Agility means nimbleness to react to any change. In early 2000, Agile Development picked up pace because we all wanted to imbibe this nimbleness in the way we delivered software.
We accepted that deviations would be there. The cause could differ each time.
But we emphasized on “core values” that we must upkeep –
- Collective Accountability and Ownership
Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the world has seen businesses grappling to survive and sustain. With social distancing the only way to ensure “flattening of the curve”, how to work remotely as a team and keep delivering our goals?
Distributed Agile or agile approach is not new to most of the companies. We are adept at operating from different locations or different time zones. Although collocated teams are always preferred but remote (distributed) teams can be utilized as well, “in some limited capacity”.
In the current situation, collocated teams are impossible. And given the uncertainty, we do not how long this shall continue. Hence, remote working has emerged as “the new normal”. Overnight, industries have been suggested to promote remote working.
The companies that have embraced distributed teams in the past are somewhat prepared in terms of mindset and infrastructure.
However, the challenge remains, as this could turn out to be “the only practical way” to work given the need for social distancing and diminishing costs due to the ensuing economic slowdown.
Hence the message is clear and loud enough. Either enterprise embrace remote working or succumb to it!
So, this blog elucidates the practices that Srijan employees are following to make remote working success, and most importantly, how do we as an organization sustain?
Remote Working in Srijan - How Are We Keeping Up?
At Srijan, we have always been open to a mix of collocated and distributed teams. Given this, video conference calls, IM, and project management tools have been part of our daily toolkit.
Even then, these past weeks of 100% remote work have taught us new lessons as well.
Amidst this lockdown and complete remote collaboration, my team has gone ahead to deliver a new mobile app to the app store 5 days ahead of a committed schedule. We have also rolled out a new production patch and going on well with our project milestones.
So, how did we implement what we learned-
- Daily standups must not be missed. With all team members remote, this must be run with utmost clarity. Using a project management tool with correct filters to visualize the backlog of “today” fosters communication.
- By the end of standup, everyone should be clear with their “backlog of today”.
- Ensure tickets are assigned to the right owners in the standup itself. This would help bring clarity in “what needs to be achieved by individuals” for today.
- The importance of maintaining JIRA hygiene is now more important than ever. Ensuring tickets are -
a. in the correct swim lane
b. Assigned to a person who needs to take action
c. Commented with details before assigning to another person
d. Flagged with detail of blocking items
- The scrum master must take note of items that require discussion and ensure they are picked up in the huddle time, post standup. Since the team is remote, standups may run longer than usual.
- Calendars must be planned.
- Set clear IM communication rules – Tag the right people, use the right channels to raise issues, and get immediate attention.
- For faster communication, make a list of telephone numbers of all teammates and keep it handy for the team.
- With remote work, swiftness in daily communication must be achieved. Hence email communication should be discouraged. SM must prepare a simple communication matrix for the team to avoid any confusion. For us, it is like this –
a. IM – Slack
b.. Zoom Call
c. Personal Mobile
- For threads that require immediate attention, all people must get onto a video conference call to close it. In such cases, group chats may take longer to achieve consensus and must be discouraged.
With an ongoing situation, remote working is going to be the new normal. Enterprises must start embracing it without further delay to reap its benefits in the long run. And most importantly, learn to sustain. You can too try the tips that we follow at Srijan.
It’s now or never! Embrace change.