Daily Scrum not effective due to geographic location of development team

Last post 12:48 pm January 17, 2014
by Stacy Venani
5 replies
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09:05 pm January 15, 2014

HI,
If development team is geographically located at Europe,India and Australia as in case of my project .
Daily scrum is not effective as it should be .
As a solution we ask team members to email their update and then we go through the items.
If someone has better option then please let me know.

09:40 pm January 15, 2014

I have had similar problems in the past, and I have to say that unless your teams have an unusually high commitment to the project and dont mind getting onto a Skype conference call at strange times in the night, then you are probably doing the best you can.

A possibility might be basing a message thread on network 54 allowing all who are involved, and registered, the chance to see what each team is doing, and comment, which would be good transparency, but may also dissolve into other pointless sideline discussions

10:36 pm January 15, 2014

The point of a Daily Scrum is to ensure that team members spend face-to-face planning time each day with a collaborative focus on the Sprint Goal. If team members are distributed, then everything needs to be thrown at maximizing the quality of the communication channels.

Video conferencing is the best option because it carries at least some if the non-verbals. Audio is a poor second choice and if this is all you have it should be of excellent quality.

Charles has a good list of resources on distributed, offshore, and multisite scrum available here: http://www.scrumcrazy.com/My+Preferred+Agile%2C+Scrum%2C+and+XP+Resourc…

One other option us to change the session format to "walking the board". Each task on the team board, which should be electronic so all can see it, is considered in turn. The team collectively determine what needs to be done, and by whom, in order to progress it. This is a delivery-centric approach used in Kanban. The disadvantage is that some focus on the Sprint Goal is lost. However, the approach can be used with reasonable success even over low bandwidth communication channels.

01:19 am January 17, 2014

How about the time zone differences which are not overlapping?

03:15 am January 17, 2014

A Development Team are expected to self-organize a suitable time at which all members can attend the Daily Scrum. This expectation applies regardless of whatever time zones they may be in.

If a distributed team cannot do this then a Daily Scrum cannot be held and they will not be doing Scrum. They can exchange emails. However that will not be a Daily Scrum because the participants will not be engaging with each other in the same 15 minute time box.

12:48 pm January 17, 2014

I had an issue with time zones on a previous project. We did our best to find 15 minutes that worked for everyone - usually early morning for the US (folks often took the call form home, which was fine). For longer meetings, like sprint planning, we rotated who was "inconvenienced" - ie. early morning for the US on time, late night for the US next time, etc. We planned the days/times ahead and kept rotation going, so people who met really late their time knew they would be meeting at a more convenient time next time. It was announced way ahead (so people could make arrangements for their personal life, and very fair, so everyone was on board with it, and it worked well.