Colocated vs Distributed Teams


When we first start to learn about Scrum, we learn that face to face communication is the best way for humans to communicate (as opposed to paper requirements being thrown over a wall).

However, more and more clients are asking for some form of ‘Scaled out Agile’ or ‘Distributed Agile’ approach. What does this mean for ‘Pure’ Scrum as we know it?

I am not sure

What I am sure of is that increasingly we need to look beyond the walls of our own insular community for thought leadership on the areas that we increasingly find ourselves moving into: Human Performance, Organizational Change Management and Transformation, Lean Operations and Strategy.

I was talking to a client who wanted to embark upon the path to Agility, but has a massively distributed team (all in North America) and no travel budget.

My gut told me to say “Sorry, no travel budget, no Agile… its’ a lot easier to teach and coach people in one place”. Yes, it is. It would have also been easy for me to walk away from a potential engagement, but just like every engagement, it was an opportunity to learn. In other words, how could I challenge the conventional thought and find some nuggets of wisdom to share from this?

We will see. I am working with a virtual team, and I myself am virtual, travelling to the client site once every 2 weeks or so.

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