Imagine being an offshore developer

Imagine how it feels to be an offshore developer working on a critical project, only to be asked to become ‘more agile’.

Imagine the agile coach explaining that your participation in the client’s agile transformation was not optional. Because, of course, the offshore development team shouldn’t be different to anyone else.

Imagine working to tight deadlines whilst being a non-native English speaker, communicating electronically, having a physically distant client or product owner, and residing in a different time zone.

Imagine now receiving user stories that are ‘placeholders for conversations’ and having to work from ‘constant conversations’ with the customer.

I don’t want to imagine this any more. And I want to forget the times I’ve seen it happen.

Ignorantly adopting agile practices in situations like this is incredibly unhelpful, and sometimes harmful. What the developer actually needed was more granular detail and practical guidance, not less.

Over-specifying what should be built is fine, if that is what the team and the situation require. Just because the Scrum guide or Agile framework prescribes something doesn’t mean it needs to be followed.

Happy, productive development teams come in all shapes and sizes.

Frank Ray Consulting. Software requirements for agile development teams, particularly distributed, remote and offshore development teams working in financial services.

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