Are collaboration tools inspiring a new era of agile work? Part 2
Agile working methods face some challenges in the modern workplace. In part 2 of this post, we explore how a new wave of collaboration platforms could help usher in a new golden age of agile.
There have been some tough times for agile working evangelists. In part 1 of this post, we looked at how a reliance on co-location and the threat of remote working can make agile teams less effective.
How forced gregariousness can lead to isolation and exclusion. And the way that some key agile working practices create information silos and unequal distribution of knowledge.
So what part does technology play in the story?
New collaboration tools
In short, it can help make agile methodologies more effective and less noisy. The right platform can help by keeping all information in one place and helping facilitate team syncs. It can provide opportunities for team collaboration in channels that are more friendly and inclusive. Organizations benefit by encouraging a diversity of opinions and surfacing ideas from everyone. The best platforms can emulate and compliment the channels people typically used in agile teams.
How using Workplace can support key agile practices
There are several key practices in agile frameworks:
- Team stand-ups (a.k.a. daily sync meetings)
- Regular retrospectives
- Frequent demos for tight feedback loops
Here’s how using Workplace can enable teams to do them well. No post-its, no sharpies, and no need for after-the-fact digitalization of content.
Agile working scenario
Let’s imagine a team working at a company which recently embraced agile. They have a Workplace group for async communication, for sharing knowledge, for logging important decisions and product changes. They also have a Workplace Chat group mapping the members of the team group for real-time collaboration.
Bots and automation speeds up daily syncs
The team builds a bot. Every morning at 10:00 am the bot creates a Workplace group post and pings all team members to reply to that post. It asks three main questions “What did I do yesterday?”, “What am I doing today?”, “What’s blocking me?”
This automatically includes relevant group members without the need for centrally managed email distribution lists. And because it’s mobile and desktop enabled, it engages everyone wherever they are.
As they respond, team members can link and share relevant documents when they want to expand on a topic (think of the “let’s take it later” during a stand-up). People can be vocal while still being quiet. They can continue the conversation in the same place without switching systems and sync tasks from their integrated tools like Jira or Smartsheet.
And they can use authenticated previews to view and digest key information all within Workplace. It’s quicker. It’s smarter.
Workplace groups enable effective retrospectives
Our team from the previous example has some members working remotely. Being able to iterate on how they’re working is essential to make sure they become more efficient.
But having a retrospective while not in the same room can be tricky. Now they can use group video calls in Workplace chat and connect all participants. They share a group post with a poll to collect input from everyone.
In fact, they can even have one group post per retro column, within their retrospective group (a ‘what-went-well’ column, improvements column, learnings column and so on). People can vote on the most urgent items, have a discussion around them, and document the results as comments right there in the same group.
You save time by filing new tasks from the original post comments
Teams can save time by using Workplace integrations with their favorite task management tool – filing new tasks from the original post comments and importing the discussion straight into the task description.
Not only is that rich content and useful context, it means people can review these comments and track progress during their next retro meeting. And that’s a better way to do retrospectives in the modern workplace.
Live video powers better demos and feedback loops
Demos are a crucial element to any team working with agile. When you’re so heavily invested in the development process you need to be deliberate about gathering feedback from users. Without it, you can’t know if you’re focusing on the right thing. You could be busy building an amazing innovative new product that ends up with exactly zero users.
Live video enables frequent demos and feedback loops with minimal friction
With Workplace Live video, you can have frequent demos with minimal friction. You can invite as many customers as you like across various locations. The whole team can watch, take part and answer customer questions, and gather useful insights.
You can use polls to tease out key questions from people. The comments threads can capture all ongoing discussions in real-time and your team can refer to them later. People can watch the recording later at a better time for them. And as before, you can log and track emerging themes or items in your integrated task or project tool.
Better individual performance = better organizational workflow
These new methods can help organizations harvest the power of agile transparency and faster decision making without excluding individuals.
And the companies that do it right can begin to link these individual productivity boosts to organizational efficiency.
Using Workplace, businesses can remove the natural noise that comes with exuberant agile methods. They can complement the powerful face-to-face team interactions with a viable alternative that helps everyone take part when traditional communication gateways are failing them.
And, in doing so, they can use Workplace to help usher in a brand new era of agile working.
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