Managing Offshore XP Teams: Organizational Models and Tools

  • role).
  • Cannot be BPM or BA!
  • Supervise the team staffing process.
  • Track progress of the entire project.
  • Make sure that all resources (environment, documentation, back-end access) are arranged and made available to the development team.
  • Get external resources (e.g., a stress testing team), as necessary.
  • Make sure that all questions are answered in timely manner and that the documentation is updated accordingly.
  • Arrange and participate in release planning sessions, planning games, and daily Scrums.

The TIL deals strictly with the technical and organizational side of the project, leaving the issues related to the business logic to the BAs and the BPM. This is to ensure that the BPM is focused on getting the requirements right 100% of the time and does not have to be distracted from communicating with the development team for non-essential, administrative tasks.

Enabler Responsibilities:

  • Participate in the project feasibility study preceding the project.
  • Review user stories and creates technical stories.
  • Provide proper interfaces and stubs to back-end systems.
  • Review the source code daily and checks compliance with architecture standards and coding guidelines.
  • Check product metrics (unit test coverage, automatic unit test coverage, cyclomatic complexity).
  • Help the development team by answering difficult technical questions and suggesting better solutions.
  • Participate in release planning sessions,planning games, and daily Scrums.

The enabler acts as the first filter on the customer side. He receives the daily build from the StarSoft team and deploys it in the client's integration environment (which emulates the production environment), since the offshore team is not allowed direct access to the client's highly sensitive environments. He also performs code reviews to make sure the team follows coding and architectural guidelines. In short, the enabler's responsibility is to ensure the code's consistency and to make sure the business analysts can proceed to test the system's functionality. More often than not, a separate Technical Data Analyst (TDA) is working alongside the enabler and takes care of the database side of things.

TDA Responsibilities (when present as a separate role):

  • Create technical stories relating to databases.
  • Provide the necessary schemas and data of back-end databases.
  • Review DDL, DML, and query scripts.
  • Perform load and stress testing, if necessary.
  • Help the development team by answering the difficult technical questions and suggesting alternative solutions.

StarSoft has delivered projects to many internal customers within the client's organization in the UK, Ireland, Israel, USA, and Russia. Due to the global nature of the client's organization, the BMP, TIL, Enabler and the development team can be in different countries for the same project.

Project Manager's responsibilities:

  • Put the team together from the available resource pool, based on the requirements of the project at hand. Serve as the central communication point to the client.
  • Sort out everything that can potentially decrease the team's velocity.
  • Arrange and participate in release planning sessions, planning games, and daily Scrums. Write and circulate minutes.
  • Participate in estimations; track status.
  • Gather questions and forward them to the client, receive answers, and discuss them with the team.
  • Arrange standup meetings, and make sure that everyone has his/her daily tasks assigned and that the tasks are clear.

The project manager staffs the development team and acts as the central communication conduit to the customer. On a daily basis, he or she runs the morning standup meeting to kick off the daily "mini project." Right after that, the PM proceeds to collect the questions from his team, answering the easier ones and consolidating the rest into the daily email to the client's analyst team.

In the middle of the day, the project manager holds the daily Scrum telephone call with the customer. Normally, we

About the author

Peter Vaihansky's picture Peter Vaihansky

Peter Vaihansky is the General Manager for First Line’s North American operations. In this capacity, he oversees strategic client relationships, plays a key role in the sales and pre-sales process, and directs the company’s global marketing activities. Peter has been working with distributed Agile development teams since 2003. 

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