With the increase of remote teams, agile adoption is also increasing. Some people think that is not possible to be agile and remote at the same time, it has some good and bad things. But with all the existent tools nowadays, being agile and remote is the best you can do.
One of the biggest challenges about remote agile teams is the role of the scrum master. Scrum master on scrum.org is defined as the person responsible for creating a scrum environment. I mean, to encourage the agile culture. All of these are possible by teaching the team the principles, values, practices, and rules. But how a scrum master can promote all that stuff if the team is remote? Here we will give you some tips to be the best Remote Scrum master
Setting the Environment:
One of the best ways to encourage an agile environment is trough feedback. Teach your team to express the things that are not working. Always thinking about improvement (this is not a time to complain neither). The aim of feedback is to receive information about the member's behavior that will help you to understand why the team is getting back on the agile adoption.
The best moment to encourage your team to provide feedback is on the retrospectives sessions. With retrospectives for Jira the culture of feedback is easier to obtain. Something you can do is add all the team on a videoconference and star with a social conversation that will make the members feel more comfortable. Then give way to the work process, call the people by their name and encourage the team to speak openly.
You can help them by making some questions about the blockers you see on the daily-standups.
One advantage of this kind of tool is that is you want to maintain the feedback anonymous you can do it.
Another good tip to increment communication. This one is very familiar and maybe a little bit repetitive but if you achieve the communication all over the team the other points will be easier. Transparency is the basis of a good agile adoption, so be sure all the team is good with his job. One of the easiest ways to see the behavior of the teams is through the daily stand ups where you can see the members' progress and speak with everyone.
You can also organize a meeting between members that you know will have a good work dynamic together but they don’t know each other very well or because they feel awkward, this not just helps the member to solver their problem this will increase communication and confidence.
Being on another planet is even more possible when working on a remote team. You have to find the way that all the team feels the commitment to participate in meetings and looking for improvements. That’s why we always see engagement on agile adoption. Because it is essential to maintaining the team on the same channel.
You can avoid the distractor if you define your process, which will be extremely defined by your backlog. But all the teams have a backlog, the difference is about teaching the team how to prioritize tasks. The highlight of agile teams is the self-organization and cross-functionality, but remember that the best time for a harder task is now. Make a little agenda for your next meeting, and make everyone have a copy, these will know about what will be the meeting and their minds will be prepared for it.
Note: Maybe you want to maintain the group on the work conversation and you will want to avoid the social conversation, but remember that this kind of communication isn’t common on remote teams so avoid it when possible.
In Forbes' article they talk with Nahia Orduña, Senior Manager in Analytics and Digital Integration at Vodafone who gives some tips for focus meetings.
It is essential to have a clear etiquette as:
- be punctual in virtual meetings
- mute yourself when you are not talking
- be focused *turn on your camera.
- engaging the audience
- ask questions
- use virtual polls and quizzes.
Scrum.org, says that the misconception of time is one of the problems on collaboration. That’s why the focus and the agenda on the other paragraph. To be sure that your team is not losing time in the meetings be aware of the next points:
- Make sure your team isn’t having a meeting longer than two hours.
Making short meetings is not the solution, it can make your time feel stress. Give enough time
You are responsible to make the timeboxes, so be sure to respect them and use the time wisely
Follow the agenda, just let the external topic get in the conversation if it’s really important.
Help the team to schedule the meetings and make sure everyone is satisfied with the time agreed
Tools are always the best way to bring efficiency to the team. The best part of the following tools is that you can have all the agile events necessary for your remote agile team. By now we are only talking about them superficially but in our next post, you will learn more about them.
Remember that we talked about self-organization? Helping the team to estimate and prioritize the tasks for the next sprint is possible with this tool. You can organize a meeting with your team and reach accurate estimates using the Scrum Poker technique.
The daily standup doesn't have to be a headache anymore. This bot will help your team to report their daily progress according to your team process. It can be daily, two times per week, every time you decide that is better. The information is always available always you want and you can see if your team is having blockers. This helpful bot is also connected to Jira, so your team can reference their assigned tasks in their status update.
One of the more beneficial events of Agile methodologies are retrospective sessions. With this tool for Agile Retros, you can run the event remotely. You have a board where your team inputs ideas based on the template you chose (stop/ start/ keep doing), collectively discuss & vote. The best part is that it keeps a record of all the important action items and you can even assign them and turn them into Jira tasks to make sure there's a proper follow-up.
The most important part of an agile team is to make sure to promote Transparency & Collaboration. Find your own ways and the agile adoption will be more present every time.
Are you in a remote team? Trying to improve your remote practices? Check out our products for Agile teams at SoftwareDevTools. We focus on making agile ceremonies more effective and easier to adopt for remote teams.
Check out our Atlassian tools:
- Agile Retrospectives for Confluence
- Agile Retrospectives for Jira
- Scrum Poker for Confluence
- Scrum Poker for Jira
- Stand.bot for Slack: A bot to automate daily updates.
- And for Slack also!