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For the time being, we have a large offshore development team that mostly takes instructions from the California team. It’s like having team members that can do 30 hours of work per day. I’m trying to schedule Sprint Review, Retrospective, and Planning. Because India is a half-day ahead of us, I feel compelled to narrow the gap between Review/Retrospective and Planning, so that offshore doesn’t have an unplanned day to start every sprint.

So, question: are there any hard-and-fasts you go by on the sequencing of these meetings? For instance, Sprint N+1 Planning the day before Sprint N Demo/Retro would fix my problem, but is probably a bad idea. And having Demo, Retro, and a Planning all on the same day is exhausting. But I have to compromise on something. Your recommendation?

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    What does the team think will work best, given all of this info? Also, it sounds like you are implementing something Scrum-ish; has India been trained on the mentality, culture, and basic processes? I ask because of the statement "takes instructions from the California team" which sounds like a nasty anti-pattern. – Jeff Lindsey Jan 20 '16 at 22:27
  • Thanks, @jeff-lindsey. We are a great, big ball of anti-patterns right now. Training our remote team members is one of my largest upcoming impediments to straighten out. I think the team would go with whatever I suggest. They are not very opinionated about our Scrum process because they are still learning it. If I said they should all be on one day, they'd likely acquiesce. And I think they'd also accept having a Sprint Planning the day before a Sprint Review/Retrospective. But I don't know which to recommend. – dodgertodd Jan 20 '16 at 22:53
  • What benefits of implementing Scrum do you recognize in this setup? What other approaches have you considered? – Bartek Kobyłecki Jan 22 '16 at 14:40
  • I know as well as anyone that this is not a true Scrum setup. This is, however, reality for the moment. We have an appropriately sized, cross-functional team locally that meets and works together every day. We also currently have a lot of development muscle offshore and probably always will. I'm specifically looking for guidance on whether it is ever acceptable or workable to have a Sprint Planning meeting before the Review and Retrospective. – dodgertodd Jan 23 '16 at 3:42
  • Shoot, I missed the 5-minute comment edit window. I wanted to add that the local team is the core team of experts that really delivers value. The Almighty Dollar is preventing us from hiring any more team members like them, but we are required to deliver more than their capacity, so we're using an offshore vendor. The offshore team mostly responds to tasks given them by the core team. My current plan is to implement some kind of Kanban workflow with them. – dodgertodd Jan 23 '16 at 3:52
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There are things you can do that usefully fill the gap while the offshore team waits for sprint planning to take place.

Some possibilities are:

  • Writing automated regression tests
  • Doing code reviews and working on development standards
  • Researching new technologies
  • Looking ahead in the backlog and prototyping/investigating up-coming work

The benefits of this work would be felt by both the onshore and offshore teams.

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I would like to suggest that you need to have two separate scrum teams that work together but not try to timeshift one team. Splitting teams and the scrum events across timezones is a recipe for disaster.

Each team should have their own events specific to their timezone, but you do need to make sure that you maintain lines of communication.

Nexus - use scrum to scale scrum

While Nexus works best for 3-9 Professional Scrum teams working together you might find some of the practices of use. Specifically the "team-of-teams" approach for maintaining the communication lines.

http://scrum.org/nexus

In both the Sprint Planning and Retrospective the teams have their events in their respective timezones, at a reasonable time. However representatives from each team meet before and maybe also after to synchronise...

http://nkdagility.com/big-scrum-all-you-need-and-not-enough/

The post above has a video where I walk through the Nexus process that comes from Ken and Scrum.org.

  • I would love it if one day our offshore team can operate as an independent scrum team. At present that is not an option. But I have a great chance of helping create an effective scrum team locally. I'd specifically like to know if there are hard-and-fast objections to having Sprint Planning before Review and Retrospective. Or like with Barnaby's answer, suggestions for how to let the offshore team be productive on the one unplanned day each Sprint. – dodgertodd Jan 23 '16 at 3:46

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