In a world where the number of remote workers is skyrocketing, companies that embrace decentralized technologists can benefit from decreased overhead costs, a streamlined workflow, and a broader talent pool.
A key to implementing a successful decentralized workflow is implementing the right parameters. For instance, consider structured project organization, real-time collaboration tools like chat and video chat, seamless file-sharing, and robust reporting systems—to ensure adequate documentation of action plans and procedures.
With the right framework, you can stay connected with team members in real time regardless of where they’re located, keep projects moving forward efficiently even as your workforce grows larger or smaller depending on the project, and stay on top of project progress and deliverables. All of this adds up to increased productivity across your entire decentralized team.
Ever wonder how much you could save with a decentralized workforce?
In the US, the average worker spends about 47 minutes commuting to work each day. That’s about 64 days per year spent going to and from work. Of course, that doesn’t include employees who travel for work or take longer commutes—or those who have no commute time at all. But if we assume that every employee is spending an average of four hours per week on their commute, that adds up to 208 hours per year—five full weeks of working time that a person is spending just getting to and from their job. And according to a recent study by Glassdoor, the average American worker makes $29.81 per hour—which means that your company is paying $6,200 per year for each worker’s commute time.
And that’s not including the cost of real estate. According to the commercial real estate database Costar, commercial real estate rental prices have been steadily increasing since 2016. And many offices require more space than an individual worker needs. Further, Global Workforce Analytics found that most office spaces are only occupied about 50% of the time. So you’re paying for twice as much space as you need.
Agile is a software development method that focuses on empowering teams to collaborate, iterate, and move faster. And when you’re working with remote employees, you don’t have to compromise or adapt to the agile process. The agile methodology can help decentralized technologists thrive.
Agile emphasizes collaboration and communication, which are two critical factors in successful decentralized work. Agile encourages teams to share ideas openly, and it supports a productive workflow by setting clear goals and expectations while keeping project timelines flexible. These dynamics work well for remote teams because they develop a structure that is easy to follow even if you aren’t physically present with your team members.
When working remotely, it’s essential to maintain communication with teammates so that everybody knows what’s happening with a project and feels supported. Agile helps promote this type of communication through its daily standups, weekly retrospectives, and other meetings designed to keep everyone in the loop about how the project is going.
Agile also works well for decentralized teams because it allows people to work from anywhere at any time as long as they’re meeting their goals and deadlines. This flexibility makes it easier for people who live in different time zones or have other commitments that make it hard to stick to traditional work hours.
What about documentation?
Documentation is a critical component of agile teams.
Why? Because when you don’t have a clear picture of the task at hand, it’s hard to know how long it will take to finish. To make sure projects stay on track and hit deadlines, you need to make sure everyone understands what the project is about, what needs to be done, and who’s doing it.
Documentation can be in the form of code comments or wikis that outline what your team is working on and how they go about doing it. It’s also helpful with onboarding new team members and delegating tasks.
Documentation can sometimes be a dirty word in agile development circles. It can feel stifling, and like it slows down your process. But documentation is extremely important for agile teams—in fact, it’s vital to team success. Here are a few reasons why:
- Documenting work items helps clarify what the work actually is.
- Documentation can foster collaboration across the team, especially between members that don’t speak the same language.
- Documentation helps ensure clarity of purpose and expectations before work starts, so you don’t get stuck later down the line if there’s an issue with timing or quality.
- It allows you to communicate with other teams about how their work impacts your own, so everyone stays on track and up-to-date throughout the agile project lifecycle.
- It ensures that you have a record of every decision made along the way, which makes it easier for future agile projects to benefit from lessons learned during previous ones!
Because teams make frequent adjustments and have to pivot quickly to meet changing needs or try new ideas, there must be a clear record of what has been done so far—and why—so that when it is time to make changes, they don’t inadvertently undo or duplicate something that has already been done.
Now that you have the data, what are you going to do with it? Statistical data is a powerful tool for any business. It can help you understand how your company is doing over time, how individual projects are performing, and how your employees are doing in morale and productivity. But if you’re not using statistical data correctly, it won’t do you much good.
What does that mean? Well, let’s say you’re tracking the number of points completed per sprint in agile development. That’s a great place to start. But if you aren’t also taking into account your sprint review scores—or employee morale scores—you won’t accurately determine what’s going right and what needs improvement.
Do you have many points completed but low sprint review scores? Maybe your team is burning through their work too quickly instead of taking time to ensure they’re producing quality work. Are your employee morale scores dropping? If so, maybe you need to implement more frequent breaks or provide better management.
We’ve done some research into this topic, and compiled a list of some of the ways you could be using your data more effectively:
- Sprint review scores—How are your sprint review scores? Do they seem too high or too low? Use them to gauge how well you’re managing each sprint.
- Employee morale scores—Are people happy? Are they having fun in their work environment? Keep track of these scores and track them to see how they change over time.
- Points completed—See how many points you’ve completed in total. Track them over time to see if you’re getting better or worse at completing sprints.
This isn’t just a matter of staying organized—the more you know about your teams’ progress, the better you can support them. If you’re not measuring your team’s velocity, or if you’re not pulling together post-sprint reviews that review the sprint’s successes and failures, then you’re missing out on an opportunity to make changes that will help your team grow.
In a nutshell, agile helps decentralized teams work more efficiently by creating clear expectations and eliminating obstacles to communication.
A waterfall model assumes that sequential processes will be followed, which can make it difficult for teams to adapt to changing conditions. An agile model allows a team to quickly respond to new circumstances, which is especially important when the team is not co-located. Through daily stand-ups and constant communication, agile helps remote teams stay on track even when they are facing challenges.
By leaving plenty of room for adaptation and allowing members of the team to chase solutions as problems arise, agile methods reduce the likelihood that a project will get bogged down in inefficient or unnecessary processes.