Belatrix was an early adopter of Agile and has over 10 years of experience with various Agile methodologies in both development and testing processes. This includes Scrum, Kanban, XP, and behavior-driven development. All individuals in the company are trained in Agile, and more than 20% of employees are Certified Scrum Masters.
Based on all this experience, we have optimized our project management methodology to provide the right mix of control, visibility and flexibility, while maintaining the best throughput possible.
Extensive Distributed Agile (Offshore Agile) Experience
Belatrix has extensive experience working with clients in “distributed” or “offshore” Agile. We use multiple techniques based on our experience to ensure success.
- Understand the importance of communication. Effective communication doesn’t just happen, but needs to be proactively addressed. Leaders of distributed teams facilitate optimal levels of communication. Meanwhile, helped by Belatrix´s flat hierarchy, team members are empowered to communicate freely.
- Use a variety of communication tools – but try to avoid email. We aim for daily face-to-face interactions by tapping into videoconferencing tools like Skype, WebEx, Google Hangouts, Team Viewer, and Join.me. We try to avoid relying on email because in our experience it slows down communication.
- Utilize specific Agile project management tools. To ensure transparency and real-time feedback, we utilize a range of tools like JIRA with Green Hopper, Rally, VersionOne, Mingle or PivotalTracker.
- Human resources ensure our teams are a good fit for distributed Agile. Our human resource teams use psychological insights to ensure that the individuals we hire are a good fit for collaboration work and fast turnarounds – in short, highly suited to doing Agile custom development work.
- Clients benefit from our nearshore locations. Our locations in Latin America (Argentina and Peru) are ideally situated in the same or similar timezones as our clients in North America or Europe. This is critical for conducting activities such as daily scrums and sprint reviews.
Belatrix´s Secret Sauce For Scrum
Belatrix takes a highly pragmatic and effective approach to Scrum. Because software development is a highly interactive and iterative process, the following guidelines help ensure your engagement will be successful.
Sprint-based planning and deliveries
- We recommend that all the features of the system should be broken down into short iterations or phases, which in Scrum are called sprints. A sprint can be as short as one week or as long as two months, depending on the complexity of the system, the technology and team preferences. Most often, we use 2 to 3 week sprints in our projects.
- The system features are prioritized by the client and allocated to the different sprints. When a sprint is about to start, the team gets together with the client to estimate each feature and perform more detailed planning than the one that was done at the beginning of the project.
- During the sprint, the finishing date is never altered as well as the features that are to be included on the active sprint. If for any reason, there is not enough time for some features to be implemented, those features are then re-added to the project backlog, where all the features are kept for tracking.
Daily “scrums” or stand-up meetings
- The development team has a stand-up meeting every work day where every team member will be asked what they did yesterday, what they will be doing today and if they have anything that is blocking them. This quick meeting lets the team lead know where things are and make sure problems are detected right away before they jeopardize the time lines.
- Since we believe in providing 100% visibility into the projects and the process in general, our clients are always welcome to participate in these daily meetings through web conference or phone conference.