Agile Offshore Development: 10 Ways to Make it Work for Your Organization


carried over to the next Sprint.

9. Scrum Team Collaboration
Standard Scrum teams meet daily for 15 minutes to share what was done the day before, address the plan for the next eight hours, and discuss any impediments. In some cases, the offshore team may feel that it is being micro-managed as a result of the inherent emphasis on status and detail, and this can lead to lower productivity and morale. This meeting can very easily drift toward becoming a traditional status reporting meeting with the Scrum Master on a daily basis. Restructuring daily meetings to better reflect the spirit of Agile development helps these daily sessions become more informal by emphasizing information sharing and collaboration to solve challenges. This restructuring helps team members feel empowered and less intimidated about sharing status and results.

10. Adhering to Standards
Offshore organizations that follow processes like CMMi may expect Scrum teams to also adhere to rigid processes, documentation, and reporting - thereby making the Agile Scrum teams more and more process-driven rather than people-driven. Tailoring the standards to reflect specialized processes and metrics in line with Scrum timelines enables the nature and benefits of Scrum to remain intact. In talking with hundreds of software companies each year, we see less than one quarter that have a CMMi assessment. It is possible to be assessed at CMMi and operate with Agile processes, but we don't see the benefit of the combination. In our view, CMMi is all about stringent adherence to process, heavy documentation, and intense tracking of activities. Agile is all about light documentation, process serving the team versus the team being bound by process, and a focus on deliverables versus how deliverables were achieved.

Adopting a Global Agile approach is indeed possible and beneficial to software companies that choose to embrace it. In addition to tangible benefits including reduced calendar time to implement new features or enhancements, there are powerful morale-building benefits of this process as well. By following these ten steps, pioneering software companies can create a productive, integrated multi-shore development team that doesn't get bogged down in bureaucratic processes. By creating a culture of trust and collaboration, all stakeholders can "feel" the product enhancement much earlier. This is especially valuable with geographically dispersed teams, enabling members to gain wider product knowledge in a short period, enhancing flexibility in resource deployment. Scrum is the best way for the onshore team to get real updates on the offshore team's progress with demonstrable software every month versus numbers and graphs.


About the Author
Balasubramaniam "Bala" Muthusamy has extensive experience practicing Agile Scrum methodologies.  Additionally, he has 13 years of experience in consulting, support, and product development for enterprise applications including ERP, supply chain, and project management software. Bala earned a bachelor's degree in production engineering along with various certifications in the supply chain management domain and J2EE.

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