Overlap hours for distributed teams
The time zone differences between onsite (particularly western) client locations and many of the major offshore development sites like India are so huge that, at times, the business hours are completely mismatched. A mitigation option is to identify the possible overlapping hours. This could vary based on the geographies in which the teams are located. In case of Project A, the teams are distributed across Chennai, India, and New York. Because the overlapping business hours are practically zero, an adjustment has to be made that addresses this. When time zone differs only for 2-4hrs, teams generally move their working hours but still defined overlap hours and scheduled agile meetings during that overlap hours.
- All distributed agile meetings happen in overlap hours.
- Agree and ensure Product Owner will always be available during overlap hours for answering team questions.
- Everyone must commit to be available during the overlap hours.
- No local meetings during overlap hours.
- Try to avoid sprint planning, review, and retrospection meetings on weekend-hugging days (Friday/Monday).
- Keep a list of holidays for each geographical location handy on the bulletin board.
- Add physical clock’s at team location showing both local and remote time, to account for time-zone differences of members participating in the projects.
- Also make sure everyone knows who is talking!