As COVID-19 creates unforeseen circumstances for many businesses, technology teams must figure out how to keep productivity, project delivery and morale strong. With many organizational teams remote, but virtually connected, it is important for teams: from leaders to managers, to cultivate good habits that make delivering quality work, while remote a possibility.
We reached out to our own senior technology leaders and asked them to share their best practices and tips on productivity during the COVID era. In this article, we share their tips to help engineering and technology teams become more effective remotely
Embrace Agile Methodologies
Agile is a way of thinking about software development — it promotes the consistent iteration and testing of a project throughout its life cycle.
Over the past 20 years, agile has revolutionized the IT industry by increasing success rates in delivery across software development. Agile is more than just a method – it can be considered the catalyst to productivity.
The need for agile today, is even more pressing for remote teams. The process of product development is volatile and needs a certain amount of creative adaptation to succeed.
Activate (and Stick to) Scrum Meetings
Scrum meetings helps manage projects while delivering value at short intervals. These meetings focus on prioritized delivery, status transparency, continuous delivery, and team accountability.
Scrum meetings help achieve agility because they:
- Are designed to be a short and focused for teams to communicate quickly.
- Are used to decide what is finished, what is needed, and what are the potential roadblocks ahead.
- Help address and remove obstacles or roadblocks that are preventing the team from moving forward.
Scrum meetings make your team self-driven, high-performing, and target-oriented. Starting meetings on time and keeping them short and focused will also ensure teams get the most relevant information out of each meeting.
Determine Roadblocks and Project Dependencies
While agile is great for productivity and delivery, the next step for remote teams is to decrease the technical debt and time-consuming re-work. While home, balancing personal and professional lives is important. To make the most out of the day, and leave room for life as it happens, determining roadblocks and project dependencies are crucial.
According to our senior technology leaders, evaluating runway at every step of the project is pivotal to determining roadblocks and, in some cases, removing them. This can only be done by understanding how much project time, budget and resources remain.
Also, leveraging “run ahead” is equally important. This requires using a small team to ensure the prior team has enough runway to carry out what they need.
Express Empathy – It Goes a Long Way!
COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown has shaken the nature of work to its core. The impact of COVID-19 on our lives, health, and economy has many of us waiting to return to normal. But we all know the new ‘normal’ is likely to be completely different.
In such times, showing empathy is incredibly important for any team. Kitchens have turned into home offices and the lines between work hours and personal time have blurred. Extreme stress can affect the way employees perform. According to a latest research report, social support and empathy are key ingredients to lessen the stress and help employees keep a work-life balance.
Organization leaders looking to maintain productivity and office morale, even at a distance, should start by lending their compassionate voice and demonstrate empathy. It is important for leaders to display genuine support and understanding as people navigate the inevitable effects of the pandemic.
Making working from home more positive
Technology leaders emphasize Strong communication and team cohesion. Over communication, is a top priority for many managers. Organizations that make regular communication between managers and team members a high priority, will succeed in delivery products while supporting employee satisfaction. A quarter of the year has been spent in quarantine, and senior managers suggest the following has been important:
- Scheduling regular meetings, as a group and 1-on-1s
- Keeping the team together by initiating extra personal touches
- Staying social while being apart. For instance, have a virtual coffee session on your next video call.
Keeping Pace with Productivity
It is easier to measure productivity when work is aligned with purpose and attached to ownership. The role of technology leaders now will be to enable and empower their teams. While communicating with your engineers and developers, during this time, it is crucial to lead with empathy and strive to prioritize well-being — quality work and project delivery will follow.
Umesh Joshi, Chief Delivery Officer
Ashwani Dher, Project Manager, Engineering
Ritesh Kumar, Senior Delivery Manager