As any agile evangelist will tell you, agile teams thrive on collaboration and communication to enable them to produce successful outcomes.
At RZT we’ve become very comfortable with distributed Agile operating over the past 20 years, with the majority of clients located in other countries. From a practical perspective, we utilise a range of online collaboration tools to facilitate both office and distributed working such as Jira and Confluence for Agile boards and documentation, Miro for elaboration, Slack for real-time chat and Google Hangouts and WebEx Teams for online video conferencing and more.
From the outset of the recent COVID-19 lock-down situation we felt confident in delivery. Our experience in successfully operating Agile projects with distributed teams and highly engaged collaboration allows us to continue working with few concerns about the impact of the lock-down ‘constraints’.
ELABORATION DURING LOCK-DOWN
One challenge we have resolved over the years has been how to optimise engagement in the key Elaboration project phase. We have explored many approaches from using spreadsheets to putting cards directly into Jira, but these were a little too clunky and would mean we would lose the ability to see the big picture as it formed.
We have found great results using an online whiteboard tool. We can replicate the utility of cards and sticky notes and today work with one that has the right mix of drawing and sharing capabilities for our needs. This allows us effective online collaboration, documentation and planning.
Using the online whiteboard, the team find it easy to create and record notes against cards (replicating the ability to write notes on the back of the an old styled physical card, something we find valuable). We also apply user defined tags, used to record epics for the card and story point estimates. This enables multiple users being able to view and edit the same board concurrently, which really helps each user to drill into areas of interest without disrupting the broader discussion.
This tool has not only proven to be very effective for our Elaboration process, but also has built in features to allow us to do a broad range of activities such as collaborative Solution Architecture definition.
KEEPING EVERYONE FOCUSED AND ENGAGED
With distributed Agile operating, Elaboration productivity tools is not the only area we have developed insight. The people related aspects of ownership, participation and communication have become increasingly critical.
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