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30 July '14 | Debjyoti Paul

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8 Steps to Building a Successful Self Service Portal

03 June '14 | Giridhar LV

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Distributed Agile: The Maturity Curve – Part 1

Posted on: 21 November '11

Adherence to agile manifesto and agile principles is the essence of agile. Agile teams choose either a popular methodology (e.g., Scrum) or put together a methodology that follows agile principles and practices. In reality it takes several months for agile teams (either collocated or distributed) to mature and reach the other end of the spectrum.

Last month, I came across an interesting question from one of my friends in an agile conference. He asked, “How does a distributed agile team start on a project and make progress in delivering results?” I said, “It depends”, and paused for a while before discussing it at length.

The next day, I reflected on it again, recollected a series of incidents from some of my initial agile projects and created a visual on how my project matured over a period of time. Also, I thought about what I would do differently if I were to start all over again. Let me share those visuals and perspectives in two blog posts.

During the past decade, I have seen many agile projects transitioning through these levels as shown in this self-explanatory diagram. By and large, this schematic presents the past.

Looking back, my findings are,

  1. If your comfort zone is “Improvising”, beware. It is quite possible that your team is reporting into a remote leader (or Scrum Master, if you use Scrum) or marching forward in staff augmentation model. In this case, your attempt to become a practicing agile team will wither soon.
  2. The longer you stay at the first two levels, the worse it gets. Unless you streamline the way you practice agile, you will find it extremely challenging to deliver consistently.
  3. Moving through the second and third levels involves a steep curve. It is a complex issue in distribute agile projects. Prior experience and availability of experts can help you go through this tough journey.
  4. Taking a long pause after reaching the third level is not a good idea. It is wise to push through level four and five as well. These levels are essential to deliver results in distributed agile projects.

Ideally, we must merge the first three levels and initiate agile projects swiftly so that the way we develop software is streamlined.

What do you think?

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  • Rajesh Aadi

    A great insight. I completely agree with your thoughts and experiences mentioned in this article. I have experienced first three levels , I guess we need to get into level 4 . Thanks for this insight and this blog gives me the direction on where to take our agile team.