Agile transformation becomes an increasingly popular word in the world of software development business across the globe. However, distributed agile units or teams can prove relatively new to many. What does it entail? What benefits accrue from distributed agile units? Such questions can comprise some, among the many questions you have about distributed agile teams. Agile and distributed software development has become widely popular practices. However, the implications often prove clear when used differently; having the same terms in a sentence proves new to plenty of people.
Agile emphasizes collaboration and teamwork from a physical location, and distributed unit members work from diverse corners of the world. Therefore, it comes as no surprise to get plenty of challenges when you apply agile principles in a distributed setting. However, the good news entails the success of such a setting provided the appropriate approaches get used. Distributed units can handle or tackle such challenges effectively. Suppose you are wondering how you can go about this in your organization with remote teams. In that case, you should contemplate the following approaches to ensure the agile strategy works at its maximum potential. But before this, you have to understand some terms.
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Agile comprises a culture opposite to a set of rules or guidelines. In the world of software development, the agile methodology spins around unearthing requirements, creating strong solutions, and continuously delivering through team communication and collaboration.
Good read: Understand Agile Software Development
Methodology of Agile Development | Distributed Agile Units/Teams
Situations across the globe that involve agile often tend to prefer interactions and individuals over tools and processes. It also prefers consumer collaboration over aspects such as contract negotiation, response to changes above creation of plans, besides working software above detailed documentation.
Benefits that Accrue from Agile
- Improved quality. You get an enhanced quality from using agile because the team divides the entire project into sprints besides focusing on top-end quality development. In addition, the production of continuous builds enables testing at every iteration, which leads to high-performance solutions.
- Predictable delivery. Agile assures frequent product features delivery because of the fixed schedule runs/sprints, leading to a better quality of the end product due to the beta testing of everything before product release.
- The agile methodology ensures that clients can engage and stay involved in the product development process. It can involve aspects such as prioritizing features, sprint planning, reviewing sessions, etc. Additionally, everything stays under the control of clients besides tracking the progress of the work. Because of this, you do not get cases of getting surprised later on with the end product.
It often comes as a straightforward term though often used with distributed development. The latter refers to the planning or preparation, building, and software testing process using decentralized teams across diverse physical locations. Consequently, members of a distributed software dev team can work on specific projects from anywhere provided they have access to internet-based communication and tools for collaboration.
Structure of a Distributed Team | Distributed Agile Unit/Team
Distributed teams have diverse benefits to any organization, and these involve the following.
- Accessible talent
It becomes possible to build a strong software development unit cutting across physical borders when hiring top talents. Additionally, it brings an excellent mix of diversity, which cannot get achieved under different circumstances.
The salaries and pay rates of developers often vary based on their location. For instance, in the UK and the USA, the average salary for a developer comes at about $100000, unlike other countries where you can get similar competent services at an annual rate of $30000 or less.
- Increased productivity
Studies show that the possibility of losing the services of an essential member within a distributed team proves less compared to conventional teams. Members tend to work faster, apply for fewer sick leaves, and perform better.
When you consider the two critical components, the next question will entail the possibility of both working together. So can distributed teams and agile coexist? Yes, they can, though for it to work effectively, then you have to isolate agile principles when it comes to its application to remote teams. Therefore, try and avoid following every agile manifesto’s point and instead concentrate on reducing the impact of remote working effectively.
Strategies to Ensure a Functioning Distributed Agile Unit/Teams
Distributed software development offers global market access, reduced costs, and access to talent, constraining communication in the team. Unfortunately, the advent of remote work and its subsequent growth leaves organizations with little choice but to embrace the trend through the caveat of limiting its impacts to increase time management and productivity. To ensure the two work together for the benefit of the organization, consider implementing the following strategies.
- Ensure that the software development status has proper visibility
Plenty of distributed teams face the challenge of lack or inadequate visibility regarding the status of the project. However, visibility becomes integral in the sphere of agile as project requirements tend to change frequently. You, therefore, cannot gamble on compromising this aspect. Therefore, ensure that the project status is visible to the project owner/manager by uploading clear reports before starting another sprint cycle. Tools to use are JIRA, a project management tool to monitor the project’s progress and create increased visibility.
- Measure the productivity of your team
The end game always features productivity, and as such, you have to visualize the entire team to understand who works on what to measure productivity. Additionally, comprehend what requires changing to increase the efficiency of the process.
- Invest in collaboration and communication tools to increase engagement
A key distributed agile ideology entails effective collaboration and communication. Therefore, you have to foster these to realize shared ownership besides a sense of common purpose. Furthermore, effective communication will enhance the aspect of agile that entails prompt response to any changes. Because of this, consider embracing planning sessions, stand-ups, and sprints to keep collaborating and communicating. For collaborations, ensure you implement things like daily scrums, virtual discussions, and planning sessions. Additionally, plenty of mobile apps and tools exist online, and which can assist you in establishing an effective communication channel.
- Distributing work
Here, you have to assign work to diverse teams based on the location model in use. So if you have your teams working remotely or partially remote, you have to assign work based on in-house and local expertise existing in the said locations. For example, assuming you have employed a remote agency for design and development work outsourcing purposes. However, with in-house product owners and scrum masters, you can strategize and plan with this in-house team and allow the remote unit to execute. Additionally, do not forget to distribute your workload evenly among all the members of your agile team.
- Monitor the code quality
It often happens that team leaders in a distributed environment find it challenging to measure the project health and quality of the code. Therefore, unit test case status, coverage rates, build stability, etc., may remain concealed until communicated to them via a message or call by the team.
- Nurturing agility
It becomes important to nature your agility continuously as it gets inculcated within you.
- Agile teams are outsourcing
It becomes impossible to achieve agile transformation devoid of a skilled, agile team, and this often requires investment in employing training and inductions. Therefore manage your resources by hiring an outside agile team.
- Adopt agile tools to manage your distributed teams. Such tools entail Jira, GitLab, Github, etc.
You can enlist the assistance of agile methodology as a distributed team to deliver top-quality software fast. Hopefully, the insights provided give you the upper hand regarding understanding the methodology explained.
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