Online Scrums Blog
manage dispersed teams - increase visibility - better business decisions
There are many development tools and many of them do a great job of managing development processes from planning through to retrospectives, one of the ongoing concerns that I have held, especially with dispersed teams, was visibility outside of the standard sprint reports. Daily scrums, or stand ups, are nearly always a face to face or web conference that rely heavily on team members being assertive in their reports to drive meaningful discussion and resolve road blocks to achieve successful sprints.
The same three questions were asked across the board;
But I found myself seeing recurring incidents where the question that really needed answered was "what did you commit to yesterday that didn't get done?", a question that in my mind should be easily answered by looking at our systems, but wasn't. Further, milestones were missed because team members were unaware of them, and we witnessed a disconnect between financial targets and milestones and project delivery.
This was a huge inspiration for https://www.onlinescrums.com! We wanted to supplement the data available in these standard tools with visibility to help better business decisions. We didn't want to provide a full agile solution because in truth, we love the tools available, but they lacked this one aspect that we feel Online Scrums does great!
The above is a submitted "My Day" report where you can quickly see what the team member did yesterday, what they failed to complete and any blocked tasks. Further, the team member, and this is the key, nominates the work they will be doing next.
Additionally sprint milestones are visible to all team members, and as such there should be no deadlines missed because the team weren't aware of them, nor should a team members upcoming leave be missed. Another aspect of business that is sometimes neglected by other systems is the business impacts of missing a deadline, presenting key project milestones and invoice milestones brings that information from finance to the team doing the work.
Team members can also optionally provide a video report. While not mandatory, it is a useful way of connecting your team in the event they're operating in different timezones and unlikely to connect one-on-one during the day.
As we can see above, each task has statistics and comments that provide insights for the team. In this case, this task has been planned twice and blocked both times and I'm asking for help!
The scrum report can either be used to drive the daily scrum, or it can be used as a replacement with dispersed teams. It's worth noting that we still advocate daily contact as a team where possible!
This report provides statistics such as;
Further, the team can click on each team member to view the full report and we can see the report status for each team member; submitted on time, submitted late and not submitted and where there is a video recorded the team can watch it. Importantly sprint milestones are again front and centre!
In the above example we can see that two of the team are really slacking off right!?
Sprint and trend reports are again used to suppliment reporting available in your development tools such as your burndown charts, but they provide a better picture of the interupt factor that may be not as obvious when working inside other tools.
So we're really excited about our recent release and subsequent update that integrated video reports, and would encourage you all to head over for a free 21 day trial and give us any feedback you may have!