How to use the agile method in remote work?

How to use the agile method in remote work?

méthode agile
Posted by Benjamin Hermitte, on Wednesday 4 October 2023

Since the pandemic, remote working has become the norm. Many teams are now geographically dispersed, which disrupts their habits and ways of working. This is particularly true of agile teams, which are most effective when working in the same premises.

Since remote working is an ongoing practice, it is important to evolve and adapt the way agile teams operate so that they continue to be effective even when working remotely.

Fortunately, adaptation is usually their strong point!

Here’s how to adapt the agile method while working from home

Reminder: what is the agile method?

The agile method advocates a more flexible, responsive and adaptable organisation compared to traditional methods. This approach places the customer at the heart of the project and client satisfaction is a priority. To achieve this, the project team collaborates and exchanges with the client throughout the project in order to take into account their expectations and requirements. In this way, the product delivered will perfectly meet the client’s needs, even if these have changed along the way.

What is an agile team?

An agile team is a small group of people (ideally 3 to 10 people) who work together on the same project from start to finish, applying the principles of the agile method. Each team member has skills relevant to the project. The agile team works flexibly and adapts to the changing needs of the client. It is not afraid to challenge the status quo, test new processes and propose new ideas in order to design the best possible product/service for the client.

Each team member is driven to achieve their goals, with the aim of collaborating effectively together to deliver a high-quality product to the customer.

The members of an agile team usually work in the same place because this facilitates spontaneous exchanges, reinforces mutual trust, and simplifies decision-making and problem-solving. Working remotely is therefore a real challenge for agile teams as they can lose responsiveness and efficiency.

3 tips for adapting the agile method to teleworking

Follow these tips to maintain your agile operation despite the distance that separates you.

The use of collaborative tools is essential

In order for your team to continue to be effective while teleworking, it is essential to provide them with the right tools. These include: instant messaging, collaborative office suites, shared calendars, and project management solutions (such as Wimi). Collaborative software is now essential to allow your employees to be as efficient as if they were working together in the same office.

The use of a corporate social network (CSN) is also a good idea, as this tool can foster collaboration, facilitate communication within dispersed teams, encourage knowledge sharing, and maintain and strengthen team cohesion and a sense of belonging.

Finally, using video conferencing systems can energise your meetings by creating quizzes, polls and challenges, and using a digital whiteboard that allows team members to brainstorm and design together online.

Communication should be your priority

Collaboration and communication are two essential notions in the agile method, whether between team members or with the client. Good collaboration starts with good communication. Like all teams, agile teams need to communicate constantly to find out who is doing what, what the latest customer requests are, what the status of a particular task is, and how far along the project is.

For your agile team to be effective, and even more so remotely, it needs to follow a communication plan that works throughout the project. For example, if we take the Scrum method, we see that for each sprint, several meetings are organised (sprint planning, daily scrum, sprint review and sprint retrospective). You need to restructure these meetings to avoid “zoom fatigue” and set up rules to be respected so that each meeting goes well (log in on time, always have your camera on, only one person speaks at a time, etc.).

Apart from these formal meetings, it is essential that employees communicate throughout the day to be productive, but also to maintain cohesion and team spirit. This communication can take many forms, using all the tools at your disposal: instant messaging, email, video conferencing, corporate social networks, etc.

Finally, you must not forget about communication with the customer, who is at the centre of the agile approach. Video meetings must be organised regularly with the client to receive feedback and to take into account their new requests.

Maintaining team cohesion is essential

To work well together, team members need to know and trust each other. This is not always easy when some members work from home. It is therefore essential to maintain team cohesion by organising regular team building activities and events.

Be creative, because there is no shortage of ideas for creating a bond between your employees, even when working remotely. For example, plan virtual coffee breaks during the day and a virtual happy hour at the end of the week. Challenge your team to photo challenges or have personal chat sessions to get to know each other better.

Applying the agile method in teleworking requires a review of the ground rules and good practices that were adopted in the office. By following these tips, using appropriate communication tools to maximise interactions and maintaining agile rituals, your agile team will continue to be effective on a daily basis despite the distance between team members.

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