Agile when everyone is not in the same room
This question comes up all the time. How can we be agile when not everyone can participate in the daily stand-up. I’ve seen a variety of ways to solve this from the scrum-of-scrums approach to using video calls to more or less just stopping daily stand-up.
The thing is none of these actually work very well. Scrum-of-scrums winds up being a very large, expensive game of telephone. Some poor soul gets to represent the work of ten other people to a bunch of other people none of whom *really* know all the details. Video calls also fail to work well in my experience. Usually this means 10 minutes fiddling with the settings and connections, another 5 minutes getting an audio line set up as someone inevitably is home with the sick kids that day (and can *never* figure out how the mute button works).
The last method is what I see most organizations do. They move from a small cohesive team to to a jumble of random email aliases and chaos.
This is an important question as daily stand-up is difficult on different floors of a building let alone different buildings, nevermind being in different cities and timezones. I know of a few different things:
1. De-couple teams and make them independent. This works best for web projects, not as well when you have full-stack hardware/software projects where there truly *are* dependencies and you cannot assume them away.
2. Provide better tooling. It amazes me that many/most companies still rely on something as fragile and lossy as email. I’ve prototyped Slack and of course Basecamp; better than email. Yammer was also pretty good as long as people would actually use it.
3. Question the assumption that daily stand-up is a good thing. Why daily for instance? And why face-to-face?
I don’t know the answer to this so putting this out to my 12 faithful followers (most of which are ‘bots I believe).