Agility in Remoteness: The Resourcing Perspective
Agility is hailed as the modern project savior. With the early ‘90’s witness to a series of projects crashing, project managers were tasked with going back to the drawing board to see what caused things to go amiss. Software developers welcomed the Agile Manifesto with open arms due to the fact that it eased product releases and gave them a breather between tasks.
However, adopting an agile framework takes work, not to mention your staff’s unanimous support. Merely introducing it and leaving your teams to figure out the details for themselves would feel more like an imposition rather than beneficial venture. What makes agile a success is when your staff know instinctively how to upskill for niche projects. Plus, involving them in the research phase of the decision making arc lets them adapt to changes affecting their professional commitments.
In fact, with 17% of IT projects threatening the very existence of firms, one of the suggestions McKinsey’s 2012 business function report recommended was to build effective teams by aligning incentives to a project’s overall goals. Failing to factor in the human quotient and finer nuances of personalities results in lowered productivity and increased inefficiency, not to mention a widespread mismatch between roles and skills.
One of the many duties of a project manager is to repurpose teams by their experiential confidence, advisory and skills prowess. In order to appreciate how remote teams, particularly ones dispersed across the globe, are functioning, it’s important to decode their thought bubbles, both after a project is delivered and before the next one comes in. Let’s discover what the other side of the coin has to say about improving the practices of working remotely!
Making the Work-From-Home Case
Several companies worldwide offer their employees the chance to work from home, either as a permanent or temporary option. This offers a floating workforce comprising different resourcing types and instant flexibility. Be it scheduling work or negotiating pricing models, employees feel empowered as well as sufficiently engaged without having to physically turn up at their desk. And with the age of Internet connecting you to your teams in real-time, no meeting, conference or update can ever be missed. Your crew, in turn, become productive without feeling boxed in. Once the pressure is lowered, they can focus on strategizing and creating a contingency plan to counter potential roadblocks. Here’s how you know your ever ready remote teams better:
Constant Communication, Instant Messaging
In order to make communication easier, you’ll need to have complete visibility over your workforce and their projects. In doing so, you have a 360° overview of roles and job types that ensure your staff isn’t flooded with irrelevant information. What’s more, your employees would know the protocol needed to update you of their schedules, informing you of those days they take work home. You can continue to remain informed of how individual tasks in a project are progressing and collate input from team members in line with what needs to be delivered.
With micro-managerial leadership receiving heavy criticism for its helicoptering style, agile teams would welcome the digital perceptiveness that comes with convening virtually. Agile teams essentially comprise of 3-9 members. If some members opt to work remotely, they’ll still find it easier to give their coworkers updates, be it via a virtual stand-up or through other mutually agreeable communication platforms. They can remain horizontal even as new joinees are on-boarded. Moreover, they can coach them and rework tasks live (online) without having to be physically present. Eventually, with everyone’s knowledge sufficiently upgraded, new recruits can step onto the plate to pick up the slack with minimal supervision.
Optimal Work Allocations Versus Mobility
The biggest advantage teams experience while working remotely in this hyper-connected digital world is the fact that they’re informed of each others’ body of work even with several time zones separating them. After all, everyone can’t be online at the same time, all the time! The logical step would be to then factor in different time zones, given that large and medium -sized firms have a worldwide presence. Rather than spending several hours trying to get hold of the right people, you can confirm availability beforehand and schedule tasks for future purposes. This prevents you from over allocating work such that schedules are crammed with mission-critical tasks that are both complex and time-consuming.
As teams in one time zone wrap up for the day, another task force can wake up to run through what was worked on earlier. Team members can even appoint a representative to act as a focal point of support after project delivery to address any concerns faced by clients. Any issues encountered while testing out the finished product can be escalated to appropriate personnel and resolved such that releases are verified on an ongoing basis.
Livewire Talent Engagement
Remote teams risk being forgotten due to the literal rendition of the adage ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Forgetting to factor in their presence results in you missing out on important and instant manpower.
The corporate social initiatives you undertake to capture your staff’s involvement outside work can be dispersed geographically. Building your online presence is the most cost-efficient route which lets your initiatives go viral. Plus, social media offers a participation forum where your employees can recount their experiences on recreational activities and form groups with like-minded peers. What’s more, they can even offer suggestions by location and interest while doing justice to their professional commitments.
In the quest to keep up with the consumer bases’ changing needs, technology is being developed to find manifold uses in every sphere. While a positive work culture stems from inclusivity, constant messaging is instrumental in shaping up a virtual workforce. It not only connects you to a wider pool of talent but also lets you stay abreast with emerging skills that you could find future use for. Your employees can connect potential hires through referral programs and promote your enterprises’ mission statement on internal and external engagement forums.
There is a notion that agile teams are confined solely to the software realm. Today, however, many firms in the construction, architectural and aerospace industries get satisfactory results from adopting agile practices. From holding briefer but frequent meetings to pinning training and work schedules on virtual machines, agility lets your teams don different hats and fuel their taste for adventure! They also get to diversify their interests while remaining constantly informed of trends in their domain, which holds them in good stead during times of uncertainty in the job market.
It’s your turn now to tell us if this post made you reconsider the option to work remotely!