Team collocation

Last post 02:18 am February 15, 2013
by Anonymous
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04:55 pm February 13, 2013

I have a really hard time with one facet of Scrum that I just do not agree with, and that’s the collocation concept. I know that collocation is an important concept and that teams may be more productive if located together how does an organization account for remote employees (no nearby office) and offshoring possibilities? I just don’t see collocation being a necessary, or even a viable solution anymore in a virtual world. Does anyone else out there think the collocation bias needs to change?
FYI - (cross posted in LinkedIn - Scrum Practitioners Group)

05:45 pm February 13, 2013

Hi Tracey,

While its always favorable, I didn't find a mandate where Scrum requires a co-located team to to produce an increment.

My curiosity had me checking the Scrum Guide and didn't see anything for this in Page 15 where the Daily Scrum is described.

I've worked with several different team set ups, and I found being co-located or at keadt in the same time zone was the most favorable.

Perhaps others can also share their insights.

04:27 am February 14, 2013

The agile Manifesto tells us that face-to-face is the most efficent way. Not that it is the only one. What I see with my team is, that co-location makes the team share what they do not just while the daily-scrum, you have less barriers of asking and talking, you have shared breaks etc.. I think that is something why it is prefered.

But I agree with Nitin, I can't find any part where scrum "forbiddes" colocating teams.

Br

12:01 pm February 14, 2013

I appreciate the feedback guys. I know it's preferred (not necessarily required) so I wanted to get people's take on just HOW preferred it is. :)

My team is distributed in 4 states and while I think we could be more productive if collocated I just don't know how much more productive. The team is extremely collaborative, open, and are just overall... succeeding. The team interaction and rapport is top notch and I just don't want something like a dictate saying that teams would be better if they were collocated to break that apart. That's the reason behind my question.

Again, thank you for your feedback.

03:46 pm February 14, 2013

"I know that collocation is an important concept and that teams may be more productive if located together..."

That's pretty much it, you answered your own question. While it's possible for teams to get by without being co-located, it's better if they are.

This is because individuals and actions are preferred over the processes and tools that would be needed to co-ordinate a distributed workforce. Co-located people have a richer communication channel than can be obtained by phone, email, teleconferencing, or even all of these technologies put together.

04:19 pm February 14, 2013

I've had a number of teams that have worked pretty well when distributed within the US, or when I've had colleagues that are temporarily in another country. However, my experience is that co-location is always preferable, especially when your team isn't a "team of experts". When you have teams that have varying abilities, then distributed teams are much, much worse.

I currently have 3 scrum teams on one product team that are spread between Bangalore, two islands in the Philippines, Seattle and Chicago. Most of the problems and delays we have are do to our teams being distributed globally. Culturally we're different, we speak different languages natively, and we're on opposite sides of the earth. Despite our team members being solid performers, very motivated to succeed and mostly co-located within their respective geographies, it's just very difficult to do Scrum when you're separated like this.

Even when you have the ideal team, it's very likely that the team would perform better when sitting in the same room. When you don't the "bias" toward co-located teams should become even more pronounced.

02:18 am February 15, 2013

Hello Everyone

I have been working in a distributed team for more than a year. Our PO and a few team members are at US and SM and other members are in India. I agree that collocation is the preferred way of working but it doesn't mean distributed setup doesn't work at all. We also had some issue and over a period of time team is able to overcome those.

Regards
Sanjay