Covid-19 is an unforgettable situation in our lifetime on each front, personal & professional. It brought disaster to the world in social, political, and economic forms as well as impacting the life of the individual. Most of the unexpected things are happening around the world.
Due to COVID-19, our team had to adopt a new work culture in-line with government guidelines put in place, bringing several issues to light, as we did not have the time necessary to analyse potential future challenges. Although some of these issues were existing within the teams already, the abrupt change to our work culture quickly brought these challenges to the surface.
But is this not that one of many situations which Agile can be applied to? By focusing on these factors from the beginning:
Let me share what happened within our teams & how we handled the situation.
The first week of distributed workforce was like sailing a boat through a hurricane, and the journey began as follows:
I (as a Scrum Master of the Team) facilitated a very early Retrospective (after 4 days of distribution starting) with one very specific agenda:
“Challenges due to distribution and how to address these challenges”
This Retrospective proved beneficial for our team, as we were able to identify the core challenges of working separately from our co-workers. These challenges can be seen below:
Also, within the Early Retrospective, the team discussed possible solutions to the listed challenges. It was extremely important that these issues be addressed within the early retrospective, as we felt we could not continue working without identifying some solutions. After rigorous discussion amongst the team, we decided to adopt certain practices within RSK BSL, with the aim of resolving the difficulties we faced with remote working.
Finally: When we became distributed, my whole idea was to emphasize the scrum values among the team. These values (Commitment, Courage, Focus, Respect & Openness) gave us confidence & courage to be more aligned & have better coordination, which happened because we understood the value of communication & alignment. What can be better example than:
“One member actually managed to get pass from govt. administration, to visit the remote locality, just to get one device & make it available to another team member so that we can deliver the feature timely”.
Approach for the Future: As a team, we now have the skills to adapt to a distributed work environment, which prepares us for the future, where future pandemics are more than likely. In my opinion, the very first step is to understand the core problems and challenges, and to initiate discussion amongst the team. We would tackle similar situations with the same approach: find the core problems & let’s brainstorm to solve these, like we did this time (Retrospective & more coordination).
I understand that Covid-19 brought about unforeseen challenges and it might be, we’ll never be out of it. But I cannot deny, it gave everyone in general, myself and my team specifically, a new way of thinking, new kind of team-spirit, next level of maturity and great confidence to handle such challenges.
One thing still needs improvement – that is related to our geographic culture. In our geography, most of us are not supporters of working remotely and that is why most of us don’t have certain arrangements like dedicated space, working hour ethics at their end (home or anywhere else) which can sometimes create unnecessary delays & disturbance. I believe, everyone at her/his level making effort to improve such scenarios and is this not the essence of Agile – “To Inspect the current scenario, Adapt the better way and Learn from it for future”?
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Praveen is a seasoned IT Solutions Leader and Director at RSK Business Solutions, a technology-driven IT Consulting Company that specializes in Bespoke Software Development, Agile Consulting, Mobile App Development, Smart Sourcing, and much more. For the last 17 years, he has been delivering quality custom IT solutions that help businesses achieve their goals.