Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Product Owners Caught in the Middle

In my Certified Scrum Product Owner class yesterday, the top question on people's minds - agile adoption. The PO's want to know what's expected of them because often it's IT or top leadership dictating (but not always leading) the agile efforts, not the product group. And Irvine, Anaheim or all Orange County is not that different from most of the US. We're in the Late Majority segment of adoptees and its just harder. 

Perhaps the Scrum Alliance needs a class on just adopting and scaling, like the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) or other proven patterns. In the meantime, I reply with "Its hard. It takes a long time. There's options. You'll needing coaching. And there are very, very few good coaches. Good luck to you."

Friday, November 01, 2013

The Unanswered Offshore Question, Pt 2

So, how do you know if your offshore team is as productive on onshore, and therefore saving money (as is typically the primary reason for offshoring)?

Work from one backlog (combine backlogs if working from more than one). Without specifying which team would do which story, have both onshore and offshore teams participate in sizing, or estimating, from one larger pool of user stories. You may do it together, or start by doing a few together and the rest separately. In the end, sample enough of the stories that both teams agree on how many story points various stories are.

At or before the planning meeting(s), randomize the stories or alternate each team getting whatever story is the next one pulled. At the end of the planning meeting, you'll have an estimated amount of work for each team, which gives you an idea. At the end of the sprint, you'll know for sure. Even with various issues (no product owner, newer/smaller/etc team), you'll have a number.

If you can't have both teams estimate and pull work without upfront planning or designating due to resource, knowledge, or other silos or barriers, I think you have other problems that Scrum will fix (if you want it and let it).

Thanks for all the great feedback from the first offshore post (and all the spam comments for offshoring ;-)