We all know that being collocated is one of the keys to having a successful agile team, but in reality it’s not always possible. There are several ways to facilitate agile communication among agile teams within VersionOne when you cannot have the face-to-face conversations. Try one or several of these features to help improve the communication and delivery of your backlog:
• Boards – Within Sprint Tracking, the story board and task board are great ways the team can communicate to each other on where backlog items or tasks are in the overall process. During standup the team can view the Standup Dashboard report to give context to the individual team member commitment for the day and give a frame of reference for the team. The Summer ’11 release now allows you more filtering options, grouping of work (story board only), and color coding to further enhance the agile communication.
• Conversations – Every asset has a conversation section where you can mimic a face-to-face discussion and keep the flow of agile communication tied to the item for reference. In the latest Summer 11’ release an email component was added so that you don’t have to keep your conversation stream open in order to know when you need to respond to a question or discussion the team is having.
• Notifications – Within MyHome Subscriptions you can sign up to be notified on various events such as when a new defect is created or when an item is closed. Each team member can control the events on which they want to be notified, and these can be adjusted based on the project.
• Watch Items – Most assets can be watched so that you receive an email when they change (more specifically, when a history record is created). If there is a particular defect you are interested in you can set the watch on the action menu of the defect (it creates a subscription within MyHome Subscriptions) and get messages as it progresses through completion.
• Send Message – When you need to “nudge” someone or get their attention on a specific item – whether it is a story, task, test, etc. – you can send a message on that item to a list of individuals. When the individuals receive the message (either in their VersionOne inbox or email account), they will have a link back to the asset so they won’t need to search for it. Although conversations would be a better alternative, as the conversation stays with the asset, you could use this instead of email.
Although face-to-face communication and conversations are best, these features can help bridge the gap between agile teams who cannot be together due to geographic or logistic reasons.