Thursday, February 5, 2009

Ambassadors and Boundary Spanners

In his last post, renowned Agile guru 'Scott Ambler' introduced two new roles for distributed agile teams e.g. 'Ambassadors' and 'Boundary Spanners'. Here is how he puts it..

Ambassadors are senior technical or business experts who travel between sites to share information between the subteams. Getting the team together at the beginning of the project sets the foundation for communication, but without continual investment in maintaining effective collaboration between teams you run the risk of your subteams deviating from the overall strategy.

Boundary spanners are located on site who focus on enabling communication between subteams as well as within their subteam. There are typically three flavors of boundary spanners—team leaders who take on project management responsibilities on the subteam, product owners who are responsible for representing the business within the subteam, and architecture owners responsible for technical direction on the team. These boundary spanners will work closely with their peers, having regular coordination meetings across all subteams as well as impromptu one-on-one meetings to deal with specific issues.

Does these roles sound familiar? Are we hearing the need for project manager/ coordinator roles in self organizing agile teams?? Does it mean, we need some amount of command and control..even in agile teams???

Seems like Agile methodology is re-inventing itself to infuse best practices of the traditional s/w development methodology.  Distributed development team is a reality these days and it's about time for Agile methodology to do reality check and adapt to the changing needs of IT development......

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