What is the future of Scrum?

In the project world, the Scrum Agile method is very much alive and sweeps all before it. The fourteenth Annual State of Agile Survey of over 40,000 Agile practitioners published this summer shows 58% used Scrum, with a further 18% using a hybrid of Scrum with either Extreme Programming or Kanban. The top five sectors using Agile (Technology, Financial Services, Professional Services, Government and Insurance) have experienced increased project speed and adaptability, reduced project risk and reported improved business value delivered and customer/user satisfaction. It is also no longer limited to software organizations, with Agile principles and practices increasingly being adopted in Operations, Sales/Marketing and HR functions.

There are still challenges to its adoption, with some organizational cultures at odds with agile values, a lack of leadership support, and inconsistent practices and training given as obstacles to exploiting more of Agile’s opportunities and benefits.

While working in teams, one-to-one can be preferred for Agile methodologies, 81% of those surveyed confirmed that businesses are promoting distributed teams, collaborating across the world regardless of time zones. The current worldwide health crisis may provide additional incentives to move from co-located to distributed teams as the “new normal”.

18th November 2020 sees the launch of the new Scrum Guide, by its creators Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland, to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of Scrum. Scrum in the Agile world goes from strength to strength.

Of course, Agile projects still need good project governance with appropriately tailored management following APM or PRINCE2 best practice or adopting AgilePM as promoted by the Agile Business Consortium. Start, or continue, your Agile project management journey with Elite’s suite of courses.

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How to expertly manage remote projects

These are challenging times. We are all having to adapt the way in which we work, and there are many challenges to overcome. So, what happens to that project you were collaborating on with your team? What are the challenges you are now facing trying to get that project delivered? These are the questions that many project managers and team members are facing right now.

A new way of communicating

One key area, and this is relevant for the entire duration of the project, is Communications. No more quick daily standups around the team board, or a quick face to face meeting once a week.
We are now facing challenges trying to communicate with our team online. So this is not a big deal surely? Aren’t we just replacing face to face with online meetings? Remember that virtual or remote communications can cause significant barriers to communication. We aren’t able to read body language, sometimes pick up on facial expressions, and can even miss out on the tone of voice due to technical difficulties.

Adapting to new challenges

So how do we overcome this?

  • We need to plan our communications carefully. Clarify the objective of the communication and think about the message you will be conveying. This is an important step for any communication, but more so when doing it online.
  • Carefully consider who you invite to the online communications session. Think about your objectives, and who you need there to meet them. Too many unnecessary people often result in side discussions, that can distract from the main objectives.
  • Think of ways you can check peoples understanding during the communication, we don’t want anyone misunderstanding messages or being left confused.
  • Think of ways to deal with technical issues like out of sync speech and video, maybe switching off video once initial introductions are done for example.
  • How to deal with background noise, for example I have recently found that when all microphones are left on, sometimes something happening in the background of one participant, can distort or affect clear sound for the person speaking. Sometimes getting everyone to mute their speaker while someone else is talking, is a great way to deal with this.
  • Consider if any follow up is required following the communication seesion, for example if there were action items, a follow up email might be ideal to clarify what was agreed.

Remember you are likely to need to meet and communicate virtually with team members and stakeholders, on a regular basis throughout the project, so always make sure that you are following clear guidance to get the most out of your meet up.

There are many more challenges that you will face when trying to deliver projects remotely, contact Elite Training and consultancy to find out more about our one day course which looks at some of these challenges and offers practical tips on how to overcome them.

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