Maybe you’ve had a conference or two cancelled (like the Atlassian summit 😭).
Perhaps your big team planning event is on the back-burner.
Or maybe your entire workforce has been told to work from home until further notice.
You think you’re disruptive? Well, clearly you haven’t met COVID-19!
This pandemic has shaken things up. Record numbers of organizations are looking for ways to quickly adapt and transition their teams to working remote. And some still haven't cracked the code.
It’s a huge challenge when you consider that agile is typically designed for face-to-face interaction - especially critical events like quarterly PI Planning.
We’ve put together some thoughts to help you quickly transition your team to distributed agile, based on our own experiences and working with big organizations who have been working with remote team members for awhile now.
First thing’s first…
We’re not qualified to tell you if you should panic about the pandemic (seriously though… you don’t need that much toilet paper).
But we are qualified to tell you that a remote workforce isn’t as scary as it sounds. You’re going to be just fine.
Organizations like yours have been doing their thing with a distributed agile team for years now.
One of our Easy Agile customers has a large distributed team and only does remote PI Planning. It’s possible to pull it off.
Some of the people on your team probably haven’t worked from home before. At least, not for an extended period. So, offer guidance on what’s expected and how they can make the most from working at home.
You know… like business up top, sweatpants on the bottom, and no one on the conference call will be any wiser.
But seriously, it’s a good idea to share guidance like:
A little guidance will go a long way in helping everyone feel more “at home” with the new work situation.
You might already have a distributed agile team who are experienced with working remote. So, encourage the experienced remote workers to champion the practice and lead others.
Create a Slack channel or other environment dedicated to discussions about working from home, so that people can share tips and experiences, and ask questions. At Easy Agile, we’ve created a #remote channel to share our setups.
If your team is working remote for the first time, they might not have all the bits and pieces they need at home to do their job, attend meetings, or show up properly to a remote PI Planning event.
Depending on their role, they may need:
More people want to work from home and it makes a lot of sense for businesses to encourage this new way of working. It can save a lot of money (one estimate suggests $10,000 per person per year) when teams stay at home. And you can save hundreds of thousands per PI Planning session when you don’t have to pay for flights, accommodation, and event space for a team of up to 100.
The remote work trend isn’t going away - even after the pandemic dies down. So, look at this as an opportunity to try distributed agile if you haven’t already. You could find it’s a better, more cost-effective way for you to get stuff done and give your employees what they want.
Nobody likes to feel watched while they’re working 👀 But especially not while they’re working from home. At home, your employees will probably:
In between all of that, you need to trust that they’ll get their job done, do their best, and be productive - even if it happens outside of regular business hours.
Fortunately, if you’re agile, you likely have built a culture of trust already.
So, keep up with regular communication, virtual standups, and transparency. This should be enough to monitor progress and keep your people accountable without micromanaging
Even if you can’t meet face-to-face, create opportunities for your teams to come together virtually, socialise, and chat.
Set up a non-work Slack channel, do regular video calls, and talk about more than just work.
People, relationships, and connectedness matter even more when you can’t be in the same room together.
When all of this blows over (and it will), you’ll come out a much stronger organization than before. If a single team member, a whole team, or your entire organization need to work remote in the future, you’ll be able to easily switch gears with minimal disruption.
Use this opportunity to uncover risks you might not have considered previously. Ask questions like:
While a pandemic isn’t an ideal scenario, it’s okay to look for the positives, like:
And maybe… just maybe… some of these changes will stick around for the better 🤞
Sean is Head of Marketing at Easy Agile, a Platinum Atlassian Marketplace Partner based in Australia. Sean loves taking his kids on caravan holidays near the beach.
UPDATE: That's a wrap on our AMA. Thanks for taking part and asking such interesting questions! Have you ever wondered why some teams excel (hello 96' Chicago Bulls!), while other teams, w...
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