Agile

An Introduction To Distributed Agile Development

An Introduction To Distributed Agile Development

You must have been practicing agile principles from a long time ago, but as your business grows, you need to expand it with larger teams and deal with larger projects at remote locations. Is this enough to boost your business revenues and future growth?

Let’s see how we help you with that.

The pandemic has abruptly changed the way businesses work, or you can say the future work. Here arises the remote working as a new normal. Almost all business leaders running big or small companies have adapted to this significant change and evolve new ways of working with emerging remote teams.

The present modern software development is all about being agile and distributed. Agile simply means teamwork and collaboration of teams working at the exact physical location, whereas distributed is remote teams working from different locations.

Distributed agile software development or teams is a new concept. Emerging entrepreneurs implementing agile principles in a distributed environment come across a lot of challenges. But by making smart and best-fit approaches, distributed teams can easily and quickly tackle these effectively.

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Defining Distributed Agile Development/Teams

Agile development is all about how remote teams work, collaborate, engage with client feedback while following agile practices.

Practicing Agile methodology is a culture, not a set of guidelines or rules. It revolves around exploring business requirements, developing innovative solutions, faster and continuous delivery via team collaboration and communication.

Distributed development is all about planning, developing, and testing software products with distributed teams scattered worldwide. Here the remote teams work collaboratively on multiple projects from all corners of the world.

On the other hand, distributed teams are professionals working from two or more geographical solutions. Here the team has their own separate physical space and works collaboratively to develop a top-notch product and run the process effectively.

Benefits Of Distributed Agile Teams

Businesses today have gained countless benefits from managing distributed agile teams. Let’s explore some of them: 

Product Quality Enhancement

Agile teams focus entirely on developing top-notch and robust products in a distributed agile environment by dividing the whole project into small sprints. The continuous development and testing of each iteration facilitate agile teams to create high-performing and engaging solutions.

Access To Global Talent

Distributed agile development is the byproduct of the pool of talented professionals from all over the world. The expert developers from all corners of the globe bring diverse talent together to develop a robust product.

marketersCost-Effective

The developer’s rate and salaries of developers vary according to their geographical areas. For instance, the average hourly rate of developers in the U.S is between $30-$50, and in America, it is between $20-$40; in Europe, it is $25-$50. You can hire a skilled and competent professional to scale your product development.

Predefined Delivery Time

In an agile distributed environment, remote teams have predefined sprints, product features, and functionalities and let teams perform beta testing before the product launch. It helps them improve product quality and boost business values.

Transparent Involvement Of the Client

End-Customers or clients can stay connected with the developers and provide their opinions and feedback in software development. They play a significant role in prioritizing features and functionalities, from sprint planning to review sessions to testing. Everything from top to bottom is under their control.

Improved Productivity

There is always less chance of losing skilled and competent professionals when working in a distributed agile environment. The remote members working in distributed agile environments often perform better, take fewer sick leaves, and get the job done at the earliest.

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How To Manage Distributed Agile Teams?

Managing distributed remote agile teams seems challenging and tricky. But when applying agile principles smartly and efficiently, you can easily manage them without any hindrance. Let’s see how you can do it.

Agile Team Size And Team Roles

Implementing agile methodology in distributed teams helps businesses achieve the maximum throughput from the time and cost they invest in agile distributed development. All they need to understand is their respective roles before starting the development process.

It is advisable to set up a professional agile team of 3-9 developers. Keep team size small so that each member can communicate easily and swiftly.

Moreover, they also face challenges of having different time zones and cultural differences while working in a distributed environment. To make the communication seamless and smooth, keep the distributed team size small.

When it comes to team roles, you should allot tasks or functions more or less evenly according to different countries or origins in which you operate. Placing all your developers in one place is not a good suggestion. If any mishappen or any external circumstances occurs at a specific location, you may lose the entire line of work.

Teamwork And Collaboration

It is one of the most critical factors to be taken into consideration when managing distributed agile team. Agile teams, while working remotely, should focus more on communicating and collaborating while each other during the entire development process. All you need to ensure that you are using the right set of tools, technologies, and practices to make the communication process seamless.

Try using various remote and communication tools for instant messaging, video conferencing, and emails to make communication between distributed teams more accessible and faster. Conduct regular team meetings, conferences, scrums to allot tasks and daily work processes.

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Make sure you give space to every member to communicate and discuss issues without any hesitation.    It gives them the flexibility and freedom to shared their views and opinions.

A remote environment helps the team build a different team culture and provides a greater sense of working. The cross-cultural remote teams must have a clear shared vision and a common goal they want to achieve collectively.

The entire agile distributed development process lets the remote teams adapt and learn new ways of working in a distributed agile environment.

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Building Great Product Backlog

You might often face this issue while remote working with a blocker that pauses the developer’s work and lets other members wait until the problem gets resolved. It will consume a lot of time of developers.

 To eliminate or avoid such issues, you should start planning a product backlog for tomorrow. It helps them reduce dependencies on other team members and achieve greater efficiency and productivity. Agile teams need to have a high-quality product backlog describing what they will develop. The remote teams must have a clear understanding of creating and managing a significant product backlog.

It will take their extra time and efforts during sprint planning to review the product vision or roadmap. Also, after creating the product backlog, you should ensure to have regularly scheduled backlog, compulsory backlog refinement meetings. It’s the prime responsibility of the team members to attend meetings actively to participate in agile backlog grooming sessions.

Holding meetings is not enough. You also need to use tools to engage your team during backlog sessions. The backlog refinement process is a long process to go ahead.

Right Set Of Tools For Distributed Teams

Managing remote teams is never an easy cakewalk. And too, in a distributed agile environment, it’s a bit harder than what you expect. You will come across a myriad of challenges related to communication, process, development, and so on.

But to make the distributed development process smooth, you need to make use of a proper set of communication and collaboration tools used by remote members. Try using the Github platform for code building and review, Google Drive for managing project documentation. Moreover, you can have a comprehensive package with enhanced functionality using Microsoft SharePoint for more detailed documentation.

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Use messaging and communication tools such as Slack and Skype for daily scrums and communication purposes.

Remote agile teams have a lot to contribute to having the right path and practices to follow to achieve maximum output.

Low Code Development

Low code development benefits remote teams in multiple ways. Most developers often think that development with low cost is much faster than high code. It is the reason agile teams have to work collaboratively and fast to keep pace. Low code platforms usually encourage and facilitate collaboration and make it easier for technical and non-technical teams to work remotely. 

When testing teams analyze and resolve defects and get them to validate in real-time, low code development often helps them settle and republish defects. It thus boosts efficiency and growth.

1-Sep-03-2021-07-29-47-42-AMPopular Tools For Managing Distributed Agile Teams

Remote working is the latest trend now, and it’s not going to leave you anytime soon. The evolution of remote development has entirely changed the software development world with the rapid emergence of remote teams. Businesses today are swiftly using remote collaboration and project management tools that facilitate managing remote and distributed teams’ work easier and faster.

Let’s explore some popular tools used for managing distributed agile teams.

1. Jira

It is the most popular and easy-to-use tool designed to manage and fulfill their agile project management needs. Distributed agile teams commonly used these tools to plan, manage, and track everything a software development project needs.

This remote tool, Jira, helps you personalize your business workflow with effective team workflow. It helps them release the quality software product within a specific time. Here we have listed the key features of Jira:

  • Custom fields
  • Customizable Scrum Boards
  • Customizable Kanban sheets
  •  Tool integration
  • Bug tracking

2. GitLab

Another popular and commonly used cloud-based DevOps known as GitLab assists organizations in enhancing their business operations and acts as a powerful tool used in agile project management.

It helps distributed agile teams to perform fast software delivery and also mitigate the risks involved. Also, it increases the developer’s efficiency and productivity with reduced cost. Here it is entirely listed significant down some key features helping agile teams to work efficiently.

  • Kanban boards
  • Workflow management
  • Remote collaborative tools
  •  Portfolio management
  • Analytics and reporting feature

3. Github

All developers out there must have used Github once in their lifetime. It is one of the most popular and effective tools used while distributed agile development. It includes features like

CI/CD, advanced coding, and security. The project management features this platform holds let distributed teams reduce overheads. Let’s have a glimpse of some vital GitHub features that include:

  • Team management

  • Codespaces

  • Project management

  • Enterprise security

  • Product roadmap

  • Notifications

4. G-Suite

This remote collaboration tool needs no description at all. It is one of the most utilized tools during remote working. Every person involved in software development, developers, writers, testers, designers, almost all have worked at least once with Google Docs, Sheets, presentation, and so on.

G-Suite helps documents get shared in real-time between the remote members and makes updations easier and faster if required.

Although everyone in the development field used this suite, it is specifically beneficial to the marketing and content team. Here everyone can easily access the files shared and docs present on the cloud.

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Agile Methodology+Distributed Teams=Is It Possible To Collaborate These Two?

Be it is about implementing agile or engaging in distributed development, both the practices are not new.

We have used them individually earlier also. But what about the union of these two.

Sounds interesting! 

Well, agile and distributed teams have specific differences that make their merging quite tricky sometimes. While in agile, development teams must work together regularly throughout the entire development process, whereas there is no such possibility in the distributed environment.

Agile practices prioritize regular face-to-face meetings in which scrums, sprint planning, and backlog upgrading. On the other hand, remote teams get less or even no chance to meet each other in distributed development.

So, what do you think about these two practices? Can they co-exist with each other?

The answer is simply yes. The popular and widely used agile methodology can also apply its principles to remote teams. Here, you follow the agile manifesto principles and focus on minimizing the after-effects of remote working effectively.

Let’s have a quick check on how teams can implement agile in a distributed way.

Considering agile first-

Agile is all about dealing with project management tasks that include the following characteristics:

  • Multiple software development project teams focussed on accomplishing one goal.
  • Daily scrums and meetings about the regular tasks with teams
  • Requires elimination of communication gaps within any team
  • Agile teams from specific locations
  • Sprint planning 

Coming to Distributed Development-It is completely different from the previous one.

  • The distributed technique is usually for developing large projects
  • Access to a larger pool of talented professionals
  • Minimize or optimize the development cost
  • Flexible time availability

Businesses need to get their agile development distributed for all the teams working from different locations if they are adopting distributed agile development. You can set up distributed agile teams and consider factors like work synchronization, constant regular updates, continuous deliverables, regular software updates, testing frameworks, quality assurance, and so on. All this you need to ensure to make distributed agile software development successful.

remoteffQuick Tips To Make Your Distributed Agile Teams Work

Distributed Software Development comes with countless benefits, including access to talented professionals, reduced development costs, teamwork, improved productivity, and many more.

But with the evolution of remote development, businesses are now only left with managing remote teams the agile way for improved productivity and efficiency.

Here we present you some quick tips that can help you manage distributed agile teams effectively:

1. Allocating Business Tasks Equally

When managing distributed agile teams, you have to allocate the work evenly to remote teams located at different locations. The tasks assigned entirely can be more or less depending on the individual’s competency and expertise. If you have outsourced your design and development to an outsourcing provider, you have to plan tasks smartly for the in-house team and other remote members to execute.

2. Better Invest In Top Remote And Communication Tools For Better Collaboration

One of the essential vital factors while doing remote work is effective communication and collaboration between teams. Teams working in different locations have to collaborate to serve a common purpose or accomplish a specific goal. They have foster agile values and principles while working in different zones. You should conduct daily standups, meetings, planning sessions to keep them communicating and collaborating.

3. Regular Project Status Reports

Lack of understanding of clear goals is one of the significant challenges remote teams often face in a distributed environments. Distributed teams can not underestimate or ignore project status visibility.

As a reporting manager, you need to ensure that project status reports are to be uploaded regularly. Use agile project management tools like Jira to track your project progress.

4. Consider Outsourcing Agile Teams

Outsourcing is one of the best options you can choose today for better productivity and business growth.

Having a skilled, agile team is required for agile transformation. A lot of investment and time is needed to provide training to agile teams and boost their morale.

Outsourcing helps you in managing all this. It allows you to manage your resources well. A skilled and experienced remote team adds value to your business as they have rich expertise in that.

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5. Analyse Code Quality

Agile leaders need to measure the code quality delivered by the remote teams. It’s often hard to measure the code quality and project progress. In this case, all that suffers is the quality of the code. They cannot ensure stability; due to this, it might halt the working of the rest of the team.

To avoid this, you need to make sure to use it.

  • Integration tools that provide build automation and continuous tracking of project quality.
  • Testing bugs regularly.
  • Implement pair programming to improve code quality.

costfPutting It All Together

Remote working is the persistent reality today. For agile teams, adapting to this change is quite challenging, but it is the need of the hour for them. They can gain significant benefits from both of them and ensures their success in software development.

We can be your agile distributed partner with a skilled scrum team that delivers you top-notch product development and improves your agile team performance.

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Topics : Agile



Kanika Gupta

Written by Kanika Gupta

Kanika Gupta, a professional tech writer works as a content writer in Classic Informatics, a leading web development company. She loves to write master tech pieces and let readers connect with them fluently.

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