Wellness For You Inc. is a leading Healthcare solutions provider headquartered in Cambridge, MA with development teams divided between Cambridge and Pune. Their flagship product has most of the development and all of QA happen with a 10-member team in India and some development with 2 developers based in Cambridge. While the QA team does the QA for development happening in India, they are also responsible for final integration and end-to-end testing for work done by the two developers in the US.
One of the problems that this team has run into since they moved to Agile 4 months ago has been their unpredictability to deliver on commitments made in a sprint. As a result, stories have got carried forward from one sprint to the next with testing invariably as the pending activity in most cases. They have also found that the US developers invariably deliver their code on the last one or two days of the sprint and the QA team in India is left with insufficient time to test and qualify the code developed. To add to this, the team has also found at times, mid-sprint changes in scope of stories or occasional new stories which the PO believes are crucial for the product deployment. All of this has invariably led to wild fluctuations in velocity of the team – sometimes the team delivers as low as 7 or 8 points while in some of the other sprints, they deliver 30 to 35 points. The Product Owner and Product Manager are at their wits end to figure out how to make a commitment to the end users on what will go in an upcoming release based on such performance from the team. The team works hard, most team members stay late on several days to sync up with their US counterparts but the outcomes don’t necessarily match the intent and commitment from the team members.
How can you help this team achieve better outcomes?