Published on September 27, 2019
Updated on January 27, 2020
Read time 7 minutes
Agile Project Management for Distributed Teams
Agile project management is an iterative approach to delivering requirements throughout the project life cycle. Likewise, we live in a world where the whole organizational approach to remote teams is finally changing. As a result, a great number of companies are encouraging remote workforces to a lenient extent. The distributed team concept is getting so endorsed that 50% of all of the US Workforce will be completely remote by the year 2020.
Working remotely for the employees is very freeing but the managerial aspects of having a distributed team are far from that. In other words, managing a remote team brings its own set of difficulties and hurdles regarding engagement and collaboration where managers have to constantly rethink their workplace strategy with the changing organizational culture.
Given below is a comprehensive guide for managers on how to lead their remote teams with Agile Project Management strategies for maximum productivity.
Agile Project Management for Distributed Teams
As we have previously discussed that the outsourced software development has increased dramatically in recent years. Companies are finally understanding that there are amazing benefits of having remote teams such as the cost advantage in having dispersed teams from countries that have considerably cheap labor, more space in the main office for other staff and access to a diverse technology skillset from all over the world, etc.
Due to these advantages, more companies are opting for the distributed organizational model for their dispersed troops all over the world. And since 2005, each year the remote workforce has increased by 10% which makes it 140% in 2019, which is huge.
By seeing this advancement in the remote culture, companies have started to adopt the Agile Project Management procedures to work with their dispersed teams.
They use agile project management because it makes sure that their dispersed troops are in perfect communication with each other, among other things, which will increase productivity and they will be able to complete their projects on time.
Also, an Agile team can bring business agility to the table and produce very robust software while working in a very competitive environment.
But this business agility is not easy because large corporations and companies have to deal with a lot of different factors while managing their dispersed teams all around the world.
These factors are cultural gaps, language barriers and time zone differences that make the management of their distributed agile project management teams, difficult.
How can companies manage their dispersed agile teams more effectively?
1. Make your team more Agile
The best thing about agile project management and an agile team is that they are pretty self-organized which results in a higher accountability quotient than the rest of the teams.
Also, when the teams are allowed or given the independence to decide what their next product increment would be, it results in higher project engagement and increased productivity.
All of these freedoms make the team more open and receptive to the actual needs of the customers, motivated to gain more productive outcomes, and ensuring that the projects are a success every time.
2. Equal Distribution of work
One of the major parts of team development is that every team member should feel unburdened and all of the work should be divided equally.
Also, every team member should understand their role perfectly, so as to remove any ambiguity. Also, every task that is allocated to the team members should be done transparently and not behind closed doors.
One thing that the companies are beginning to realize is that increasing the amount of pressure on the team members can exhaust them and that is not good for anyone, because overloaded resources are so fed up that they lose focus and as a result, there is a real decline in productivity.
Lastly, when there is so much clarity and transparency in the project development and team communication, agile project management and an agile team deliver the desired results very effectively and they are motivated to acquire the upcoming goal more eagerly.
3. Establish some basic ground rules
One thing that brings peace and stability to any organizational culture is that the managers set some precise ground rules that enhance team collaboration and ultimately result in increased productivity.
These ground rules may consist of the following points as decided according to the agile project management approach.
- Everyone in the team should be aware of the responsibilities and the role they will play in the company’s development.
- They should be completely familiar with all the different layouts of the communication channels and they should be coached about the frequency on which the information should be shared, and also what to share with whom.
- The company should provide absolute clarity when it comes to the tasks at hand and the proper roles that each team member will play in the project development.
- When the responsibilities and roles are properly defined then there is a low possibility of bottlenecks. This results in faster issue resolution and an increase in the rate of task completion.
4. Conduct Daily Scrum Meetings
Daily scrum meetings are an important part of the agile project management methodology because they increase the team communication about the work they have done yesterday, and how are they going to tackle the tasks today and so on and so forth.
The team leader can use project management tools to conduct efficient scrum meetings.
5. Scrum Scaling
Scrum scaling is an amazing procedure in the agile project management model where every project is first evaluated and before scaling the project, a proper infrastructure is put into place to better understand all the elements related to the project.
This infrastructure helps the team to individually understand what their roles are and what type of trajectory should they follow to increase productivity.
How Orangescrum facilitate the Agile product development procedure?
Orangescrum is an amazing tool that has some incredible features to facilitate product development according to the agile project management model. Those features are as follows:
1. Project Backlogs and Sprint tracking
Project backlogs is a history of all the tasks that are needed to be done to finish your project. It is a sort of wish list and a to-do list combined together that really makes the team more focused on what they need to work the hardest on, but still get the whole job done quickly.
2. Story, Epic, and Story Point
Stories are an amazing collection of the next or advanced features that your project needs, which demands the attention of the team. These tasks (new features) must be completed as per the requirement of the company in a specific time frame which is generally within a week or two.
Epics are the collection of larger chunks of those stories that need to be broken down in order to achieve all of the goals efficiently.
Story Point is a term often used in Scrum Project Management to estimate accurately what the difficulty of implementing or completing a specific task would be which helps the team be more knowledgeable about what they are up against.
3. Velocity Chart
Velocity charts are an indication of all of the tasks that have been committed to be completed by the team for a given sprint.
4. Burndown Chart
Burnout chart is a graphical display of the remaining Estimated Hour vs the Remaining Actual Hour in scrum projects.
5. Tracking the Sprint Progress
Through this feature, Orangescrum lets you keep track of all of the ongoing sprints and the team performance in all of the completed sprints.
What are the Advantages of Using the Orangescrum application for Agile Project Management?
Constant Feedback & Monitoring of the projects:
- Decreases incident response time
- Greater client satisfaction
- Reduces risks
- High-quality product delivery on time
Quick Decision Making & Execution of tasks:
- Better backlog optimization
- You can easily determine the budget and timeline
- Provides clear visual information about what is happening
- Proper future planning is possible
Greater Collaboration & Productivity:
- You can plan for short review meetings
- You eventually get a clear picture of who’s working and who’s slacking!
- Errors are avoidable to some extent
- Encourages regular collaboration for issue fixing
The agile project management model is an amazing strategy that the companies are adopting which helps in increased productivity and advanced team communication. That ultimately results in timely product releases which is the ultimate goal of every company.
Scrum Project Management tools offer a time-based working procedure that is completely distraction-free and forces the teams positively focus on their work without just feeling pressured to just complete meaningless tasks and go home.
The companies learn about the strengths and weaknesses of their employees which results in improved team management resulting in the team generating more positive results in the defined sprint.
This makes the agile project management teams more capable and robust in producing more quality products out of the gates as quickly as possible and immediately shifting their focus on the new things they have to achieve rather than just clinging on to their past achievements all the time.
The Agile product development and employee improvement methods are amazing, and you should really use a tool like Orangescrum to get your troops in line and increase productivity while keeping a close eye on all of their performances. Because when companies ignore their employees, they further ignore the needs of their customers that ultimately hurts the business.
So, all in all, the purpose of this article was to make you understand how vitally important are agile project management practices to keep your distributed teams working together seamlessly and without problems because that’s basically your only hope in this everchanging world of organizational cultures going remote.
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