Working Remote – The New Face-to-Face

Steve Langone

Working from home has increased over the past decade but in 2020, became the new norm on a global scale. Essential and non-essential workers alike have had to quickly adapt while companies have grappled to get information to employees in an efficient manner. This rush of information has raised a question about how to effectively communicate.

According to agile principle #6 from the Agile Manifesto, “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.” While this is the preferred method, face-to-face collaboration through technology has shown working remote can be just as if not more productive for teams.

For Agile teams adjusting to these changes, there are some actions you can take to ensure you can get your team on the same page.  

  1. Focus on what you can do with the technology.

Working remote is definitely a different experience than working in person. However, it can be easy to forget there is so much more one can do with technology, especially as technology rapidly develops.  

Collaboration tools such as such as Teams, Zoom, WebEx, Skype and others give us the "in-person" conversations we need. From regular virtual meetings to training, workshops, or courses there is a tool that can help us be more productive. With the time we are saving from commuting, we could leverage eLearning technology to learn skills that will be advantageous to our long-term professional development.   

  1. Be ready to adjust your timetable and be open-minded towards new opportunities.

Some projects may need more time and some may need less. It’s important to set realistic goals for projects, especially when business isn’t quite as usual. The good news is that with technology, there are plenty of opportunities for utilizing tools to your advantage to stay ahead of your deliverables.

For example, delivering SAFe certification courses, facilitating PI Planning, the Inspect & Adapt workshop, Agile and SAFe Ceremonies, and even Demo’s are usually conducted in a big room setting. With remote delivery, facilitating and planning an Agile Release Train’s PI Planning event with 120 people or more could all be delivered virtually. These sessions may feel and even be structured differently but they certainly can be executed successfully and achieve results.  

  1. Meet with your teams at regular, pre-determined intervals to make sure you are maximizing productivity.

An agile philosophy of continuous improvement encourages meeting periodically to discuss what worked well, what didn’t, and to see what can be improved for the future. It is important to experiment during the product lifecycle and likewise, experimentation extends beyond just products.  

Agile teams encourage and support each other to keep testing and adjusting processes in order to create a forward-thinking plan. This helps build a culture of trust and transparency – needed in a field where companies must react and mobilize quickly towards change.  

Though working remote has definitely been a challenge to all who are solely used to working with face-to-face interactions, it has presented new opportunities for companies to think about how they can rapidly adapt  technology but more importantly, how they can use it to their advantage. Applying the principles of Agile methodologies can help teams work more efficiently towards a brighter future for their organizations.