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Integrating a small team to a large team that does not practice Agile

Last post 07:31 pm December 22, 2022 by Daniel Wilhite
3 replies
03:52 pm December 22, 2022

Hi:  I recently joined a group in a large company.  The group is an acquisition for the large company and the main engineering staff is located overseas.  I have been tasked with creating an engineering team in the US.  We are a separate team yet we will be relying on the team overseas for guidance.  The overseas team does not practice Agile.  They have Kanban boards but they are more of a queue vverses a prioritized list of work items.  I want to integrate with them and we need to align with them.  Any thoughts how to integrate with them?

06:06 pm December 22, 2022

Do you have a shared product you are working on, and hence a clear need to integrate?

If so, do you have a jointly agreed Definition of Done for that product?

07:19 pm December 22, 2022

You say that the overseas team doesn't practice agile, but they have Kanban boards and an ordered queue of work. Why do you think that they need a prioritized list of work items instead of an ordered queue of work? What, exactly, does practicing agile look like to you?

Ian's questions are also important. What is the nature of the integration between these teams? Are they working on a single product? Is the output of one team consumed by another team? Understanding the nature of the work is important to understand at what level practices need to be at least synchronized, if not integrated.

07:31 pm December 22, 2022

I second @Thomas' question of what does practicing agile look like to you?   Is the overseas team able to adapt quickly to changes?  Are they consistently delivering incremental value to the stakeholders?  If so, I'd say that they are somewhat agile. 

You don't say how the two teams are integrated other than "we will be relying on the team overseas for guidance".  Guidance on what?  If the two teams will be working on different products, then I don't see an integration. If the offshore team is passing a product to the onshore team, then there could be some form of collaboration but I still don't see an integration.  If the two teams will be working on the same product, there could be integration needs.  But that all depends on how the work is refined and split across the two teams.  I have worked with two teams that work on the same product but each team works on different initiatives and the product backlog items are refined so that they are not dependent on each other.  

I want to integrate with them and we need to align with them.  Any thoughts how to integrate with them?

My thoughts on how to integrate is not to do it unless absolutely necessary.  Alignment can happen with communication and does not require integration.  Decide which of those is necessary and pursue that.  Work with your product management org to determine if there are distinct products or only one.  That will help to define whether integration is needed. 

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