The new reality: agile working from your living roomPublished on: Author: Team Communication Category: News
Sijmen Brakenhoff is a Full stack Developer and Scrum master for Qualogy. Since November 2018, he has worked as a consultant for a niche player in the financial world. And, like many other banks, they use the agile method. But how does it work: agile working from your living room? Since the corona crisis, everyone is working from home. Sijmen’s team adapted well.
Sijmen: “The bank reacted quickly at the beginning of the corona crisis. The first few days: half the staff worked at the office, the other half at home. Pretty quickly, we had one team member per squad on site. A few days later, everyone was working from home. It required the necessary adjustments.
How do you handle the daily stand-up and the reviews, refinements, and retrospectives? And how do you make sure everyone is not working on the same task, or working on something completely different?”
The Payments team Sijmen is a part of handled this well. The team is responsible for the bank’s payments engine and corresponding frontend. They are currently working on an upgrade for the frontend of Knockout + JSP to lit html. Before the crisis, the team already used the Agile Manifesto. They studied the basic principles again:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
Sijmen: “The corona crisis turned the world upside down. Including our team’s agile way of working. For example, we value the right side of the list way more now. Because we work at home, the continuous interaction between team members has disappeared. Processes, tools and following the plan have become more important to reach the desired result as a team.”
Skype, Microsoft Whiteboard and Jira
Cooperation and communication are still the most important. The team eagerly makes use of digital solutions to work remotely, together. Sijmen: “We use Skype for all our meetings, Microsoft Whiteboard for our retrospectives, and Jira for status updates of our tasks. We even have a daily call to imitate our small talk at the coffee machine.”
Before the corona crisis, the team was already working on optimizing their processes, agreements, and plans. Sijmen: “We are now reaping the benefits of our work. We only have to occasionally remind each other of our agreements.”
The new situation emphasizes how important communication is. Sijmen: “You can no longer vaguely indicate that your task is ready to be reviewed. It has become essential now to clearly let your team know, because no one knows you have started something else.
At work, we quickly let colleagues know about any setbacks – when a code needs to be changed, for example. Now, we communicate this to each other by adding a new task for the extra work. This way, everyone stays informed.”
Never completely prepared for the future
Sijmen: “During the previous period, I learned that you’re never completely prepared for the future. But if everyone is willing to give it their all, solve one problem at a time, take a different route sometimes, and occasionally take a step back to see what you have already accomplished, then there is nothing we can’t find an answer to.”