30 Second Review - 10 Agile Practices for Working Together Remotely

2020-07-22 This post is over 2 years old

I’d like to share another 30 second review with you. This time it’s in the 10 Agile Practices for Working Together Remotely talk from the virtual Agile Shift Conference. It concluded last month. But they’ve shared all the recordings, which you should totally check out!. Back on target, The speakers for this talk was discussing BP’s agile transformation journey. They particularly spoke to how this agility was applied to the COVID-19 situation. There was a ton of content, but here’s what struck home to me.

Agility is NOT a strategy

While describing her experience with agile methodologies, the first speaker brought to light a magnificent bit of business intel: ‘Agility is not a Strategy, it is a means.’ I’ve been looking for a way to explain this very concept for a long while. Agility is NOT a destination. It IS a way to get there. Agility speaks about how you move, but not where you are going. I’ve been a part of ‘transformations’ which lacked this vital ‘why’ component of the transformation. Why are we trying to become agile? Because it’s how we’ll get to where we’re going!

In order to spread far, standardize

The COVID-19 situation had affected their(BP’s) agile transformation initiative. Many teams suddenly had to learn to work remote. The speaker wanted to help the organization at large apply what her group had learned. So they needed to share their knowledge.

Her group built a series of internal education tools. They included a presentation to share the operationalized chunks of knowledge and the success stories that go with them. She Specifically mentioned a great deal of standardization was needed . To effective share their experience across the world, in multiple time zones and across multiple cultures, it was a must! Some examples or phrases didn’t translate well to other cultures. Most people learned best from a live instructor, so just doing a 1 time recording wasn’t enough. So her group developed a standard presentation deck, and delivery pattern. And that enabled others to spread the knowledge about the organization.

Now I’ve been presenting for a bit, but up until this point I’d never considered standardizing my slide-deck. In retrospect that feels a little selfish now. Since my professed intent is to serve our community, the ability to reshare would be a must. But hearing how the standardization enabled more people to share and reshare the content, I am seriously looking at what it might take to render some of my talks repeatable for others.

Clarifying Expectation with Yourself

Later in the presentation, the speakers moved onto effective remote work practices. They brought up a common Scrum artifact called the Working Agreement. The Working Agreement is a team’s self-defined ‘rules of engagement’ document. But the speakers took it a step further. They suggested there you need for such an agreement within the home. Especially if both partners are working, having a working agreement over who might watch the children when, or even just when the consistent meeting are scheduled can make a world of difference.
During this discussion, the speakers mentioned the positive psychological impact of having such an agreement, and then being able to do exactly as you’ve set out to do. They spoke about how this builds confidence to negotiate expectations with your team.

But what caught me was the evident connection between being able to trust yourself, and the ability to leverage that success into successful relationships in another sphere. It spoke to me of the internal narrative we all have, and whether it is a defeated narrative or a victorious one. This self-working-agreement might prove to be an invaluable tool in improving that narrative.

So for one hour of listening, or in my case something like 30-40minutes, listening at 2x speed, I picked up three useful ideas:

  1. Agility is a how, not a where
  2. Better service through standardization
  3. Clear Expectations have a wide impact on personal and professional sanity

What will you learn? I’d be very eager to hear what you find! Check out the Virtual Agile Shift Recordings for some great content to start with!