Virtual Teams & the Agile Methodology and Scrum: The Partnership of the Future
Thanks to internationalization, the Internet, and new technology, companies (both large and small) can create virtual teams scattered around the globe. When human resources expand their borders, there's an increase in the talent and the quality of the product or service that we can offer a customer; yet, at the same time, it's also more challenging to coordinate the people that make up these teams. How can we rectify this? By using the Agile Methodology and Scrum.
Agile organizations existed long before the term Agile, which is so widely used today, was created. Each one of them has structured their organization in their own way, adopting the shared autonomy paradigm. With time, many companies that work in the software development sector have adopted Scrum, one of the most famous methodologies linked to Agile philosophy, although we can’t confuse terms: Agile is a mentality, a way to focus work from which many methods have been derived. And one of the most popular methods is Scrum.
Agility in remote working for companies
We can’t ignore the changes in the business world after COVID-19 accelerated this transformation. Remote working has been popularized, and with it has come the creation of virtual teams that communicate with each other from different parts of the world.
How do we work from home? Collaborative tools have been a very valuable investment. Without going into too many details, Salesforce acquired Slack for almost 28 billion dollars, and that's just a sign of the trend that is happening. “Everyone wants to be in the digital workplace. If you don't participate in this amalgamation of collaborative solutions, you will miss out on an important part of the future that lies ahead,” says Miguel Ángel Morcuende, digital transformation expert.
This new context means offering integral tools to employees with which, in just one click, they can deploy everything that is demanded. And they can also focus on ensuring that the client does not lose quality due to this new form of working: cloud contact centers are a good alternative. In summary, with remote working in the future for many, we have to ask ourselves how to lead virtual teams and what software systems to use. We are betting on thinking agilely and using the Scrum methodology.
The Agile Methodology and Scrum: they key for coordinating virtual teams.
Many companies have abandoned physical offices or have become more flexible about in-office work and have diversified the places from which their workers come. How do we successfully work in this new paradigm? Thanks to adopting the Scrum Methodology in our business processes, the benefits of being Agile are very clear.
Scrum offers us project management methods that allow us to adapt to every project's specific needs at any moment, in a straightforward and quick manner. Our recipe for success consists roughly of interdisciplinary and self-organized topics with a shared decision-making protocol.
This method's main advantage is that the working times to meet an objective are short and they tend to mark the delivery time for each part of the project. This aspect lets us work in phases and achieve quick and continuous delivery of the project's deliverables. Also, in the case of any change from the client, it's easy for us to factor it in without causing delays in the predetermined deadlines.
How do we introduce the Agile Methodology and Scrum into virtual teams?
The crucial factors for working with virtual teams are to be organized, have crystal clear objectives, and establish effective communication channels that let everything run as smoothly as it would in a traditional unit.
We're now going to take a look at the essential steps for decentralized teams working in an agile way. Keep these in mind when it comes to making your sales strategies and deciding how your team works:
Create clear processes with Agile/Scrum ceremonies
Agile projects follow some cyclical procedures where the ceremonies where the team and the client intervene are critical. They originally arose as quick meetings to follow up on the project's progress and detect possible problems that could occur.
In general, as the image below depicts, we number all the tasks that need to be completed in the project with help from the client, and we establish priorities to signal all the deliverables. Afterward, we determine the length of the Sprint, which can range from one week all the way up to four weeks and then we decide what tasks are going to get completed in said sprint. Up until the delivery day, we have daily 15-minute meetings to find out what every team member is doing, what obstacles have come up along the way, and what they are going to do before the next meeting.
Once the Sprint is complete, we present the work to the client, and after that, the team gets together to detect potential improvements and conduct a retrospective analysis of the project thus far.
The main ceremonies in Agile and Scrum are:
Sprint Planning Meeting.
Daily Scrum Meeting.
Sprint Review/Demonstration Meeting.
Sprint Retrospective Meeting.
Use management and collaboration tools
Salesforce is a business management CRM that allows us to automate many processes, save time, and organize our activities on the same platform. It’s a very useful software if you want to explore the digital transformation of your business and it allows for sales enablement within the organization.
Within Salesforce, we have a reporting tool to break down the tasks of each team by project and calculate the time invested in each activity. It’s not the only way to do it: you can use other apps like Trello, Asana, or TaskRay which allow you to track virtual teams and ensure no one loses track of tasks assigned to their name.
Take advantage of technology to be closer
With video calls and chats, it doesn't matter if you're at the desk next to somebody in the same office or 100 kilometers away: we're more connected than ever. And that's a benefit when we’re talking about agile methodologies and being able to maintain adequate and fluid communication.
For resolving issues quickly, a good alternative is Google Chat and Google Meet to have meetings and ceremonies virtually. This way, team members are equal participants, no matter where they are located, and we can all efficiently communicate. Agile methodologies in human resources are important because they help improve the work environment.
Distance is no longer a barrier to creating an efficient, coordinated, and cohesive team, thanks to the Internet and new technologies. By applying these ideas, any company has the chance to expand its boundaries and work with virtual teams without it negatively impacting the quality of the work it puts out. The performance figures can even improve: here at We Are Marketing, our figures have improved.
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