2 Geographies, 3 Development Centers, 85 Engineers and One Common Goal
Posted by Kartik Matmari, Senior Project Manager, Infosys
I manage a services delivery program for a large software manufacturer in the world where we have 85 Engineers and managers, 3 different development centers spread across India and the United States. We use a perfect AGILE engineering model to deliver critical business functionality for the platform that is responsible for 95% of the client's revenue.
CIOs and IT Decision makers at global corporations continue to express their skepticism on the efficacy of an Agile engineering model involving multiple geographies, multiple time zones, different set of people from different cultures, multiple development centers etc.
I have been often approached by my colleagues from different accounts in Infosys to discuss the details of my program, how it's different from theirs and how we can adopt best-practices if any. I also got the opportunity to discuss the success of global agile delivery with the directors of a large US Retail giant who were skeptic about outsourcing work to Indian locations because they believed that Agile engineering model would not work in an Onsite-Offshore setup. My discussion with them was very positive and most of their myths were cleared and also influenced their IT decision in favor of a global delivery.
The most common arguments by CIOs/Directors/IT Decision makers against a global agile delivery model are:
"All members should be at the same location for Scrum to be successful"
"Different locations means lack of involvement of team members"
"X-Geo Scrum is not truly agile"
"Onsite Teams more productive than offshore teams"
I am sharing some of the most common points of discussion about global agile through some images and diagrammatical representation
The Need for a X-Geo Delivery
Huge Cost Savings and Time Advantages (Follow-the-Sun) were the key drivers for adopting a X-Geo delivery by the customer.
High attrition and resource availability and loyalty at onsite location was a big challenge.
Customer did not prefer subcontractors due to various issues (Loyalty / NDAs / IP Issues / Accountability / Governance etc.)
Customer wanted to effectively leverage their own offshore captive development center in India.
Customer wanted a need-based ramp-up and ramp-down of resources via a strategic partner (Infosys)
Customer wanted to reap the benefits of having a resources available with cross-functional skills (Different Applications, Dev, Test, Build Engineering, Performance Testing)
How Infosys did it?
Challenges in SCRUM adoption
A bi-weekly syncup of all scrum masters of various crews led by the release management team.
Above have been some of the critical elements of a geographically distributed Agile delivery model. Every program comes with a unique set of challenges and we cannot have a "one-size-fits-all" approach. However, some of the practices as mentioned above can be definitely considered in all programs dealing with similar challenges.