Large-Scale Distributed Agile Teams – Creating, Sizing, Prioritizing and Grooming the Product Backlog


their stakeholders, they first need to create, size and prioritize the product backlog and then groom it each sprint.

While it is tempting for large-scale, distributed teams to use multiple product backlogs, we have found that teams that are working together and coordinating to deliver a product are more successful when they use a single product backlog.

Teams also need a common understanding of what a story point is. Depending on the size of the team, they can use full team estimation workshops or partial team estimation workshops to create and maintain a common understanding of story points. Distributed teams can use online planning poker tools or a simple chat to estimate their stories in a virtual environment.

About the Authors

Elizabeth Woodward is a Senior Software Consultant with IBM Quality Software Engineering under the Corporate Headquarters Office of Innovation and Technology. Elizabeth coaches software development teams to improve efficiency and effectiveness of their development practices. She has co-chaired the IBM Academy of Technology Conference on Agile Methods, teaches courses on Disciplined Agile Development, and co-leads the IBM Agile Community.

Steffan Surdek is an Agile Coach in Montreal. In his previous life, he worked as a User Experience Lead and Agile coach at IBM Canada where he facilitated the internal two day disciplined agile workshops and was one of the co-leads of their Agile Community. Steffan has spoken at various conferences and user groups about using agile practices with distributed teams.

Gain additional insights from Elizabeth Woodward and Steffan Surdek on this subject by reading their recently published book "A Practical Guide to Distributed Scrum" published by Pearson/IBM Press, ISBN 0137041136, Copyright 2010 by International Business Machines Corp.



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