How to Effectively Manage Remote Agile Teams

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How to Effectively Manage Remote Agile Teams

An agile methodology is an approach to work that involves breaking down a project into small portions, called sprints. In each project phase, the agile team is in constant communication with the customer and other stakeholders. Any feedback given is incorporated into the project, and improvements are made where necessary. In contrast to the traditional way of working, this method guarantees that a job is completed faster and the end product is of good quality. 

An agile team is a group of individuals who use the agile methodology to work on a particular task. The unit is cross-functional, meaning the members are from different company departments, working together to complete the job at hand. Also, the crew is only dedicated to the current project and is committed to a particular vision or goal.  

A company may choose the leader of this group, called a coach or project head, from within the team members or may consider an external contractor. However, being an agile coach requires an individual to know the agile methodology and experience in similar projects. In addition, they must have the capacity to train other group members on the agile approach and know the most appropriate tools for remote working. Aside from that, they should possess good leadership qualities. Some of these may include strong communication, problem-solving, and interpersonal skills. 

How to Ensure Productivity for Virtual Agile Teams 

Initially, agile was built for physical groups. Since team members were co-located, communication was easier, and the team was more manageable. Today, most companies have embraced remote working. It’s cost-efficient for organizations and allows employers to choose talent from a wider group of candidates, making it possible to have better-skilled workers. 

This work method is made possible by utilizing collaborative technologies such as communication, time tracking, file management, and video conferencing applications. That being so, managing an agile remote team may be challenging. Some of the difficulties coaches could face may be collaboration difficulties due to time zone differences and reduced productivity. Surveillance strains and lack of motivation amongst crew members may also be other obstacles that may hinder the success of a virtual agile group.

That being so, overcoming these obstacles might be easy if proper measures are implemented. Below are some tips that project heads can use to help manage an agile unit working virtually and what a coach should do.

1- Work With Complementary Time Zones

Most agile groups have four essential roles. There’s a coach, the project owner, the talent or team members, and other stakeholders such as the company managers and investors. 

When developing a remote agile crew, consider individuals from similar or compatible time zones. This factor will ensure that everyone is working during hours other team members are available. For instance, if you have an 8-hour work schedule, people with at least two hours apart can operate comfortably, with none working during odd hours. When all team members are active simultaneously, real-time communication is possible, and overall, the group will be pretty easy to manage.

Sometimes, individuals may be from regions with huge time differences. In case of this, consider daily reporting templates for each member. The digital sheets should be filled and submitted at the end of every working day. The documentation should have details on the tasks accomplished that day, any issues encountered, and the next day’s work plan. Also, the team leader should provide a communication channel for emergency cases, where team members can reach them at any time. However, as real-time meetings are essential for agile teams, some members may be forced to compromise on time. 

2- Set Expectations For Each Team Member

Project heads may find it challenging to manage a remote team. Even after providing the right working tools, you could still experience difficulties handling a unit composed of individuals with varying personalities and from different walks of life. However, some measures could be implemented to ensure efficient management. 

Agile coaches should plan daily tasks for all group members. They should also ensure that they hold a meeting each day and provide every person with tasks they should complete on that particular day. As you set these expectations, ensure that the assignments have deadlines. 

All members should report their progress, and the coach needs to provide necessary feedback in good time. When team leaders set expectations and make follow-ups, they can ensure that each person is committed to the set objectives for each sprint and the overall project goal.

3- Provide Sufficient Working Tools 

Collaborative teams need tools that can offer efficient communication and real-time exchange of ideas. Therefore, consider digital technologies that allow video conferencing to ensure face-to-face interaction. 

Digital whiteboards are also essential presentation tools that could be useful in remote meetings. These can be utilized for many purposes. For instance, they can help present ideas, train team members, and plan new activities for the next work phases. An advantage you may enjoy with this program is that the ideas presented take a lesser time to deliver, and all concepts and plans are quickly and well understood.

The team leader should make sure that all members document any crucial information in meetings. This factor will ensure that everyone can work independently and tasks are worked on, following the set guidelines. As a result, delays are reduced. 

4- Trust Your Team

Team productivity largely relies on trust. A good project head should understand that individuals can be more productive if allowed to make independent decisions on allocated assignments. This factor could help improve team commitment, reduce turnover, enhance motivation, and boost creativity. As a result, individuals can easily come up with better solutions for any complex task. 

Trust in agile teams can also be built by allowing the crew’s feedback when developing sprint objectives, setting expectations, and assigning jobs. This could help enhance personal accountability amongst team members. 

Conclusion

Though the agile methodology was initially developed for the software industry, it has today been adopted by many sectors. This is because its efficient processes ensure projects are completed much faster, yet the maximum quality is still maintained. When agile was introduced, it was primarily used for physical groups that were co-located. However, most companies have today embraced the work-from-home approach.

Remote agile teams may seem challenging to manage. However, there are some measures project heads could consider to ensure proper team management. For instance, coaches should provide sufficient working tools and must work with complementary hours. Also, setting individual goals could help a leader manage an agile virtual crew efficiently. Lastly, the project head should establish trust between them and team members to ensure maximum productivity.

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