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Many individuals, especially those working for businesses that don’t practice working from home regularly, may find this transition difficult yet satisfying. If you are anything like me, you enjoy going to the office, seeing everyone’s faces, and entertaining stories about new restaurants or happy hour destinations. It was announced on a Friday that the ‘safer at home’ order would be in effect starting over the weekend and ongoing for the next month (at least). We decided on hosting a 4-hour planning workshop, which gave us a head start to work remotely. Although we had a tentative game plan together, many things change quickly when businesses across the world are making the same transition.
Our extended workshop allowed us to create user stories using Jira and groom through these tasks on a technical level. Communication is key, especially in a remote environment. We immediately scheduled morning standups and afternoon sync up meetings, ensuring all Jira cards were being passed through our workflow, queued for deployment to production, and outstanding questions were answered.
Working from home gave us time to look at many new marketplace apps and we found the GitLab Integration app, which is a very powerful add on. This feature is awesome for the entire software development team and links our issues directly to their respective git repositories! Deployment to production is awesome because providing new features to the business is great, but documentation is often overlooked. We always use Confluence for technical documentation once features are delivered, this is even more important when remote users are interacting with our systems.
While we already had a lot of these products in place to mitigate risk, we needed a platform for change requests and software requests. Jira Service Desk made it very easy to spin up a public facing portal for our teams to submit these requests. Having the ability to link portal requests to user stories better streamlined our process. A normal day in the work from home world goes something like this… COFFEE!
Coffee almost always comes first and that leads right into our morning standup. Each team member briefly discusses the accomplishments, current progress and impediments for the day. The scrum master shares their screen using Microsoft Teams and we collaborate on the current status stories and assign new stories when needed - usually round two of coffee comes here. While development continues throughout the day, project and development managers groom/vet the backlog, attend client meetings and generate internal decisions needed to move forward. Before you know it, the afternoon sync up is started and we each explain the progress made over the past 5 hours.
On Fridays, we use the sync up time for retrospectives including highlights, lowlights, risks and any other updates. (FYI – the Confluence template named ‘Business Status update’ works great for us!).
Some other things to keep in mind when working from home:
Atlassian products made our transition to a virtual environment seamless and I strongly believe that our transition would have been much, much more difficult if we didn’t already have these products in place. Stay strong everyone!