Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Slides from March Presentation

...on building off-shore teams can be found here

Great presentation from Edward Uy & Nikos Ioannou from Kelley Blue Book on how Kelley started their off-shore scrum teams in China and India. Kelley now has approximately 18 teams and 200 scrum users. One principle that permeates what they do is The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, including using facilitated exercises from the Field Guide (separate book).

Good questions regarding apply the principles of the book were asked, such as how do you separate issues that need to be addressed from the actual person and what if there's only one person on the team that ever calls for accountability.

On the off-shore topic, KBB found the biggest improvement when the Scrum Master split user stories along technology tiers, giving someone in India the back-end part of the story, and a developer in Irvine the front-end. This increased communication and commitment to getting the story completed.

Also, KBB believes in having off-shore and on-shore team members visit the other team several times a year, and especially on kick-off of the off-shore effort having the U.S. team go to the other country for 3-4 weeks.

As far as tools, KBB is using VersionOne as their project planning and management tool designed specifically for Agile software development, and SharePoint for collaboration. KBB selected VersionOne over Rally in a selection process, and didn't include ScrumWorks or ThoughtWorks' Mingle because they didn't feel at the time, in 2007, that they were in high enough adoption. One useful discovery was using SharePoint's discussion threads for cross-team capture of agile requirements documentation.


  1. Hi Scott,
    The Agile architecture link is not working.

  2. Fixed! Thanks for the heads up.

  3. "KBB found the biggest improvement when the Scrum Master split user stories along technology tiers"

    The key to this, however, was that all the stories that make up a full top-to-bottom slice are scheduled for the same sprint. They also focus on delivery of the full epic, which drives the teams to collaborate since just getting their piece done is not the ultimate goal.

    Having "horizontal" or "layer cake" stories, as opposed to "vertical" or "slices" stories often can be an anti-pattern, especially if they are scheduled in different sprints. It delays integrations and limits feedback.

    I'm also not sure it's a good idea for the ScrumMaster to split stories, but I think you meant they suggested to the team to do it. ;-)

    - Paul Hodgetts