Time to blend virtual and physical agile environments

by | Jun 17, 2020

2020 has changed everyone’s perception of working remotely. In prior years there was uneasiness with management when employees would work from home. Even colleagues would jest when someone would join meetings through a conference line. Although they know the individual is productive, the stigma is there.

COVID-19 changed all that. No longer is there any uneasiness or jokes. Teams are still able to deliver remotely without much impact on productivity. The rate of adaptation would vary per organization, based on the culture, where the end result could have taken longer than others, in the end, it is how the organization as a whole worked together to get there.

In Niraj’s post he discusses the three pillars or organizational agility:

1. Ensuring Proper Remote Working Capabilities

2. Creating a Flexible Company Culture 

3. Investing in Technology That Drives Agility

The 3 Fundamental Pillars of Organizational Agility

Author: Niraj Ranjan


Now there is a strategic thinking process going on of what to do when the current crisis is behind us. In a previous post, it was discussed what an office would look like when employees come back and why there would be a need to have people back in the office.

Looking at the Agile Performance Holarchy© one of the 6 main performance circles is Providing. In Jeff Dalton’s book Great Big Agile that goes into detail of each of the performance circles he sums up this particular one like this:

“As an agile leader,

I want to foster a continuous improvement environment, and engage with agile partners,

So that agile teams can grow their capabilities”

So the critical piece organizations need to think about is how to blend what is currently being used to allow remote work to continue with people back to work in the office. What management needs to focus here is to become the “servant leader” the teams need. They can provide direction and ideas to foster conversations, sometimes a nudge is needed to get the ball rolling. Letting the team themselves work through what is best for them to do the work will get the best results for everyone.

Here are some guidelines that can help:

Mixed collaboration

Previously an actual Obeya Room would have the information that anyone could walk in and see what is going on when they collaborate. Adding the use of online tools like Confluence to report metrics helps with the real-time, or near real-time, updates. For 2020 those forms of media and reporting have taken on a new level of importance as teams work together and the stakeholders get there information.

There is no need to change much with this. Web conferencing tools have taken the lead with ensuring there is collaboration between team members. Where the changes will be is ensuring the information in the actual room is in sync with any virtual one. Continued use of virtual whiteboards and Confluence type of pages will take some getting used to. Investments will be needed to digitize the room. In doing so there is a an implicit strategic outcome that has already in use for disaster mitigation. Once things are digitized it will be easier to keep the information intact.

Adding conference room camera has some benefits. It will allow remote workers to direct the camera themselves to different parts of the room to view information.

There isn’t one solution that will fit all situations, the above suggestion may or may not work for an organization. As per the user story for Providing above leaders need to foster the environment, and engage with teams. It is all about the teams working together to drive out the best solution for them. It was done early in 2020 and it will continue to be done going forward. Leaders need to keep the three pillars in mind while the organization works through keeping the agile foundation strong.

We have added an package assessment tool and Agile Foundation assessment to our site. Check it out, will only take about 5 minutes each.

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