Can agile teams work remotely?
Agility, innovation, responsiveness. These have all been part of the formula used to calculate the effectiveness of the big home working experiment.
These are also part of the winning formula for delivering cutting-edge FinTech projects. Agile has become the go-to methodology. Now more so than ever. Of course, Agile teams can work remotely, it’s what we know. Here’s how we do it.
Our business is built on agility. We’ve been doing it for years. It’s part of our DNA. Agile teams like us move fast and learn quickly. Our scrum masters, project managers and dev teams have hard-wired a collaborative approach into everything we do. We work with the best talent that is at the top of their game with the vision, passion and energy to make a difference. We’ve never been hooked on geography or being in the office. We’ve earned our stripes in making a success of remote working. So, if you are thinking about how agile would benefit your team, we thought it would be helpful to share a few insights on how it all works in a remote world.
Building unbreakable bridges and bonds
Scrum masters, project and product managers need to overcompensate by over-communicating to keep everyone up to date and build strong bridges between distributed teams. Working from home should never feel like flying solo. Team members that are new to working from home especially will want to know that colleagues are still there to mentor and support them.
Open communication and collaborative agile project management tools like Jira help remote teams to transparently collaborate on project tasks, milestones, problems to be solved and project blockers. This means teams are clear about deliverables and deadlines.
Creating a virtual water cooler
Real-time questions and problems need real-time answers and tools like Zoom, Skype and Google Meet are great at replicating the need for a face-to-face chat. But people working from home will want to chat about non-work stuff and let off steam. Creating a virtual water cooler and catching up on video calls also means visual clues about how somebody is feeling are still picked up.
Scheduling virtual Sprint planning sessions
With a clear communication strategy, the right tools, and active participation from the scrum team, a virtual Sprint planning session can be just as productive and engaging as sessions on a whiteboard. Be clear about the project goals and priorities for each Sprint. Encourage teams to review the Sprint backlog before the planning session so they can more accurately gauge their estimated capacity. Schedule Sprint reviews to improve for next time.
Scheduling daily scrums
Allocate 15 minutes each day when your scrum team can all join virtual ‘stand-ups’ via Zoom, for example, so the team can check-in and share product backlog and status updates, problems and issues that the team can help them with. Keep the agenda short and encourage team members to focus on three questions:
- What they did yesterday
- What they are doing today
- What they are doing tomorrow
These are just a few insights into how agile remote teams’ work. Working from home in some form is becoming permanent in our sector as we slowly transition to a hybrid, distributed way of working. Agile methodologies are tailor-made for getting the best out of remote teams if you create a shared developer culture, invest in collaborative tools, schedule regular meetings and encourage open communication.
If you are thinking about how it would all work for business, we’re here if you need our help.