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Integrating remote teams with 3 amigos meeting

Lack of clear communication between developers, business analysts and QA experts can lead to mismatched project expectations and ineffective goal-setting for features under development. Understanding the product as a whole and each deliverable as an individual component is key to a solid development process. That’s why the three amigos (developer, BA and QA) meeting is such a useful method. Let’s take a close look at it.

What are the benefits of the 3 amigos approach?

At a company working on multiple projects at the same time, the number of meetings held every week, or even every day can become overwhelming. Keeping people in the loop becomes a demanding task - and it can eat into project budgets.

The 3 amigos meeting solves this problem by putting the right people in the same (sometimes virtual) room, so that information can flow more efficiently. It reduces the number of times a meeting ends without actionables, because something needed to be clarified, confirmed, added or reworked.

This mean no more issues with:

  • incomplete dependencies,
  • lack of graphic designs,
  • scope creep,
  • wrong requirements.

And through avoiding these problems, you can reap benefits such as: improved quality, better time management and efficiency, smooth communication, more amicable relationships within the team thanks to a lack of misunderstandings, and a highly effective feedback loop.

How to run a 3 amigos meeting?

It’s actually very simple. Usually what you want is three areas of competence in the same room together:

  • business analysis,
  • quality assurance,
  • software development.

The number of people isn’t important. In fact, the meeting might involve additional amigos, such as someone from the UX team or a product owner on the client’s side. But make sure to only invite people who will add value to the conversation.

One of the participants - often the business analyst - should take on the role of a moderator and keep everyone on track. Together, they will look closely at the requirements relevant to the current stage of the project, categorized by feature or story, and ask any necessary questions.

Because the meeting involves the full spectrum of project competences, it’s unlikely that something major will slip through the cracks. The QA expert can make sure that the test scenarios will work out, and that no edge cases have been missed. The developer can learn whether the development plan for each feature fits business, UX, and any other requirements.

The client, if present, will be able to keep a close eye on the project’s progress, provide information as needed, and review requirements as issues come up. The process will be fully transparent to everyone.

Mistakes to avoid when running a 3 amigos meeting

The first mistake that some companies make has already been mentioned: keeping the meeting strictly to only three participants. This can result in stakeholders with highly relevant perspectives and information being excluded - which means that the meetings won’t actually add any value to the development process. Their main goal, handling the information flow and dependencies with top efficiency, will not be achieved.

The second mistake is falling into the other extreme, and involving the entire project team in these meetings. This will create a lot of noise and unnecessary, time-consuming discussion. Which is exactly what we want to avoid!

The third mistake is approaching the 3 amigos meeting as another Scrum ceremony - scheduling it too strictly and regularly. That is not the point of these meetings. Think of them as gathering a special task force to efficiently solve arising issues. This task force should be deployed only when needed.

Where does the 3 amigos meeting fit into the Agile pipeline?

As stated above, the 3 amigos meeting isn’t a Scrum ceremony and doesn’t have to take place at regular intervals. Instead, consider the following two options.

Running a 3 amigos meeting before sprint planning

The key to a successful 3 amigos meeting is to schedule it perfectly - not to soon, and not too late. Too soon, and the attendees won’t remember what they’ve discussed, or worse, they’ll be working with incomplete information. Too late, and they won’t have enough time to apply what they’ve learned. Running a 3 amigos meeting before sprint planning is a good benchmark.

Running a 3 amigos meeting after a retrospective session

Sometimes, a retro results in many useful conclusions and identified issues to address. It may be a good idea to uses this knowledge while it’s fresh on everyone’s mind. A 3 amigos meeting schedules right after a retrospective will likely be a bit more reactionary - which can be the best approach for certain projects.

Running a 3 amigos meeting with remote teams

As long as attendees have a solid digital toolset for communicating their ideas, asking questions, and showcasing their progress, a 3 amigos meeting can work very well when conducted online. This means that remote teams can use this approach with great success. Just make sure that everyone will come prepared, so that the time slot for the meeting (usually of 30 minutes to 1 hour) will not be exceeded.

The 3 amigos meeting can be incredibly useful to dispersed teams. Standups and effective planning sessions, as well as transparent communication, are crucial for them, after all. This applies both to full outsourced teams and project teams augmented with external talent.

If you’re not sure how to get started with the 3 amigos meeting at your organization, we can help.

Let’s talk about the most efficient options for software development outsourcing.

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