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How to Ensure Early Death of a Distributed Agile Project?

by Vikas Hazrati on Feb 24, 2009 |

Challenges of Agile adoption and execution get amplified when working in a distributed mode. Distributed Agile brings its own share of challenges in terms of geographical separation, varied timezone, cultural differences etc. Communication and feedback play a vital role in the success of such an engagement. Anurag Shrivastava lists down a collection of tips gathered across various projects which would ensure an early death of a distributed Agile project. Of course, the idea is to keep these in mind and avoid repeating them in a project.

Anurag suggested the following sure shot ways to kill a distributed Agile project,

  1. Involve the offshore team in the project after couple of sprints, once onsite team has understood the project vision, road map and made key technical choices.
  2. Keep making all important design decisions with the small onsite team.
  3. Keep offshore team very small i.e. 2 persons or less. Keep onsite team at least 3 times bigger.
  4. Blame every problem in a project on the offshore team.
  5. Never give honest feedback in the project retrospectives.
  6. Avoid collocation with offshore team at any cost.
  7. If collocation does take place then make sure that no onsite team member pair programs with offshore team member.
  8. Ask offshore team to handle simple tasks that nobody onsite would like to do.
  9. Keep refactoring the code during the weekends and in the evenings with very little communication about it with the offshore team.
  10. Re-write a significant part of code delivered by the offshore team with out any communication.
  11. Communicate frequently about the coding problems created by offshore team with onsite stakeholders.

Lack of effective communication, feedback and trust seem to be the underlying reason for most of the above points.

Similarly, Clinton Keith and Mike Cohn listed 20 tips to avoid success in an Agile project. They talk in detail on what can be done wrong from the perspective of

  • Management
  • Team
  • Product Owner and
  • Process

Hence, there are several ways to fail in distributed Agile environment. The idea, is to learn from these mistakes and make the project successful. Anurag listed his view on the tips for making distributed Agile work and Chris Sims shared the outcome of his session as Agile 2008 about factors that contribute to the success of distributed Agile for benefit of the Agile community.

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