Today my friend Ed and I still talk to each other; albeit most of the time via email and occasionally over the phone. We rarely see each other face-to-face, as our lives have diverged into different areas of specialties and different areas of the world. I think the cool thing though is that if either of us called upon one or the other for help, we would “be there” for each other in an instant.
So what does this trip down memory lane actually bring to this blog entry?
Think about some of the most highly effective teams you have worked with.
Now think about the world today. I bet there are some still very high effective teams working together today (using Scrum of course!).
And to me this is great to see.
Here is where I see a failing — or a significant challenge today. In addition to me seeing it and living it on almost a daily basis, I realize it is being written about ad-nauseam in some forums and other areas of the net (including books I am sure!).
The topic is collocation — or the lack thereof — of teams today.
It is a fact that many many many Scrum teams are struggling with this topic today. And, while I hope people are coming up with creative answers, I’d like to make some recommendations that I have seen work — in the real world — today. Along with some miserable failures.
This may seem obvious, but I always always always always recommend any Scrum team collocate together during a Sprint.
This cannot always happen.
However…. strive for the ideal.
If this truly cannot happen, strive to make the part of the team which is not collocated with the main team feel a very close connection as to what is happening with the entire team today.
Think about it. Yes, even people in large enterprises with “risk officers” who may shred my advice.
Open a communication line between the two rooms. Have more than two rooms? The same advice applies.
It is that damn simple.
It may not be cheap, but it is simple.
Male it as simple and effective as possible.
This does not mean throwing a 56K ISDN line into a PolyComm Speaker Phone over to India to talk. Um. This is almost as bad as the string between the two tin cans. Don’t believe me? Try it. And come up with a better solution.
And do not accept mediocrity.
Sure, the bean counters and other Chickens may say that getting the entire team together for even a Sprint Review, Retrospective, and Planning session may be too costly.
Look at what the team is burning each Sprint.
What percentage of the team burn will REALLY increase if you got people together once a Sprint.
And… on the flip side…. what would the team GAIN in productivity (as measured by the velocity) for the overall project?
May 21, 2007