Centripetal forces for Fully Distributed Scrum Team

Few of the main centrifugal forces of any Globally Distributed Software Engineering(GDSE) model can be mentioned as – geographical dispersion, cultural difference, lack of shared context and knowledge, communication problem, team coherence and ownership(i.e., “us-them” problem)[1-4]. Fully Distributed Scrum( FDS ) has the inherent benefits of its own process model, i.e.- ideology , artifacts and activities which apparently acts as the centripetal forces for GDSE and strives to address the challenges mentioned. The primary realized centripetal forces of FDS are discussed following.


Fig. 1. Centripetal Forces of FDS


  1. Scrum artifacts and activities, facilitating clear communication channel among the team members located in distributed geography [2-4]. Hence, the stakeholders involved in the FDS precise know what need to done and how to communicate to the respective members. Moreover, activities such as Sprint planning, Daily Scrum, Spring Retrospective brings team member together virtually under the same roof with the shared goal of team-improvement from the feedbacks of these activities[5].
  2. Small iteration of software development and potentially shippable product after every sprint is one of the major foundations of scrum, which promotes continuous feedback system running during the whole development and reduces the unnecessary overheads and prioritizes product backlogs according to the business value.
  3. Transparency and visibility. Everyone knows what is going on in the distributed software development which brings the team feeling among the team members and motivates them to be proactive.
  4. Empowering Teams, i.e. promoting team ownership and responsibility. Moreover, ideology such as, team consensus plays major role in the team ownership, as team members stop feeling “us-them” problem and become self-organizing.
  5. Cross-functionality among the team members. In order to achieve this, team members located in distributed location needs to collaborate for certain duration of time, which in turn promotes team work, knowledge sharing and bridging the cultural gap[6].

Therefore, it is evident that, FDS teams have centripetal forces that could results in high performance and hyper-productive teams. However, careful considerations of the whole model need to taken into account as Scrum is a very flexible , but abstract process model. Hence, the interpretation[7] of this centripetal forces is an important factor to achieve success.



[1] R. Prikladnicki, et al., “Global software development in practice lessons learned,” in Software Process: Improvement and Practice, ed, 2003, pp. 267-281.

[2] J. Sutherland, et al., “Fully Distributed Scrum: Linear Scalability of Production between San Francisco and India,” presented at the Proceedings of the 2009 Agile Conference, 2009.

[3] J. Sutherland, et al., “Fully Distributed Scrum: The Secret Sauce for Hyperproductive Offshored Development Teams,” presented at the Proceedings of the Agile 2008, 2008.

[4] J. Sutherland, et al., “Distributed Scrum: Agile Project Management with Outsourced Development Teams,” presented at the Proceedings of the 40th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 2007.

[5] M. Fowler, “Using an Agile Software Process with Offshore Development,” 2006.

[6] M. Cohn, Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum: Addison-Wesley Professional, 2009.

[7] J. Yip, “It’s Not Just Standing Up: Patterns of Daily Stand-up Meetings.”


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