Geographically distributed agile teams, at least the effective ones, will also use tools which reflect the realities of agile geographically distributed development (GDD). Although index cards are a great way for co-located agile teams to capture high-level requirements such as user stories, you need an electronic strategy for a GDD team. You will need to consider tooling to support:
- Long-distance communication. You’ll want to consider investing in videoconferencing tools, teleconferencing tools, chatroom software, and even discussion forum software.
- Information sharing. You will need tools to share information between sites. This could be something as simple as a Wiki or a shared folder environment such as Dropbox. You may also want to consider artifact repositories.
- Planning and coordination. Geographically distributed teams tend to adopt software such as Jira or Microsoft TFS that enables them to manage their task boards.
- Tools to capture diagrams. A simple solution is to capture whiteboard sketches using phone camera and then sharing them via your information sharing strategy. Many teams will use simple diagramming tools, such a SmartDraw or Visio, to capture important diagrams. The advantages of these tools are that it is easy to update the diagrams at a future date. Some teams will even adopt software-based modeling tools, such as Blueprint or Enterprise Architect, to capture their work.