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Agile working remote

Bruno Grossi
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 08, 2004
Posts: 3
Hi Johanna Rothman and all!

I'm starting a new project working remotely. How can I use agile tecniques like pair programming and broadband communication (and others) in an distributed team?

Thanks,
Bruno Grossi
Johanna Rothman
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2005
Posts: 56
Bruno,

If you have a new remote team, who's never used any agile approaches, I would not start with pair programming. Pairing requires trust, and it's really hard to build trust with people you don't know. I would offer pairing as an option, but not demand it.

Here's what I would do:
- explain that we need this project to be highly adaptable, so we're going to use as many of the agile approaches as possible
- develop a ranked product backlog (rank by value)
- have people who are together in whatever geographical area do the development and testing together of items in the backlog
- use a short-enough timebox to see how things are going and get feedback early.
- ask people to consider TDD as a way to build quality into the product

If you're the project manager, you need to be as flexible as possible about *how* people work, and stay focused on the results you want.

Good luck with it,
Johanna


Author of <a href="http://www.pragprog.com/titles/jrpm" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Manage It! Your Guide to Modern, Pragmatic Project Management</a><br /> <br />Coauthor (with Esther Derby) of <a href="http://www.pragprog.com/titles/rdbcd" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management</a><br /> <br />Author of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/0932633595/ref=jranch-20" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Hiring The Best Knowledge Workers, Techies & Nerds: The Secrets & Science of Hiring Technical People</a><br /> <br /><a href="http://www.jrothman.com/blog/htp" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Hiring Technical People blog</a><br /><a href="http://www.jrothman.com/blog/mpd" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Managing Product Development blog</a>
Bruno Grossi
Greenhorn

Joined: Mar 08, 2004
Posts: 3
Thanks for the tips!

I have experiency developing with Scrum, but other developers don�t. As a main team developer (some kind of Scrum Master, but not a Project Management), I�ll try to use Scrum as more as possible.

Really, pairing will not be my priority, and I will try to use your recommendations.

In your book, your focus is on some specific agile methodology?


Thanks,
Bruno
Johanna Rothman
author
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 10, 2005
Posts: 56
Originally posted by Bruno Grossi:
Thanks for the tips!

In your book, your focus is on some specific agile methodology?


Thanks,
Bruno


Nope, I tend towards Scrum when I manage projects, but the Agile life cycles all have their own pros and cons. I like the structure of Scrum, which gives me the flexibility each project demands inside a structure that works for me.

Johanna
Marilyn de Queiroz
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 22, 2000
Posts: 9043
    
  10
I'm currently working remotely. When I started, I was introduced to the project mostly via phone and netmeeting. We also have IM as well as email. We don't normally do much pairing, but we do communicate a lot even though we don't see each other face to face every day.

One thing that helps is that we are mostly in the same area of the world ... so we don't have too much problem with timezones that are 12 hours apart (although it can be a challenge to schedule a meeting between California and England).

When we do have occasion to pair, I've used netmeeting and VPN. Both work pretty well as long as you are on the phone at the same time.

Meetings are usually held by phone, frequently using an 800 number.


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Ilja Preuss
author
Sheriff

Joined: Jul 11, 2001
Posts: 14112
This is a cool idea: http://news.therecord.com/Business/article/236315


The soul is dyed the color of its thoughts. Think only on those things that are in line with your principles and can bear the light of day. The content of your character is your choice. Day by day, what you do is who you become. Your integrity is your destiny - it is the light that guides your way. - Heraclitus
Jeanne Boyarsky
internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 29249
    
139

I agree with the above about not starting with everything at once.

We've had good experiences having remote people and a daily standup. In fact, I think the value is greater with the remote people. There's more resistance to picking up the phone to mention something that shout across the cube wall. And more importantly, this gives the remote people a chance to hear what's going on since they certainly can't hear what is being shouted across cube walls!


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Jeanne Boyarsky
internet detective
Marshal

Joined: May 26, 2003
Posts: 29249
    
139

Originally posted by Ilja Preuss:
This is a cool idea: http://news.therecord.com/Business/article/236315

Or if you don't want to make one, irobot (the makers of roomba) sell something with the same idea!
Ralph Miner
Greenhorn

Joined: Nov 21, 2007
Posts: 2
When I asked my team which does remote development if we were to switch to a new methodology instead of agile/scrum which one principle would they want to make sure gets carried over they identified test driven development and the daily scrum meeting. They indicated as a remote development team that implementing the daily scrum meeting improved communication and made it easier to get the information that they needed and to provide the information that was required.
 
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