Transitioning a Co-located Scrum Team: Lessons Learned

PMI Houston Chapter

Sally is an experienced project manager who works in the Oil & Gas Industry. She has worked on global change management projects, global implementation projects, software development projects and a building-and-data center renovation project.

In 2016, the corporate strategy for our year entailed doing a transition from a co-located team in the United States to a distributed team also in India to reduce cost. When we started, we worked in a productive, co-located agile scrum team in the States. The main risk for the project was losing velocity for si to 12 months while we brought new team members up to speed.

It has been about two years since the team started the process with team members distributed around the world, and I wanted to share my lessons learned…

1. Continuously refine your interview process until you can staff candidates successfully. It took a while to perfect the recruiting technique to add the right members to the team. Some of the lessons I learned through the recruiting process were:

  • My team and I had to continue to refine the interview questions for the first interview to weed out the non-contenders. We found that giving the potential candidates real-life problems that we were trying to solve in our current sprint gave a good indication of how the candidate would proceed if he/she were on the team.
  • Always use video conference with candidates to have that first face-to-face contact. It sets a precedent that we are a connected, distributed team.
  • The ability to communicate in the business language (English) is very important to the team since some of the team is still in the …

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