The lockdown imposed almost all over the world in recent times has offered a profound realisation of how unpredictable our life is and how we need to be always prepared to deal with any trouble. The business world has learnt these lessons the hard way. Let’s talk about how agile software development teams have done in this time and how have they taken the new workplace norm – remote working.
Agile and co-location
Most of the teams that were working on different projects before the pandemic hit had to disconnect and take all their work home abruptly. It isn’t at all easy when you are not used to working in a certain way but then you have no other alternative than to embrace it. It is what most teams, including the agile development ones, had to do to stay productive and conduct agile ceremonies. The discomfort is indeed there, but there is a hope that everything will be back to normal sooner rather than later.
What does agile have to say about co-location? Agile, as we know, promotes face-to-face interaction as the most effective and efficient way of communicating information within a development team. So as you can see, agile always believed in co-located development teams. But there has to be a way out when there is no other alternative. Remote working is best suited for the situation we are currently in. It is the new reality, if you like.
How are agile teams dealing with the change in norms due to lockdown?
What many people forget is 4th value in the Agile Manifesto; “Responding to change over following a plan”. And this is just about the time to respond to a change in way we can operate.
The co-located team is ideal. However, we are seeing today that agile ceremonies are now taking place remotely using video communication platforms like Zoom and Microsoft Teams. Some of the best practices that we learn in agile methodology are about face-to-face communication, pair programming, and huddling. These are not possible when we work remotely. This is where Communication channels like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, Skype, and others are changing the way agile teams collaborate.
Coordination while working from home can be a problem if you don’t have the right tools. However, agile development teams have found ways to not make sure that there is no compromise in the quality of work due to lack of coordination between different members of the team. Zoom, Microsoft teams and other such platforms have been instrumental in ensuring that agile teams are able to coordinate better, in order to deliver the quality that is expected of them.
When you shift to remote working, it is very important to make sure that all the team members know what is required of them and at what time a tem working on a particular project needs to get together and discuss their project, progress made, and how they need to move ahead to complete the project on time. Again, applications like Microsoft Teams and Zoom can be used for these meetings. It is also very important to establish in these meetings the dependency between different team members and how those that are directly dependent on others need to stay in touch.
Agile teams have managed the remote working scenario quite well. By working remotely, Agile teams can be comprised of more geographical diversity and best talent regardless of the local availability. This certainly helps building the self-sufficient-development team.
If you are looking for some support in delivering Agile values via remote teams then please contact us.