Optimize Your Work from Home Flow with Agile

As Americans become accustomed to remote work, Agile tools can help managers and employees build strong teams to tackle highly-complex projects.

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, many organizations moved their employees online and embraced remote work. Sixty-six percent of U.S. employees work remotely. Ninety-two percents of employees work remotely at least one day per week. Zippia reports that 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely by 2025. Remote work is common in industries ranging from software to marketing to healthcare and beyond. Though working remotely gives employees benefits like flexibility and convenience, it also comes with a unique set of challenges. Luckily, managers can use Agile Project Management to help optimize remote teams and promote efficiency and productivity. 

Agile gives remote teams more control  

Remote teams must adapt to uncertainties created by time zone differences and lack of face-to-face communication. Although Agile encourages face-to-face communication, Agile also includes many methods and principles that can help optimize virtual communication by taking advantage of the flexibility that comes with remote work, and by giving team members more control over their work processes. 

One agile method, Scrum, encourages daily check-ins. The daily check-ins help the team discuss how to move the project forward and tackle it piece-by-piece. The constant communication and feedback between team members empowers employees to get the job done in whatever way works best for them. It also gives team members more agency and control over the project by involving them in every step of the process.  

Agile promotes collaboration among teams 

Remote managers often worry about how to keep their teams engaged and focused outside of the office. By using the Agile method, managers can help promote collaboration and teamwork – regardless of where their employees are located. Agile managers use visualization and organization project management tools to help employees visualize projects and keep track of tasks. Regular team meetings and brainstorming sessions motivate employees to think outside of the box and continuously collaborate for a better outcome.  

Agile methodologies help teams manage risks and tackle complex projects 

Completing a complicated project while working remotely can be a big challenge, but the Agile method was made to help teams tackle complex, high-uncertainty tasks with confidence. By taking an iterative rather than a waterfall approach, Agile methods such as scrum or kanban break a project down into different stages and encourage feedback throughout the project life-cycle. This helps managers and employees address potential problems, learn from mistakes, manage risks, and respond to any uncertainties that come up during the project’s lifecycle.  

Agile focuses on the product, not the process  

Everyone has their own way of tackling an issue. This becomes especially relevant for online teams, where each member of the team is working independently. Some remote managers might feel pressure to standardize the way employees complete tasks, but the Agile method embraces diversity. It’s a high-quality product, not a standardized process, that is most important from an Agile perspective. Using Agile allows remote teams to decide what processes work best for them and empowers them to focus all their energy on creating a great product, rather than standardizing their schedules.  

For more information on how Agile can help teams adapt to uncertainty and embrace change, check out our blog post on Agile and the COVID-19 pandemic. Enroll in our 100% online Agile Project Management course to begin your journey toward becoming an Agile practitioner.  

Further remote work statistics can be found here.