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Scrum Development in Modern Offshore

Source: Original Japanese Version here


Introduction.

I am a PO at a large Japanese company, doing Scrum development in a modern offshore environment. We are also working on a Scrum improvement project in parallel, and I will introduce various efforts we have made so far. This time, I'd like to talk about the team structure.

What is Modern Offshore?

I first learned about the term "Modern Offshore" from an article by Mr. Fujimura of Class Method Corporation. I learned a lot from it, so I'd like to introduce it here (I had dinner with Mr. Fujimura on 12/21/2021).


Current team structure

The Scrum team is essentially complete in the offshore company.


PO

  • Conduct interviews with stakeholders, compile plans and requirements, and create a backlog items

Proxy PO

  • Explain not only the specs but also the value to the development team on behalf of the PO.

  • Of course, there are times when the PO directly informs and consults with the development team members.


BrSE

  • Propose suggestions and questions from the development team to the PO (proxy PO).

SM

  • Concurrently working with BrSE. But as the development team grows, reliance on SM is low

  • It is excellent when scrum teams that are less dependent on SM. The key to this is that the PO and the development team have an agile mindset and are able to actually act on it.

Scrum Team

  • The team consists of two offshore companies, but through retrospectives and other means, they are able to work well together as the development team grows.

  • They mainly work remotely, but don't have any particular problems.

How it started

What was the original structure of the team?


  • Even though we had two products, we were one big scrum team. The downside is as you can imagine.

  • We needed to create a small scrum team based on the scrum guidelines

  • So, using the Scrum@Scale framework, we separated the Scrum team into two

    • About 1.5 months from the start of preparation to separation

    • It will take about a month and a half (3 sprints for 2 weeks) to stabilize further.


Main adjustments made.

  • Meticulous planning was done with SM (SoSM) in Tokyo

    • Organized the issues and clarified the goals (using user story mapping).



  • All teams were interviewed individually in advance.

    • There were some concerns raised, but we had some workarounds. And we actually activated them.

    • Individual interviews were conducted even after the team was separated.

  • Isolated the backlog.

  • It was a two-week sprint, with each team doing a scrum event (review, retrospective, planning) for each sprint on the same day every other week to avoid overlap.

  • Allowing members from other scrum teams to be assigned on a spot basis due to their skill sets and dependencies.

    • Currently, most of the work is completed within the scrum team.

  • Make sure to keep regular technical meetings so that the two scrum teams can meet face to face.

My Thoughts

  • The development team was able to reduce wasted time, which resulted in increased velocity.

  • The development team in Vietnam has achieved results that are comparable to those in Tokyo.

  • The Japanese clients probably no longer feel that they are using an offshore company, and they are expecting high results as one scrum team, without any unnecessary worries.

  • We believe that with a clear and lean backlog, proper processes, and an agile mindset, we can consistently produce high results in any field, domestic or offshore!!

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