Addressing the Challenges of Distributed Agile Development — Free E-Book!
The foundational elements of the Agile Manifesto traditionally place a strong focus on proximity and co-location of individuals within a team. It’s assumed that an Agile team will have a big room, covered in post-it notes, scattered with laptops and the remnants of a nice person’s donation of bagels to the morning standup.
In addition to huddling together in here every morning to kick things off at standup, the team also congregates here to sweat through planning sessions, argue about User Story sizes, bond over Retrospective realizations, and scarf down pizza during a lively end-of-Sprint demo. It’s home base for the team, a familiar place that is nearly impossible to recreate without being co-located.
Or perhaps, nobody really thought about it until there was a good reason.
There’s nothing in the Agile Manifesto that explicitly specifies that people must be located in the same physical space, though it is heavily implied. The way we see it, Agile actually describes a set of behaviors to which a software development team agrees to adhere over the course of developing a software product. Of course, these behaviors are naturally easier to develop when working with people physically in the same room.
This doesn’t mean that our expanding global culture, however, will accept co-location as a limitation of Agile. In the last 10 years, we’ve seen an explosion of tools supporting the remote worker, particularly in software development. Given the most recent statistics on remote work trends from Global Workplace Analytics, this isn’t slowing down any time soon.
One thing that’s become abundantly clear in our journey as a fully distributed Agile development team at Sococo is that solving the technical challenges of digital media-based communication problems does not solve the people-connection problems. Every Agile nerd knows that the heart of a high functioning team beats around the ability to form meaningful and productive relationships on the team. How can an Agile team truly connect enough to get the right work done remotely with the right people at the right time when astral projection and and telepathic communication are not options?
The people element of work is, at its core, a social one and is about connection instead of communication. These are things such as making decisions, puzzling through problems with colleagues, sharing anecdotes and experiences, reaching out, and feeling comfortable enough with people to let them lean in. These types of interactions are spontaneous, and come from the heart. Agile relies on this in order for the absolute best work to get done.
That’s why I put together this e-book specifically for Agile teams that have made the decision to embrace the flexible remote work lifestyle. Our largest customer base is Agile software development teams, and we have worked closely with them to provide an online workplace that specifically supports the environment a high performing Agile team needs to flourish.