Distributed Agile: The Maturity Curve – Part 2
Posted on: 13 December '11
In my previous blog, I explained the way agile projects used to evolve several years ago. Every agile project matures over a period of time. Agile teams adhere to agile manifesto and agile principles. They adopt agile practices that suit our project. As they move forward from iteration to iteration, they introduce new techniques or approaches or metrics in order to improve visibility and predictability. Agile teams inspect and adapt.
This means that agile projects start in a certain state and go through multiple transitions. Obviously, we need to be proactive in doing certain things early, as shown below.
- It is good to have ‘agile aware’ team members. However, it is better to have at least one or two team members who are experienced in agile. Besides, the availability and support of agile experts or coaches will have a positive impact on the team’s performance.
- It is good to have email, chat, phone and other communication mechanisms. Effective use of communication tools is necessary to ensure efficiency. Agile teams cannot afford to use chat for lengthy conversations. They must know when to communicate over phone.
- It is good to have sandboxes (or environments) for development, staging and testing. However, it is necessary to ensure that the environments are robust.
- Introducing a tool for iteration / release management is very important.
- Build process needs to stabilize during the initial month.
- Prioritized product backlog needs to be maintained from early stages.
- Change management is essential. Otherwise the teams may not have a clear idea on how changes can be managed in practical situations.
- There has to be a governance team (especially in case of distributed agile projects) with a commitment to have review meetings at regular intervals. Governance in distributed team is paramount for timely decision making in various areas that are outside the purview of the project team. A very good example is initiating and providing consistent support or sponsorship for the visits of team members at all levels across sites.
Every project or customer engagement does not have to take 12 months to mature. With prior experience and expertise, an organization can nurture agile teams and help them transition through these stages in a shorter duration.
I am sure you are able to relate this discussion to your experience. What is your take on this?