Next level Ways of Working (WoW) in Virtual World

Next level Ways of Working (WoW) in Virtual World

Anurag Singh
13th Jun, 2021

Time has changed, Era has changed, the virtual world is now and the New Way of Working is evolved, people/Team members are distributed, working remotely from different locations and heavily dependent on Tools and Technology to connect. By Now, we have seen and experienced Remote Working in and out and are now in a better state to compare and improve to lead the teams toward Hyper Productive Culture and Environment.

In the changing world, Being a True Agile Team and following the Agile Principles, and Agile Manifesto, it’s important that how quickly we respond to the change and further Accept & Adopt the ways to tackle it to make the New Way of Working a WOW experience and lead the teams to become hyper-productive.

Tough Test of Teams is ahead.   "Improving is more important than continuously Doing." Distributing this whole write-up in 3 parts to precisely illustrate the content with the My Practical Experience:

How to identify the Challenges/Exercises to observe and identify the challenges faced in the Remote/Virtual Way of working

A. Wheel Of Change – This is a simple and interesting exercise. It becomes very easy to categorize and observe the pattern/trend by people’s experience in an easy game way. (Pic attached for ref#1), It has two halves, four Quadrants, and their subcategories –

  • Creating (Adding, Inventing)
  • Eliminating (Eradicating, Reducing)
  • Accepting (Making Peach, Delaying)
  • Preserving (Maintaining, Improving)

All team members need to just share their observations of Remote working and it has to be listed first. Later once everyone has shared their observation, then collaboratively it needs to be categorized into the 4 quadrants, which makes it very easy to understand what the things are to change and what other good things are.

The Secret to Becoming the Person You Want to Be – Marshall Goldsmith

B. What-If Scenario Exercise – This exercise is a Proactive approach to identify any problems which may occur. With the Team, this exercise should be done to foresee the worst-case scenario and accordingly the solution could be identified to get prepared and be ready for it.

C.Waste Effort/Blocker/Impediments/Issue Log/Tracker – This Tracker helps to get a centralized log of the problems/impediments/ Waste Efforts and Issues faced by the team with additional details to quantify the severity of the problem to be resolved in resp. order.

D. Retrospective Ceremony – Retro event, Sprint after Sprint is a continuous exercise to identify what did not go well with the help of various themes to make it easy to collect the inputs from the team.

Major Challenges/Problems faced/identified

  • Network Issues and Power cuts/outages are causes of intermittent disruptions. A blocker to work with full efficiency and cause of frustration.
  • An ergonomic office-like sitting arrangement is not available at home, causing health issues (I.e., Back pain, Neck pain, etc.).
  • A Semantic gap, working from home, Individuals, and interactions that are dependent on tools and technology, sometimes in virtual calls, we assume that another person is listening but might be due to tech issues he/she could not hear, and then the information exchange in virtual communication is not 100% complete and it couldn’t be realized also that what and how much info is missed at either side.
  • An office-like setup/environment is missing and in the current situation where there are other family members also working from home then finding a suitable isolated place is challenging and further to those who all have younger kids or babies, finding it tough.
  • Lack of Classroom Training and Learning sessions for New Joiners which is effective compared to the Virtual world of training and learning.
  • Psychological Safety/In-Security and Isolation
  • Tough to follow the Schedule or Routine to Start and Stop work and take timely breaks. Overworking.
  • Effective and Timely Communication
  • Team Collaboration

Solution/Resolution to lead the teams toward hyper-productive in the virtual world -

  1. Extend an Extra Arm - Facilitate the Team to get the Best Internet connection in their area and an arrangement for UPS to supply the power to the Router in case of Power-cut. An additional aid to reimburse the Internet bills and cost of other required items up to certain limits.
  2. Timely communication is the key in distributed working environment bring in a Secure and Borderless workspace to maintain business continuity and deliver on your client’s needs in an agile manner with the help of tools (i.e., Team’s WhatsApp group, Slack, Google Duo group, etc.).
  3. Health is wealth – Sensitize the team to take care of their health. People First Approach, change in the pattern of Daily Standup to start with the Health/Well-being updates of the team and their family. Generate a sense of EMPATHY.
  4. Accept and respond to the change quickly to make a balance by gradually enhancing the situation and creating an office-like environment at home going forward where family members are supporting you to work efficiently. Treat and inculcate the sense of agility in House members as well and practice being Agile at home as well 😊
  5. Promote (through the coaching and mentoring stance) the core areas of sustainable delivery - Develop, Demo & Deliver business value REMOTELY.
  6. Facilitate timely communication, one-to-one with team members, and time-to-time communication and address from the Leaders, it helps to manage the Psychological Safety of Agile Teams.
  7. Friday Learning Session (TogetherVLearn – Enabling Agility), Fun sessions & Fun exercises, and weekend challenge game by the team for the team to keep all team members engaged, socially connected, and united in the virtual healthy team environment.
  8. Share the learning and recommendations from the Team with the Higher Management in the Org to seek Org support.
  9. Lookahead Plan, Improvement Plan, Risk Management Plan
  10. Gamify the Agile Events with Innovation and Ideas.
  11. Start Slow & Fail Fast involving everyone, get a prioritization of Tasks Personal and Professional with timing, and gradually the Brownian motion will be aligned to pick up the swift velocity.
  12. Focus on the Here & Now rather than on the distant Past or Future. Helping the Team improve their own performance by helping them learn because it is a Truth that Individual always has the answer to their own problems.
  13. Help the transition process of the team from Unconscious Incompetence to Unconscious Competence.
  14. Enhance and increase the sense of Responsibility & Ownership In the team and foster Self Managing & High-Performance culture.
  15. Follow the ADKAR model of Change to Coach the team to adopt the change and become Hyper-Productive 
  • A – Awareness of the Need for Change 
  • D – Desire to Support and Participate in the change
  • K – Knowledge Of how to change
  • A – Ability to implement required skills and behaviors
  • R – Reinforcement to sustain the change

Finally, the Summary and Recommendations are based on my experience. Flexibility & Resiliency is the Key-to-Success, so other than imposing so many new changes if we let people plan their work schedule as per their ease and comfort making a balance between Professional and Social schedules then more than half of the things are done. One thing I always experience is that people are mature enough and always have a sense of responsibility & ownership, it is just the state of mind which should be aligned (if distracted) towards the Agile Mindset and that's it, rest and next would be the automatic outcome because -

Agile is a philosophy and Agility is a capability.

Also as Agile is an empirical process so the evolved form of Agile Manifesto #1 wherein the current world we are more dependent on tools and technology for interactions, it sounds better when we say:

Individuals and Interactions Over   With Processes and Tools.

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