Choosing an agile process – Part 4a: Offshore development

Monday, February 4, 2008 – 10:36 AM

I was talking so someone here about their strategies for organizing distributed agile teams. They had another interesting practice for handling offshore development and distributed teams that I’d not really considered.

  • Onshore representative for offshore team: Have someone in the team room how is responsible for being the offshore team’s person in the room. This isn’t to get the offshore people off the hook for attending standup or using the other practices I discussed to maximize communication. It’s designed to help the remote team members stay sync’ed up with key conversations they may have missed.

This would work particularly well if the offshore team’s representative had worked with the offshore team before at their site. You might consider making this happen in the early stages of the project, send someone to the remote site to meet the people their and learn how they work.

It would also be a good way to incorporate an outsourced team into your project. We’ve tried this at p&p but let the onshore representative replace the offshore people – in large part because of the time difference. This meant we had one person on the team who appeared to do the work of four people. If I did this again I’d try and move to the model described above and get the offshore people much more tightly coupled with the team in the room, even if that meant moving the daily standup or having two standups to account for time zones.

Some of this is covered in Scrum and XP from the trenches.

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