March 04, 2021 under
4 Ways to Best Use Agile Methodology During Remote Work
by Andrea Lankford, VP of Program Management
Remote work isn’t quite the dream situation we all thought it might be a year ago. As we’ve all learned, workdays are rife with distractions and ruled by detachment, which detracts from collaboration and deems productivity a daily challenge.
There’s an answer that can help, one that will allow leaders to strengthen how they are running meetings and inspiring collaboration, even during this endless coronavirus crisis: agility. Successfully returning to agile methodologies isn’t necessarily a pandemic panacea, but such an approach can positively impact tasks like project planning and ad-hoc collaboration.
As we’ve all experienced, teams can struggle mightily with collaboration during these remote times; the inability to walk by someone’s desk for a quick question or a working session is creatively crippling. Today, someone may struggle with a problem longer than necessary because they’re afraid to “bother” someone via an instant message or setting something so official as a meeting. Those Slack status updates don’t give us the full breadth of a situation.
Teams can compensate by setting meetings for creative collaboration, but then it forces a time frame and a duration for working through a challenge. What if the brainstorm isn’t complete and the answers aren’t determined when the hour is up and everyone needs to break to go to another meeting?
Becoming More Agile
The aforementioned remote-work challenges directly impact things like daily standups and sprint planning sessions, which in turn affects project completion as well as establishing effective deadlines and processes for more collaborative efforts.
Typically, “blocker” issues are brought up during a standup and the team will agree that a few key players take the issue offline to address them. With the challenges noted above, it can take longer to address issues due to the need to find time and set a meeting, among other logistics.
Timelines may need to be more prescriptive rather than working fluidly within a sprint. The scrum master may need to stay more on top of open issues and help facilitate conversation, communication, or closing out issues.
Thankfully, there are strategies to help leaders who want to better utilize the agile methodology and its components in a more effective way during remote work. These include:
Maintaining typical agile scrum ceremonies is the tip of the iceberg. When we’re all miles and even time zones apart, agile activities like team chats and dedicated calendar time for workshopping with teammates can help. Just be patient and remember that adaptation is key. Continuous improvement is a journey, not a destination!