Using Agile with Large, Geographically Dispersed Development Teams

Abstract

It seems like everyone wants to scale their agile teams. The Agile approach to software development needs to scale up to larger team sizes as projects grow in scope. Agile also needs to scale out to handle geographically distributed teams. Both are challenging propositions for many teams. I talk about my experiences at Microsoft; scaling agile up on the Visual Studio Tools for Office team and scaling out on the radically distributed teams within the patterns & practices group.


Biography

Ade Miller is currently the Development Manager for Microsoft’s patterns & practices group (p&p) where he manages several agile teams executing on a variety of projects. He also lead the development of the p&p Web Services Software Factory: Modeling Edition. Before joining p&p Ade was a developer and then a Development Lead on Visual Studio Tools for Office 2005 and 2008 during Visual Studio’s transition to a more agile approach. Prior to joining Microsoft Ade worked in a variety of development environments including start-ups, consultancy and web publishing. His primary interest is in improving the way people develop software. He spends much of his time trying to figure out what being “agile” really means. Ade is a regular speaker on these topics, he also blogs and writes about his experiences. Ade received his BSc and PhD in Physics from the University of Southampton, UK.

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  • A former member
    A former member

    February 25, 2010

  • Jeff Mounce

    It is always beneficial to see how the big guys on the block tackle the tough challenges of software engineering so we smaller guys can learn from them and bring the best practices back to our place.

    February 24, 2010

  • Maja Gruszynski

    This presentation was very informative. I like the fact that Ade tailored the development process to fit his specific circumstances rather than religiously following Agile practices.

    February 23, 2010

  • Rick Carnal

    Globally diversified teams require senior management support and flexibility to be most productive over time. Keeping the team(s) together across multiple projects is paramount to maximum effectiveness. Active team participation and developing relationships beyond project interests make team members more effective contributors. A three to ten-fold reduction in "bug debt" can be realized by segmenting product features into small groups and pushing out only "working" unit tested code. Be careful to look at participation from another's point of view when evaluating team members.

    February 23, 2010

  • Marko Gargenta

    It was great to see how such a large organization as Microsoft is using Agile with 1000s of developers all over the world. It's also interesting that just 5-6 years ago, there was almost no Agile at Microsoft. Wonderful talk by Ade Miller!

    February 23, 2010

  • Steve Bockman

    It was good to see some real data and to hear first-hand about how Agile works in large and/or distributed teams.

    February 23, 2010

  • Michael Lawrence

    Started a half hour late with no feedback from the moderator as to why we were just sitting there. The speaker, Ade, was very good - he took feedback from the audience and tailored his presentation to meet the interest of the people attending.

    February 23, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Very good presentor, very relevant and useful information. Thanks!

    February 23, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Great event! Concrete examples of how to reap the benefits of Agile while making the necessary occasional non-Agile compromises to deal with messy real world issues. Lots of specific supporting details (bug count reductions etc.). Fantastic!

    February 23, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Speaker had a very good presentation. Discussed organizational methodologies used in development of Visual Studio 2008 in a way that was engaging and understandable. Handled questions from attendees very well.

    February 22, 2010

  • Michael Lim

    The project that Ade presented on was indeed a very large and geographically dispersed. A very good example on issues and challenges involved. Learned a great deal from it.

    February 22, 2010

  • Geo

    Awesome meeting: informative, engaging speaker, lots of audience participation. Time flew by!

    February 22, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Lot of ground to cover. Interesting insights into how a truly huge team does things. We all solve many of the same problems.

    February 22, 2010

  • Jeff Mounce

    Fun talk.

    February 22, 2010

  • Robert Blumen

    Speaker was very experienced in this area and well-prepared.

    February 22, 2010

  • A former member
    A former member

    Sorry I had to leave early, this was a fantasitc meeting!

    February 22, 2010

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