Great Recollections from the Geographically Distributed Teams Workshop

Shane and the participants and I had a great time at the Geographically Distributed Agile Teams workshop last week. We ran a couple of simulations, and here are some of the emails the teams had:

Do you have something for us to test yet?

We have completed the card

Hi again. I didn't hear back from you yesterday on this. We've already lost a day of status. Please find some time today to send us your status.

Hurry. I need to test!

Hi guys and gals, in the standup you mentioned that you had questions about the requirements. Could you please provide us with details regarding the stories?

Need you to pull some overtime

I don't know in which order the emails were, but it doesn't matter. The building part of the project simulation was only 15 minutes.

Jack Vinson brought my attention to an HBR article about when to bring geographically distributed teams together: at the very beginning or after they had been working together for a while. As with all interesting questions, the answer is, “It depends.”

If this team had enjoyed a meeting before they had started working together, they could have chartered the project and worked out roles and responsibilities. They could have worked out how they would have done their standups. They could have advocated for travel money when they were all in one place. They could have measured the value stream when they were all in one place and estimated it when they were not all in one place to explain why they needed more travel. Maybe.

One of themes of our workshop was “measure the value stream.” If you are in doubt about whether or not something makes sense with the way you are organized, measure the value stream. Look for where information flows, and where the delays are, and how long the delays are. Now you have a shot of understanding who adds value to the work products and who does not. Read Wage Cost and Labor Cost when you have a chance.

We had a great time. Too bad you were not there.

Oh, and if you are considering conducting a workshop in the Bay Area, use Elisabeth's Agilistry Studio. It was a great facility and she was easy to work with.

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