Offshoring Agile Projects - Myth, lies and Facts

Offshoring in an agile environment (especially with Indian IT organisation) is always a hot topic within agile communities. You will often find people talk about challenges rather than opportunities with offshoring agile projects e.g.

  • communication challenge,
  • lack of focus on quality,
  • rigid offshore organisation environment,
  • lack of agile practice knowledge,
  • lack of trust etc.

Although these constraint-cum-challenges often directly linked to offshoring but it can exists in a non-offshore environment as well. For example, to see how you can work effectively with distributed teams you don't need run a project in offshore environment, just split your teams and ask them to sit on a different floor without seeing each other face to face and all these so called offshore challenges will appear in an onsite environment as well.

So lets understand various Myths, lies and facts about offshoring agile project and understand key ingredients to make it successful.

 
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Outline/structure of the Session

Agile projects are agile projects; there shouldn't be much (fundamental) differences the way you should run agile projects irrespective of collocated or offshore/distributed team. You might need some tweaks with your approach due to time zone difference but not much beyond that. So let's see what Myth, lies and factos are popular in agile offshoring space.

Myth & lies

1. Agile and Offshore is a big NO

2. You need more control over Offshore teams as you can't see them. So you need a layer of management to control those teams

3. Indian teams at offshore will always say Yes but never deliver on time

4. Responsibility of offshore teams is offshore organisation responsibility.

5. Offshore teams don't think much about quality so put strict SLAs in contract.

6. You need more documents in agile projects if you are offshoring

etc.. These are just few myths and lies that people often talk about in agile offshore environment but there are many that are contextual driven.

So no wonder offshoring agile projects often seen a complicated situation? We shall be exploring following challenges from Customer and Offshoring organisation perspective in an agile environment

  1. People
  2. Trust
  3. Transparency
  4. Commitment
  5. Culture
  6. Communication

Although these challenges are common in terminology but Customer and Offshore IT organisation reacts to these differently and that’s often the biggest bottleneck in executing successful IT projects. Lets consider Trust, when a Customer engage an offshore IT organisation, most of the time they don’t trust them much so they focus on writing rigid SLA based contracts that later become the biggest bottleneck in execution of agile projects. So an offshore IT organisation executing an agile projects with rigid SLA based contract will focus more on meeting those SLA even though many of those SLA might not be adding much business value to Customer’s product. But if the same Customer creates an environment of Trust and keep SLA open ended and regularly reviews them with offshore IT organisation to see if they are still valid, creates a totally transparent environment where both sides are looking towards adding value to the product rather than fighting over SLAs.

So we shall be discussing these topics in detail and also looking how an offshore agile project should be setup keeping these challenges in mind.

Learning Outcome

Key outcome of this session is to learn how to focus on following topics to create high performing agile environment in an offshore setup.

  1. People - Take care of people and people will take care of your project.
    1. Motivating them with continuous appreciation and celebrating small wins.
    2. Providing them Safe and Positive Environment
    3. Empower them by providing appropriate mentoring and coaching
    4. Spot and Nurture the talent by working jointly
  2. Creating an environment of Trust and Transparency
  3. Learn and emphasise Culture on both side
  4. Communicate, communicate and over communicate
  5. Commitment from both side is the key to a successful agile project in an offshore environment

Target Audience

Agile Coaches, Programme Director/Manager, CIO, CEO, VPs, Scrum Masters

schedule Submitted 3 years ago

Comments Subscribe to Comments

comment Comment on this Proposal
  • Ravi Kumar
    By Ravi Kumar  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Dinesh,

    90 min for a talk is tool long in my personal opinion and might also deter away the audience. I would list all of the myths, lies but take the top 2-3 and elaborate/share your experience in overcoming those.

    My suggestion would be to relook into the proposal and tune it to a 45 min topic by focusing on 3-4 myths/lies. 

     

    Thanks and regards,

    Ravi

    • Dinesh Sharma
      By Dinesh Sharma  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Hi Ravi,

      I think it's a good suggestion. I think 60 min would have been ideal but as there is no 60 minute slot I will try to limit my session to 45 minutes.

       

      Thanks,

      Dinesh

  • Raja Bavani
    By Raja Bavani  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Dear Dinesh,

    Thanks for submitting this proposal.  From your proposal I understand that you are going to present a list of mythis, lies, and facts. Is there a blog post or link or slidedeck on this topic? Please update your proposal with a list of key myths, lies and facts (about 3 to 4 in each)?  Also, pl structure the process section do show us the flow or list of topics/sub-topics.   For this you can see http://confengine.com/proposal/1  - This is a sample proposal.    By doing these, you are going to improve the clarity of the proposal and help the reviewers and programme committee.   Also, we will understand why this talk requires 90 minutes and why not 45 minutes?  Please update the proposal. 

    Regards,

    Raja

    • Dinesh Sharma
      By Dinesh Sharma  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Dear Raja,

      Thanks for valuable time to review my proposal. Regarding Blog or slides, No, I don't have any blog (I don't blog much to be honest) or slidedeck yet for this talk. But I have enough experience working with offshore team from both customer side as well as Offshore organisation. I have seen both side of the arguments and have setup (and also failed) offshore teams (from 2 team to 20 teams). The whole topic is based on my own experience and talking/working/arguing/coaching  other agile coaches, development directors, development managers, QA Managers etc.

      I have updated my proposal with some Myts and Lies.

      Now, regarding time, I don't think this can be cover in 45 minutes as I have burnt my hands in past where I have been conservative about my talk and have to rush later on as I want it to be quite interactive session. I see my talk should take time like

      1. Introduction - 5 minutes

      2. Myths, lies and facts - 30 minutes

      3. Overcoming challenges - 30 minutes

      4. Q&A - 15 minutes

      So I have a contingency of 10 minutes in it.

      Thanks,

      Dinesh

  • Sudipta Lahiri
    By Sudipta Lahiri  ~  3 years ago
    reply Reply

    Hi Dinesh,

    Will you be covering the "how to overcome the challenge/constraint" for the challanges/constraints that you identify?

    Regards

    Sudipta.

    • Dinesh Sharma
      By Dinesh Sharma  ~  3 years ago
      reply Reply

      Dear Sudipta,

      Yes indeed and that what I mentioned in my process as well "So we shall be discussing these topics in detail and also looking how an offshore agile project should be setup keeping these challenges in mind.". Also, learning outcome also cover the way to overcome challenges/constraints as well. The whole talk is creating environment of following agile/lean principle and values. Also, focusing on people side of it and creating a partnership (joint stakeholders) rather than customer/supplier relationship.

       

      Thanks,

      Dinesh


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