When a team is discussing the project management strategy for a project based on scrum or Agile methodology then one of the terms that is a topic of discussion is co-location teams.
What we understand from the term ‘team’ is a group of people’s that come together and work to accomplish a common Objective. And when this whole team is working in the same place, then it becomes a co-located team.
For all the people who are related to the field of project management, then they need to understand’ what is a co-located team?’.
What is a Co-located Team?
A co-located team is a group of peoples working on the same project that are located at the same physical location. This project may be a software development project or any other project. This type of working strategy is adopted for projects that require continuous collaboration among team members.
All the team members including software engineers, software developers, QA, database engineers, production line deployment team share the same workspace.
Along with that, all the necessary or core hardware and resources are also present at the same place which can communicate with each other.
So, as they are located at the same location so it is very easy to have a face to face interaction is needed during the development process.
It makes it very easy for team members to exchange their ideas with each other which can improve the overall quality of the product.
In case, if a member requires some information then by just walking to the other member it can be easily availed.
co-location teams have major importance for the meetings that requires close listening like discussing the design of an application.
Whiteboarding is a very effective way of making the team members understand the design of the project.
Need for Co-located teams
Before understanding the benefits of Colocation teams it is very important to realise the issues with distributed teams. A distributed team is one in which the team members or resources are located at separate locations.
Then the communication between them is possible either by using phone, skype, zoom, or teams. And it might be possible that the place where team members are located belong to different time zones.
So if a team member wants to ask for some information or have a discussion with the other member then it will become important for them to inform the other person about the meeting and wait for a meeting time that suits both the person.
Because of this, the communication within the team will get to much complex and slow, which will not allow a member to work on its full potential of being productive.
All these delays in communication may lead to a delay in development and hence deployment.
Benefits of Co-located Teams
1. It helps in accelerating communication within the team.
2. It leads to increased trust and mutual respect among the team members and a person feel more comfortable working with a person whom you know, which is possible only if they are located at the same place.
3. co-location teams streamline the whole product development process because any information needed can be accessed with very little effort.
4. Since all the resources, either their hardware or network all are located at the same place, so the operational cost of the project is very low, which is very high in the distributed team.
5. It is easy to manage the team located at the same place, it is easy to understand how difficult it can get sometimes to manage and keep the members productive located at different locations.
Drawbacks of Co-located Teams
1. But sometimes making the whole team and resources work in one place can be expensive. There will be some extra expenditure on the software and need hardware requirements.
2. Because of the cultural and operational difference, it may lead to rise of conflicts within the team members and hence co-location can be difficult.
3. It is also difficult to manage the logistics in co-location teams. If the team members belong to different locations then there will be some extra expenditure required to bring them all together physically in one place.
Co-located Teams in Scrum Methodology
In Scrum Methodology, the core team is supposed to work together to help each other out at every stage of development. Even it also involves maintaining an interface with the stakeholders to make sure that the product is developed exactly to the client need.
It helps in better creation and validation of the project deliverables. Collaboration occurs when all the team members work together to get the job done.
Benefits of Colocation in Scrum Methodology
1. For successful adoption of scrum methodology there should be high bandwidth communication among the team members.
2. To ensure strong and easy communication Colocation is very important.
3. Colocation allows team members to have both formal and informal interaction and raise the feeling of team spirit among them.
4. All members are always available for coordination, problem-solving and learning.
5. Here, the questions that arise in the mind of any member of the team can be answered at the same time by the other team members.
6. Any issues that occur in the software can be resolved on the spot with a collaborative effort.
7. Colocation improves the understanding among the members, hence leads to less friction within the team.
8. It becomes easy for team members to have trust in each other.
Collaboration tools for Co-located teams
1. Face to face interaction is a very valuable practice in a project team.
2. They can also use the decision room or war room to have a discussion or when there is a need to make an important decision.
3. Scrum boards are used by them.
4. Wall displays and shared tables are also some of the common practice in a co-located team to enable collaboration.
Co-located teams have some pros and cons and can be adopted or rejected as per the project needs or the software development methodology followed.
In a co-location team, it is easy to resolve issues in the software during any stage of the development lifecycle. Even it is easy to conclude a case of any confusion.