Online Scrums Blog
manage dispersed teams - increase visibility - better business decisions
One of the four core values of Agile is "Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools" and generally our interactions are best done in person, we are after all humans, and interactions with other humans is a key part of our evolutionary gifted brain development patterns ( not related, but still interesting read about this here ). This, however, poses a challenge with teams that are dispersed or in organisational cultures that emphasise flexibility; either by allowing people to work from home or different locations.
This article gives you five reasons that you should consider systemising your daily scrums;
Colocated teams are becoming less common as flexible working conditions becomes the norm and organisations continue to outsource or offshore agile scrum roles. A dispersed team adds challenges that a web conference call doesn't fully address (although it's a good start!)
Using online scrums, your team can submit their reports in their time within the context of a team cut-off. This report triggers all team members to answer the standard scrum questions, but with more structure that will give you confidence that they are on track day-to-day.
Making things feel more connected, your dispersed team members can also record a daily message with their report because putting a voice to your report gives it more creedance and ensures your team really exist!
Often when presenting their daily reports team members forget to mention the tasks that they had committed to, but fail to complete in the previous day.
Online Scrums mitigates this by presenting yesterdays "commitment" and team members report on the outcomes. Any tasks not completed is shown in incomplete (or blocked if the team member flags it accordingly), improving visibility and encouraging discussion amongst the team about the impacts of those missed tasks.
These statistics are also visible in the reporting through scrum, sprint and trends views enabling better team management. It's worth noting that that a team member who always finishes all tasks may be under committing, and may need some guidance on being more effective and helping the team more.
It's amazing the number of times we've seen organisations that do not communicate key organisational or project milestones to their project team members. This creates a culture that is often a negative in corporate environments, it's fine to use an agile methodology for your work but their is a commercial reality that your organisation needs to live, and that usually means what you build is tied to customer or billing milestones.
We've experienced great improvements in successfully meeting milestones when teams have easy access to the information, and this is something that Online Scrums puts front and centre for your team. Most views in the system include your sprint milestones that may be; birthdays, leave, billing or project milestones.
Depending on your internal culture you may be asked regularly for updates on the progress of your projects but key stakeholders. These status reports can be distracting and reducing effectiveness for team members and so Online Scrums provides "observer" members who can view key reports but not contribute to sprints. Further, an upcoming feature will include better visibility at a sprint level of who is working on what in one screen. This view is going to be called Progress and is in a familar swimlane view that you're likely seeing in your other development tools, but makes it accessible to your observers anytime.
If you are nodding at one or more of the above, you can give Online Scrums a try on the Free 21 Day Trial!