How To Deal With Agile Software Development Challenges While WFH

Now that most businesses have gone remote, how can you adapt Agile practices without compromising the quality of your products?

Nowadays, despite the fact that agile methodology has become the first choice of many top software development companies in Vietnam and around the world, it still faces many challenges since employees and companies are forced to remotely work because of the coronavirus.

Agile method depends on the ability to cooperate and solve problems independently. In order to meet the needs of end-users, the method which is considered as a way of thinking of who adopts it requires employees to solve problems together. Although they still have the managerial insight and supervision, they are mainly self-organizing.

The goal is to continuously improve products to achieve customer satisfaction, which is the first part of the Agile Manifesto, supported by the 12 main principles.

The benefits of using agile are quite obvious to many people, but with today’s chaos, there is one inevitable question: how can we adapt the agile practices without affecting the product’s quality when the world developers have now worked remotely.

How To Deal With Agile Software Development Challenges While WFH

1. Direct methods cannot be converted to remote environments

Many developer teams have found out that the agile methodology is not working for their adopted remote environment. For instance, they no longer have access to the physical scrum table. This shift will not only frustrate employees who are accustomed to a certain way of working, but also disrupt the whole working process.

The problem can be solved by…

Reviewing rules or looking for an alternative. If you’re a project manager, make sure that your team understands the rules. If it has been quite some time since they last reviewed, they may need a refresher - especially in such new situations like now. Be completely transparent about your expectation of the agile teams and how they should adapt to meet these standards. Remember to inform your employees of the procedures and any important operational changes.

This may mean massive information, and efforts are required to ensure that all team members are on the same page and understand what they need to do.

Another way is to work with external parties to modify your methods and solve problems. If you outsource a specific projects team, you may find it easier to transfer from one to another environment and solve the problem more effectively 

2. A Lack of In-Person Collaboration

Collaboration is the sign of a successful agile team. But this is more difficult when you are not working directly with each other. With Agile approach, tasks rely on working together in sprint-short, structured intervals of completing the requirements - this approach will be interrupted as the business starts to WFH.

Without a collaborative physical environment, the working culture might face disruption. Without direct communication, there are no professional relationships and your ability to receive and provide timely feedback. In fact, direct cooperation is one of the key principles of the Agile Manifesto.

The problem can be solved by…

Offering remote tools and extra support. This means adding more structure to previously regular cooperation. In addition to providing business support, team members are also encouraged to support each other and troubleshoot when a problem arises.

You can consider some collaboration tools like Slack, Zoom, and internal communication software to promote stronger employee-to-employee communication

3. Reducing productivity

For the WFH crew, productivity can be a challenge since there are a lot of distractions: kids are at home, nearby construction, loud neighbors, or even simple things like the comfortable bed, the cute cat, etc. This is totally normal. We are all human. But this is a problem in Agile because the methodology depends on productivity if it wants to successfully respond to the project’s requirements. When working alone instead of in groups, employees may be unable to bear the distraction or feel responsible. 

The problem can be solved by…

Respecting the team members, but be accountable to them. Time to give team members as much time as possible during this tough time. You might not know all of the challenges your employees face every day, so give them as much leeway as you can during this critical period of time. Simultaneously, you should not lower your expectations for work products. While you should maintain a high work ethic and standard of delivery, you need to accept other methods to produce the desired results.

4. Supervising the remote team

How do you manage a remote Agile team to be exact? In general, in all cases, leaders are more flexible when it comes to mindset. Also, when you’re not working directly with each other, the line between manager and team member becomes… blurred. So how do you monitor your team from different locations?

The problem can be solved by…

Check-in and focus more on distribution. By that, we mean check-in with your staff regularly. This is different from micromanagement, which you should avoid, because you don’t ask them how they complete their tasks and what they are doing on a daily basis. Instead, you see how things go and how your team members manage their own responsibility. Ask them if there are any other ways to support them.

Pay attention to your approach. You don’t want to be a taskmaster. After all, the Agile method is about cooperation and trust. Introducing yourself as another resource that can help all team members to reach a common goal together.

5. Less opportunities for networking and communication

Of course, many people are feeling lonely due to the pandemic norms. This is also true when it comes to agile teams since they often experience daily face-to-face communication. In a WFH case, team members may feel a lack of support and overall in-group morale decrease. Even small things like having lunch together as a whole team, coffee breaks with colleagues, happy hours, etc are missing in the remote environment. These ordinary activities can greatly promote overall office culture and boost working satisfaction.

The problem can be solved by…

Using structured communication and providing socialized opportunities. An alternative to traditional one-to-one relationship is to establish a regular team meeting and collaboration. For example, you can hold regular meetings. Although these need to be more structured than your employees’ spontaneous communication, they will allow you to reproduce the vitality you once had in the office and make the members of all teams to be more comfortable with each other.

Fewer meetings in small groups may also help. You can have Zoom happy hours, reading the same book together, or sharing personal on-going events.

Conclusion

As the whole world adapts to new ways of working, it is important to keep in mind that the challenges the team has to face. Agile principles include collaboration and direct communication, so this mindset can be quite a challenge during the pandemic. But it can be solved. Remember, flexibility is your key in times of chaos.

If you need to know more about modern agile methodologies, you can read our article about Modern agile software development explained by top software outsourcing experts here. TP&P Technology is one of the top software development companies that can help you with your software development project. Contact us now to know more about our software development services and IT consulting services.