Erin Chapman, Tektronix
Multinational teams are becoming the standard as companies compete globally. We hear stories of US-based teams who prefer Agile development practices but who encounter growing pains, including cultural and time zone differences, when they add overseas contributors.
Engineering teams want to collaborate and work well together regardless of how they may be distributed. This case study delves into the problems we experienced on one team spread across two continents (in United States and India). To bridge the differences and solve these problems, we had to take the time to really communicate with one another about how each site interpreted Agile concepts, what they saw as the main obstacles to development, and how we could best solve problems without sacrificing our priorities.
The solution was not for the team members at one site to issue a process to the entire team; instead we collaboratively reached a solution that ensured communication between sites, decreased turnaround time, improved quality, and received buy-in from the whole engineering team. Some of the practices we have put into place could assist other teams in being successful working across development sites.
In the end, we found that Agile development can work internationally if the process has enough structure, team knowledge is made more explicit, and everyone’s voice is heard.
Target audience: Intermediate