How can we use Agile/Scrum after COVID-19 pandemic to speed up?

Agile is one of the best and very essential work methodologies. The mindset of agile and methodology has a lot to teach us as to how to work effectively when working differently. But here the question of how we use agile to speed up the process after this global pandemic is over. The COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down everything in the world. This requires a fast pace work for the companies to stand again on their feet to come in the line of competition again. Agile is very popular for companies and organizations that seek innovations, speed, and focused customer priorities. It is not the tool used by the IT department rather it is used across the whole organization’s functions. This is also the fact that those companies that use agile throughout their companies are the most successful.

Agile has some really useful benefits which would be really helpful after this COVID-19 situation and the reasons behind are –

  • When things are uncertain then agile provides a regular routine pattern to move forward. When you are virtually standing with your team and reviewing the work then it inculcates a sense of positivity about the normalcy of the situation.
  • Agile also permit for quick shifts like when organization need to change the priorities or their approaches towards their goals. Agile is also used to split the work and accomplish targets bits by bits. when the situation like the current pandemic becomes normal and regular they can go back to a normal pace of working.
  • Agile also empowers the teams to make a decision instead of waiting for permission from the managers. This helps the teams to generate quick and speedy decisions. The COVID-19 has created much pressure on the system  so agile provides a chance to react quickly.

The COVID-19 crisis has promoted the trend of remote working. Agile helps team which are remote to interact. When all are working and meeting up on video conferencing then it promotes collaboration as it equalizes the participants. Agile can help organizations to achieve their goals after the COVID-19 by –

  • Establishing the time deadlines to accomplish the key tasks by time boxing the work
  • Inspecting the work for the quality and partnering with a team member for checking outputs. A kind of constant feedback is necessary.
  • Agile enhance the need for reviewing work rather than just completing and moving on to the next task.
  • Agile also facilitates the teams to make the right decisions over and over again.

Agile can help us during this difficult pandemic situation and also to a new normal life after it. The reason is organizations in the world are not anymore dependent on individual works rather now they are based on an agile mindset of promoting teams. The current condition needs a response based on calmness so that the complex problems can be handled and for this agile is proved to be a beneficial partner in the time of difficulty.

Featured Photo by Shopify Partners from Burst

Steps to take by Change Management during this pandemic for a successful project.

The pandemic has caused havoc in almost everywhere in the World. Affecting small businesses to huge enterprises, every person in the World is somehow struggling from the virus, be it medically or financially.

Where all the people are advised to stay at their houses, businesses need to adopt some certain way to look after themselves too. Managing the people on an individual is being recognized by teams in an increasing number, but that just might not be the case for most organizations. The amount of change and difficulties the organizations are facing nowadays is a great challenge.

Where everyone needs help in this catastrophe, following are some of the measures which Change Management should get involved with during the pandemic, for a successful project:

  • Helping Employees

One of the most efficient ways to adapt to the change in the world right now with their businesses is to include healthcare professionals on their change management team, for them to meet with the requirements of the business.It is vital to greet the staff and the clinicians with a good approach to keep them aware of the type of patients they will be handling, including the patients with the on-going coronavirus. It will be more than necessary to provide all the patients with the care required.

  • Across-the-Organization Communication

Communications should take place regularly for the practitioners to know of all the on-going measures. This way, they will be able to reach as many people as they can who are working in various and different departments, working every second of their day, be it in clinical or administrative departments. One useful point is to make sure that communications always provide a change in improvements in the patient’s care.

As we know, the coronavirus still has a lot of things we do not have information about yet. If the organizations have a firm and stable communication link, they will be able to provide the whole organization with any new information coming out, which will not only keep the staff and doctors safe but will also be a good way to protect the employees. This is not a great improvement in helping to keep the employees safe, but it reduces the exposure in a great number.

  • Change Management and Healthcare Safety

An effective and useful change management strategy can play a vital role in providing the employees with safety, quality care, and surety that the virus won’t be transmitted. Change management is a great way to reach the boundaries and outcomes a society needs during a pandemic, like the on-going one. Healthcare organizations are not alone in this pandemic as the clinicians and employees are also humans after all. They need our utmost support and thankfulness in this pandemic. What we can do is to make sure we do not cause more trouble for any of them in this pandemic and just stay safe.

Featured Photo by Sarah Pflug from Burst

How to Lead the Projects From Remote Location?

Flexible Work Arrangements (FWA) are becoming more popular now, and companies are now witnessing the importance of this approach. Whenever the crisis such as Covid-19 and other such pandemic occurs working from one location for all teammates are impossible. Hence in the challenging times like this, remote work is becoming the need of the hour. Resource management has become more vital now. 

With improved technology, increasing transportation cost, and time, the potential virus spread compelling us to work from remote places. So, let us look at how to lead the project effectively from a distant place. The below five things are essential to run a project smoothly.

  • Coordination across time Zones

If you are leading a team with different time zones, it is more challenging to coordinate the entire team. But the fact is occupying the same physical location allows team members to communicate and collaborate spontaneously. But talking with all at the same time requires proper planning and thoughtful project scheduling. 

In the USA alone there are six time zones are there. To interact with all team members at the same time, it requires proper resource management techniques. To achieve this, you need to have the complete details of every team member where they are living and maintain their time zones. Then schedule a meeting where many of the members can quickly attend. Usually, a few members have to work in odd hours.

  • Build Community Mindset

For the success of any project, resource management is necessary. The same way cultivating the community mindset is vital. While working from one site easily allows you to communicate and get along with each other. The occasional team outings, birthday parties, and many things will make this happen. 

To build the same sense from a remote place, you need to create dedicated digital spaces for celebrating special days of employees. Virtually creating team building activities like virtual games or book clubs etc. will help.

  • Face to Face Communication

The remote working means more and more relying on written communication rather than direct ones. It sometimes leads to miss -communication. Hence to overcome this problem, you need to increase direct communications.

It is important to schedule one to one meeting with employees regularly and make sure it is a video-enabled call. When conducting the team meeting, also schedule video conference calls. It will allow teammates to feel more like the regular team meeting that used to happen in a conference room. 

  • Use tech to collaborate.

The collaboration within the team is the best way of resource management. Using technology for communicating is an essential thing. We cannot rely solely on email communication for everything. But many companies use multiple communication tools, and it often overlaps with another way of communication.

You need to determine which type of tools will most suit as per the situation. For urgent things, you need to use video or voice calls, but for less formal and less critical things, you can use the chat. And using email is required for official communication. 

  • Resource Management by Hiring Remote Ready Employees

For the smooth operation of the project, you need to hire more and more employees who are ready to work from remote locations. Because even your normal activities from an office location, this kind of situation does occur occasionally, so be prepared for such conditions are essential. And hiring those kinds of employees is necessary.

Featured Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

How to keep up the employees or make progress during this pandemic?

It’s a big unknown whether we need to move forward in planning our work or cancel the events which are already planned. It’s just not billing the client or making progress or keeping up the staff busy. There are many things which are involved where we can help each other if you are working in an organization or vice versa. Employees and employer are very sensitive for the ongoing pandemic and being impacted by unknown ghost during these unprecedented times. Thinking and making critical changes or quantifying the risk factors involved for each task or event by itself can help us out.

There are 8 best ways where we can make the progress in a right way –

  • Our first priority is our stake holder or the client who we are doing the work for. Ask and revisit your specification for more details on such pandemic type and take necessary action in sending a written documentation. Stakeholder will love to know all the information which is going on the project and definitely we can sit down and make corrective action in favor to both of us with the ongoing trending news.
  • Scanning your WBS (work breakdown structure) and critical path activities can lead us a long way or this is the right way of approaching to the stake holder for more clarification on planned events. Even we can plan on distributing the future work where people can start working from home and make an efficient progress in billing the client for a positive outcome.
  • Visit the business model or schedule to work on low priority items which can be avoided the massive crowds or a group of people. Scatter the people as much as needed for the best productive results and keep them safe would be the highest priority in the coming days. Work should be planned with social distancing by Project controls team or project management team need to come up with various scheduling options or revisit the WBS (work breakdown structure) to see if they can modify or massage the schedule for the overall project without changing the end date.
  • If you make the changes with your WBS obviously check with your suppliers or vendors or partners or sub-contractors whether they can supply the material or do work in this crisis. Taking notes and coming up with a log from procurement department would be the best way to tackle this kind of situation and can be easily explained to the owners/Stakeholders.
  • Communication is the key point in doing all these or put everything to work. Many employees would like to prefer work from home and communication would rather be very difficult in these type of situations. Try to connect with video calling or phone conference meeting to come up with a plan and make everyone satisfied in your performance.
  • Sharing is always caring in each project and many employees are looking to work in these COVID-19 times for the performance and job security. So try to engage as many people as possible. Employees will love to take that next step in making the changes and accomplishing the tasks for managers. Always come up and give chance for various ideas in the room or in a meeting. Mainly people who are way involved in the projects need to have priority and one idea can change the scenario in planning, execution, quality and close out.
  • Documentation is the key and after one year from now people can only remember the pandemic but not the insights of each particular job. Try to keep each and every single record of the job for any change management or risk management teams to get involved in the coming months. Employees or employer doesn’t know when this pandemic is going to last and need to be having a good control on the job would be better documentation structure.
  • Our best suggestion to all project managers and project teams to track the work before the pandemic started and update the date to the closet date the pandemic started effectively in each region. This will help the stakeholder to analyses the previous performance and compare to take relevant decision.

We would strongly believe these are challenging times for each personnel on the job and taking care of each other by having a cool mindset, flexible communication and help where ever or look after for each other would be the best way to earn your paycheck and keep the employer happy.

Featured Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst

Is there an option for the project management team to work from home?

The work from home is the common word we hear these days. The outbreak of Covid-19 has caused all these situations. When the situation went out of hands, all the states have started to lock their countries. It prevented free moments of people from countries to countries and to worsen the situation many places you are not allowed to leave your home. 

Now the work from the home situation becomes inevitable. And the project also teams not an exception from this. Some of the companies are observing this is the best way to approach. Because in the long run, it might prove easy to do cost management. 

  • Project Cost management

The important thing in any of the activities is money. And the same applies to project teams as well. Everybody knows the pain of work from home, but it is the only option left for running the project. But do you do work from home makes it easier for cost management? 

Yes, the companies must invest in providing the necessary infrastructure to project teams to work from home. It initially, without a doubt, not cost-friendly. But it will become more economical in the long run as it saves them money that needed to provide the transportation allowance, maintaining the workplace and other workplace-related costs. 

  • Work from home is not new!

For many companies, work from home is not a new phenomenon. Some small project managers are allowing their team to work from home since it is easy from the perspective of cost management. And many other big players also fixed certain days of compulsory work from home for its employees. 

Even we have many project managers; they handle their team remotely in the usual days. It mainly saves the time needed to commute between the places, especially in the cities where a traffic jam is ordinary. They can spend those time on other things to run the project effectively. 

Let us look into the benefits and drawbacks of work from home options.

The key benefits of work from home options are as follows.

  • Saves time and money

providing the option of working from home not only helps a project manager to do the cost management effectively, but it also helps employees. Most importantly, they can save the time which will go lost in transporting between office and home, and the money required for commuting also will be saved.

  • Work Flexibility

If you work from home except attending the meeting and other stuff, you can able to work at your convenience. This flexibility will not be available in most of the projects. And with the saving of commuting time, it becomes more advantageous. 

Now let us look at the main drawbacks of work from home. 

  • Difficult to monitor the progress. This monitoring problem becomes more if you have a large team.
  • Technical problems – The problem such as power failure network failure in one or other areas will happen if you continue to do WFH regularly. If it occurs during a crucial time, then it becomes a headache for project management
  • Interruptions from family.

To sum up, work from home helps for effective cost management, but it also has some drawbacks. However, after witnessing the Covid-19 situation, all project leads are compelled to work from home, and many are planning to work at least some days remotely in a month.

Featured Photo by Matthew Henry from Burst