very important for the success of Agile project where are not co-located. This step certainly improves collaboration among team as time progress in the project.
4) Focus on cultural understanding
This is one of the most important step to be focused upon at the start of the project. When team is onboarded, culture training needs to planned as there are significant differences in culture across the world and team should be aware of those differences so that right ground rules can be set up for the success of the project. Sometimes, culture issues may cause misunderstandings because of which progress of the project get impacted negatively and there will be clashes among team members. Hence, special attention should be given to this topic.
5) Soft skills training as a part of continuous improvement
Soft skills trainings such as communication training, leadership, time management should be arranged for the teams at regular frequency to enhance their interpersonal skills.
In Closing, as a leader, we all know how important communication and collaboration is for the success of Agile project. These are the biggest levers which will not only create world class agile teams but also lasting relationships within team members which is the key to excellence.