Software development teams align with the concept of remote working. Outsourcing your talent hunt on a global scale was common even before the pandemic. However, your tech teams still worked in one place and collaborated with stakeholders daily. As a result, managing workflow and projects was an easy game.
Now, most software development teams are working from home. Clients and project managers, especially those who work with the offshore development teams, are now collaborating online, devoid of physical contact. The situation can get challenging for many tech teams, taking a toll on productivity and efficiency.
Fortunately, a method of development adopted by the software industry can also facilitate project management. In this post, we will explore the agile methodology and how it can help you manage and collaborate like a pro.
Additionally, we will take a look at the pros and cons of the agile approach to help you develop a better idea.
What Is Agile Project Management
The old ways of developing software are not suited for the present day. Moving past the waterfall methodology, development teams went agile.
The concept of agile started with the Agile Manifesto. It was drafted by 17 tech experts back in 2001 and outlined four main principles:
- Focus on people and interactions instead of processes and tools
- A reliable product instead of too much documentation
- Listening to customers over negotiating contracts
- Staying flexible to react to changes
Agile software development essentially breaks the development process into smaller sprints. The whole team takes the responsibility of creating a working product. Collaboration is a major part of the agile methodology that makes it an excellent choice for project management.
How to Work with an Agile Remote Team
Going agile needs the involvement of every team member. The team leader or scrum master is also responsible for managing the team and keep things running smoothly.
Here are the steps to work with an agile remote team:
Decide on Technologies
Today, collaborating on the web is not a challenging task. You have reliable tools and apps to help your remote or offshore development team share ideas and information. Slack, Zoom, Skype – the choices are many based on your needs.
Create a list of technologies your team members will use to collaborate. If required, document the tools and forward the list to your team members.
Additionally, you should grant the required permissions to employees based on their roles. You are also responsible for paying for these tools on behalf of your employees.
Conduct Daily Stand-Ups
Remote teams don’t have the opportunity to meet face-to-face. As a result, online meetings have taken on a great significance for remote collaboration. However, many businesses spend too much time on meetings that can be spent more productively.
Using agile principles means dropping unnecessary meetings. Instead, try to have a daily stand-up at the beginning of the day.
Every person on the team should be present in the stand-up where they share their status updates. Each member will take their turn to share what they did over the last day.
You don’t need to spend too much time on stand-ups. Small teams may only need 15 – 30-minutes for their daily discussions.
Apart from daily meet-ups, your team can have dedicated hours for working collaboratively. Here your clients and even technical leads can work together.
Use Project Management Tools
Agile project management is easily achievable with the help of modern project management tools, like Trello. They help your software development team to stay on the same page and keep track of workflow. You can create individual projects, add team members, share updates, and entertain checklists.
Many tools have virtual whiteboards for brainstorming. Team members can write, sketch, or post stuff on the whiteboard for everyone to see and comment on.
Such resources eliminate the need to be present physically to develop your product. Additionally, you can streamline your workflow and make sure all tasks are on track.
Progress in Chunks
Agile development breaks down the software development process into sprints – it helps team members work more efficiently within deadlines. You can also develop a reliable product with end-to-end functionalities.
However, there is no set standard on the amount of work you will include in a sprint. You have to find the right balance based on your objectives. For example, developing complex user stories in a single sprint may not be a good idea.
You will need contributions from many team members who may not be available all the time. So, you may find it better to break the process into smaller sprints.
With time, you will find the right balance to arrange effective sprints that helps you release quicker.
Additionally, conduct a meeting at the end of each sprint. It will allow the whole team to reflect and evaluate the process to find any gaps. These sessions are great to help you find out areas of improvement.
Refine and Improve
It will take some time to get things right with your remote team. Some things will not work out in the beginning, and mistakes will also be common.
You will need to experiment with ways to find the best ones that work with your team. Additionally, your team members will need time to adjust to the new practices.
The trick is to assess and refine your processes for the best results continually.
Pros and Cons of Agile Project Management
What are the advantages of going agile for your remote project management?
- You can develop and release products quicker
- Your up-to-date work helps you utilize resources optimally
- You can become proactive and react to market changes quickly
- You can discover issues as they happen and fix them before it’s too late
- A reduction in the documentation and formal paperwork
- Gather feedback quickly to build great products
- Better opportunities for experimentation and developing innovative products
Now, let’s take a look at the disadvantages of agile project management:
- Documentation can be neglected
- You may find it more challenging to track your progress due to sprints
- Some features may be too expansive to fit into sprints
- Team members may find it challenging to adapt to the speed
- Tracking costs can be difficult
- Scope for unplanned work
Why Agile Is the Best Way for Remote Development Teams
Agile suits remote teams as it’s flexible in dealing with changes. The methodology can allow you to handle any unpredictability associated with working from different corners of the earth.
With frequent meetings and daily stand-ups, everyone stays on the same page. Work is divided into smaller chunks for quick and efficient execution. Less documentation and lets your employees focus on building great products.
Remote teams can boost productivity and do more with agile project management. Just like your development, you can also reduce risks and costs.
Businesses are going agile not only in development but also for project management. The idea of focusing more on people rather than processes is the way ahead. You can build and manage a remote team of developers even if they are spread across the world. Going agile can also help you improve collaboration and help all minds work together to achieve your business objectives.