Distributed Scrum: A Day In The Life Of A Distributed Team

by Avienaash Shiralige

In my earlier post on “How to Address People and Communication Challenges on Distributed Scrum Teams” we discussed about importance of communication in building trust. Quality and Quantity of communication needs get amplified as soon your team gets distributed.

Distributed teams I have worked with have organized their schedule and overlapping hours some thing like below.

distributed scrum team communication between offshore and onshore team

Defining overlapping hours for teams to communicate becomes a dire need. Distributed stand-up between teams during those overlapping hours is a good way to bring both team on same page. High energy stand-up facing big screens will rub-off good vibes for a team starting their day other side.

As you see in the above picture, team that starts their day first, ends up doing stand-up twice.

  1. One local stand-up, which will define plan for the day and helps in local self-organization
  2. Distributed stand-up,  to let other team members know and hear from them on how we as a team are doing.  Important issues or changes are communicated which everyone on the team should be aware of. This helps self-organization at muti-team level
  3. This allows members of the other team to hear your impediments and offer suggestions.
  4. During distributed stand-up team could decide who would pair up for distributed pair programming on specific stories/tasks too.


distributed scrum team communication between offshore and onshore

[pullquote]During distributed stand-up, try alternate speaking between the sub-teams in order to reinforce the feeling of a single team.[/pullquote]

Doing stand-up twice on distributed teams, helps improve communication. Product Owner will get good complete overview of how teams are moving. It is worth to spend 15 minutes together in interest of building good distributed scrum team.

Hold cross-team technical discussions immediately after daily sync. This serves as a carry-over to the current synchronization conversation and it also avoids another session at a different time.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Vishal Bhalerao April 25, 2014 at 5:13 pm

Hi Avienaash,

What is the ‘Review’ block towards the end of the day India & start of the day for the distributed team?

Vishal Bhalerao.


Avienaash Shiralige April 30, 2014 at 11:21 am

Here review is any joint reviews you would like to do between teams like design/code or architecture. This is just one of the ways how you can use overlapping hours wisely. Some teams do distributed pair programming also during these hours.


Irene March 25, 2015 at 5:06 pm

Hi Avienaash,

My team has recently lost 2 resources that were based on my same office (London). The company has replaced them for two people who are based in Tennessee. Another member of the team is in Bangalore. So, we are four people: 2 are in Tennessee, 1 is in Bangalore and I am in London. I’m struggling to find a good way of hosting the standups… Would you be able to provide any advice on this?



Avienaash Shiralige April 12, 2015 at 11:14 pm

You can do stand-up in timezone overlap with a video for face-face conversation. For video you can use simple skype or hangout. Since it is distributed team, instead of physical scrum board, you can use Trello or Jira kind of tools for virtual scrum board.

Hope this helps.


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