How do you stay agile while completely remote? What is your number one tip?

To help you with staying agile while being completely remote, we asked business leaders and HR professionals this question for their best tips. From making face-to-face time to weekly  L10 meetings, there are several tips that may help you to stay agile while working remotely.

Here are six tips to stay agile while completely remote: 

  • Face-to-Face Time
  • Inspect Daily to Identify What is Working
  • Break Up Work into Discrete, Independent Chunks
  • Create “Rules For Your Tools”
  • Hone in Asynchronous Communication
  • Weekly L10 Meetings 

Face-to-Face Time

I can sum up how to stay agile in three words…communicate, communicate, communicate.

The entire Agile Manifesto centers around this, from individuals and interactions, to responding

to change it all requires communication. Put energy into ensuring the teams have ways to

communicate with each other in real-time with as much face-to-face time as possible. Do online

team building, weekly peer 1:1’s, an always-on chat room, anything to allow the communication

to as closely achieve colocation as possible. It is harder now because we do not get the benefit

of sitting next to each other, so we must find new ways to have water cooler conversations and

hear our teammates collaborate “at their desk”.

Raymond Mattes, Best Agile Consulting

Inspect Daily to Identify What is Working

In addition to morning coffee, meditation, and your favorite sweatpants, reaching out often for feedback creates transparency with yourself and the team. Too often, teams working remote sit in their corner and work until they feel something is complete. Unless the team members share throughout the entire process, the lack of transparency could create misalignment with the team, the project, or both which may result in tech debt accumulation. The most efficient and effective method is to inspect daily and identify what is working and what isn’t. Encouraging continuous connection virtually through video conference keeps the lines of communication open, encourages dialog that leads to productive solutions, and facilitates the real-time removal of blockers. No technology can replace one-on-one communication.

Caroline Jones, Western Governors University

Break Up Work into Discrete, Independent Chunks

My best advice is to lean deeper into the agile mindset and move towards full continuous deployment. It will always be much, much harder to coordinate work into a normal sprint breakdown when you have remote work. We just need to embrace that, as it’s likely to last. Break your work up into discrete, independent chunks that can be deployed independently and quickly, and you’ll find that having removed the distraction of the office, the now-freed engineers will actually increase their velocity.

Erik Fogg, ProdPerfect

Create “Rules For Your Tools”

With so many remote tools ranging from Teamwork to Dropbox to Google Suite; identifying how you and your team will utilize them is hypercritical in today’s remote environment. Setting a specific naming structure will help manage and ensure items are consistently shared to eliminate confusion and/or redundancy. Regularly communicating those utilization and management tool structures will ensure your team and tools eliminate the inevitable digital frustration that can occur, if “rules for tools” aren’t established.

Mark Jamnik, Enjoy Life Daily

Hone in Asynchronous Communication

Get good at both short-form and long-form written communication. Use a messenger like Slack for your daily communication. Go asynchronous. This will help you determine whether you need to have time to sync up. See how the team does and decide. At that point, find the minimum necessary time you need to sync up. Scale up from there, as needed. For daily updates, use organized and to-the-point text, with bulleted and numbered lists. Make action items very clear. Think in an abbreviated essay format: Background, Main Content, Next steps. For strategic threads, use Google Docs. Also, think in an essay-like format. Others can collaborate and add their notes.

Husam Machlovi, With Pulp

Weekly L10 Meetings 

I’m not a developer. But, we recently implemented weekly “L10” meetings with our development team to ensure that we stay Agile while completely remote. In our meetings, we will bring up “People Headlines” to talk through accomplishments or time out of office. We will revisit our “To-Do’s.” But most of the meeting is talking through “Issues” that have bottlenecked throughout the day. By addressing these issues together as a team, we’re able to find solutions much more efficiently than if we relied on IM’s or email communication. Sometimes, you just need to get together as a team to ensure nothing stands in the way of accomplishing the work you need to do. 

Brett Farmiloe, Markitors

Terkel creates community-driven content featuring expert insights. Sign up at terkel.io to answer questions and get published.