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Growing and Sustaining An Offshore Scrum Engagement. Edward Uy & Nikos Ioannou Kelley Blue Book. Agenda. KBB Background Five Dysfunctions of a Team Starting Small Growing the Teams Hyderabad, India Beijing, China Learnings Q & A. Background.

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Growing and sustaining an offshore scrum engagement

Growing and Sustaining An Offshore Scrum Engagement

Edward Uy & Nikos Ioannou

Kelley Blue Book


  • KBB Background

  • Five Dysfunctions of a Team

  • Starting Small

  • Growing the Teams

    • Hyderabad, India

    • Beijing, China

  • Learnings

  • Q & A


  • KBB has been around for over 80 years. We publish automotive values on and have numerous products for the automotive dealer & OEM, finance, and insurance markets

  • KBB has been working with Scrum since 2005

    • Moderate Scrum experience level

    • Currently 18 teams/200 users

  • Five Dysfunctions of a Team

    introduced in 2006

  • Offshore efforts began in 1Q07

The five dysfunctions of a team
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team


to Results

Avoidance of


Lack of Commitment

Fear of Conflict

Absence of Trust

The Five Dysfunctions of a Team

By Patrick Lencioni

The five dysfunctions of a team1
The Five Dysfunctions of a Team


to Results

Avoidance of


Lack of Commitment

Fear of Conflict

Absence of Trust

Avoidance of Accountability

The need to avoid interpersonal discomfort prevents team members from holding one another accountable for their behaviors and performance.

Absence of Trust

The fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust within the team.

Inattention to Results

The pursuit of individual goals and personal status erodes the focus on collective success.

Lack of Commitment

The lack of clarity or buy-in prevents team members from making decisions they will stick to.

Fear of Conflict

The desire to preserve artificial harmony stifles the occurrence of productive, ideological conflict.

Team building
Team Building

  • Personal Sharing Exercise

    • Each team member “answers” 3 questions for the team

    • Where did you grow up?

    • How many siblings?

    • Describe a challenge you had to overcome in your youth

  • Team Effectiveness Exercise

    • All team members in rotation focus on an individual and discuss one thing that he/she does really well that helps the team; and one thing they would like that person to improve upon to help the team

Team building doesn t always translate
Team Building Doesn’t Always Translate团队的五大功能紊乱

Starting small1
Starting Small

  • Both teams were assigned low-effort, low-complexity, low-risk projects

    • Beijing Team: small internal Web-based tools for supporting

    • Hyderabad Team: relatively small enhancements for an Auto Dealer Web application

  • Product and technical resources were assigned to support the teams by answering questions and removing roadblocks

  • The Learnings

    • Software deliverables met business expectations and timeliness

    • However, some technology requirements fell short

Hyderabad team growing
Hyderabad Team - Growing

  • The Epic: Retiring a legacy dealer software by enhancing an existing web application

    • Setting-up a combined on-shore/off-shore team

  • The process – adjusting over time

    • Weekly combined code review sessions

    • Interdependent stories from the epic backlog

    • Common development environment

    • Automated build/deploy processes and testing

    • Daily combined scrum calls followed by a technical call

    • SharePoint discussion board

  • Solid results meeting both business and technical expectations!

Hyderabad team the challenge
Hyderabad Team – The Challenge

  • Changes on the nature of work

    • Need for fast turnaround on smaller enhancements

    • Need for frequent releases to production

    • No more large epic work in the product backlog

  • Onshore team was stretched to meet aggressive timelines

    • Resulted in poorly written stories

    • And there was minimal technical support time available to support the offshore team

  • The Impact to the offshore teams performance

    • Results did not meet product owner expectations

    • Lower quality work without the onshore support

    • Poor Sprint Planning, daily Scrum and Retrospective meetings

Hyderabad team adjusting
Hyderabad Team – Adjusting

  • It is all about building cohesive teams

    • Onshore Team travelled to India to re-introduce Scrum and to have Five Dysfunctions team building

  • Immediate Improvements - signs of effective Sprint Planning, Reviews, and Retrospectives

    • Team collaboration

    • Intense discussions

    • Well-defined stories

    • Detailed task planning

Hyderabad team adjusting1
Hyderabad Team – Adjusting

  • Realistic story sizing = realistic expectations

Hyderabad team adjusting2
Hyderabad Team – Adjusting

  • Let’s try that again…

Hyderabad team adjusting3
Hyderabad Team – Adjusting

  • A good Retrospective is the essence of Scrum

  • The Five Dysfunctions of a Team model is the foundation for productive and effective meetings

Beijing team the challenge
Beijing Team – The Challenge (挑战)

  • Challenges with finding and retaining technical management/ leadership needed for:

    • More complex design work

    • Complex integration and impact assessment

    • Resulted in requiring more technical on-shore support time

  • Hierarchical culture

    • Everyone tests…yes, really!

    • Scrum is for the entire team…not just the “leads”

Beijing team adjusting
Beijing Team – Adjusting (调节)

  • Changed the focus of work to site optimization, UI compliance, testing automation

  • More frequent exchanges and longer stays

    • Technical standards

    • Scrum Training

    • 5 Dysfunctions Team Building

  • Emphasis on more well-written and clear stories

  • Vendor is providing English language training after hours to continually improve skills

Beijing team adjusting1
Beijing Team - Adjusting

  • Resulted in:

    • Getting issues out faster during calls or SharePoint discussion boards

    • All team members now feel like they can provide input at Planning Meetings, Daily Scrums, Reviews and Retrospectives

    • Higher quality team deliverables and velocity

    • Other Beijing team members also want to work on KBB Scrum teams

Additional team building discoveries
Additional Team Building Discoveries

  • Vendors wanted to please the client

    • Offshore teams didn’t reveal issues quickly enough and resulted in poor daily Scrum and retrospective meetings

    • None of the offshore team members had ever had direct contact with the client before; this structure was new to them, and therefore the leads ended up being the “spokes-people” for the team

  • Continual reinforcement of Scrum principles and 5Ds is necessary for everyone - onshore and offshore teams

    • We had to make sure company values and attitude toward Scrum and 5Ds were embraced

  • Support of off-shore takes time and it is important to make sure the time is allocated!

Final thoughts
Final Thoughts

  • We’re a small technology shop

    • We are focused on making every interaction as effective as possible

    • Offshore teams need to understand KBB culture and what is important to us

    • Its more than Client – Vendor relationship; offshore teams are an extension of our onshore team

  • We make adjustments all the time and will continue to do so.


Edward Uy

Nikos Ioannou