Odds are you’re reading this article at home instead of at the office. 

Business practices and operations have changed quickly – and in some cases permanently – due to the coronavirus. Although some essential staff is still required to go into work, many are now working from home. 

Remote working isn’t new. According to the latest State of Agile Report, 78 percent of organizations engage in some remote work. But it’s never been like this. Whole businesses and entire teams have had to start working remotely. That said, it’s since been widely embraced by well-known companies that historically placed a high premium on in-person office culture. 

In May, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg told employees 50 percent of its workforce could permanently shift to remote work in the next five to 10 years. Twitter and Square announced their employees could indefinitely telecommute while Google stated employees would work remotely through 2020. All of this signals a broader trend of remote-first in the technology industry. 

For software developers used to going to an office every day and communicating with their team in person, having to work from home suddenly can be a bit of a shock. But it doesn’t have to be.

Data from the Standish Group shows that Agile teams can be twice as effective as non-Agile teams in typical times. While we are certainly not in “typical times,” agile teams are typically well suited to periods of disruption, given their ability to adapt to rapidly changing business priorities, disruptive technologies, and growing digitization.

However, the general intention of agile teams has been that they work in the same physical location. This collocation provides higher productivity, more effectiveness, and better decision making. So, what happens when a disruption such as a coronavirus renders this co-location impossible? Can team members work remotely and still be agile?

In a word: yes. 

Agile makes remote working much more straightforward. In fact, agile teams forced to work from home due to Covid-19 are doing impressively well. One can say that agile’s advantage even expands when teams work remotely.

So what are some main differences for agile software development before and after remote working trends? 

Three ways remote working has changed agile software development


1. Scrum becomes cross-functional autonomous units

Fostering a self-organizing, cross-functional team, Scrum has helped companies collaborate, review, and give feedback on project processes. With fixed roles assigned to the scrum master, entire teams addressed issues and problems.

Post-pandemic, daily standups become another time-consuming meeting that leads to more distraction and less productivity. Remote-first working conditions mean Scrum may no longer be the best fit for companies. New processes will emerge, potentially diminishing the need for teams in the first place. Instead, smaller units build resiliency to impact velocity, effectiveness, and collaboration positively.

2. Around-the-clock QA with networked testers

Outsourcing mobile app testing to third parties has been a resource for many businesses for a while. Previously only thought of for cost reduction reasons, third-party partners also help QA testing teams improve mobile app quality and current testing practices

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Many organizations responded to the pandemic’s economic impact by reducing their staff. In a new normal, companies will continue looking for ways to maintain flexibility through remote work. One way is through a strategy of assembling world-class testing groups. Networked testing accelerates agile QA’s benefits by adding a high level of testing expertise, increasing the overall testing strategy’s nimbleness, adapting to demanding projects, and quickly accommodating unexpected situations. 

3. Remote productivity

Agile teams succeed by balancing the time devoted to collaboration with the time dedicated to coding and other development activities. However, as Chris Parnin wrote in his blog, developers are likely to receive a mere two hours of uninterrupted time at the office. He also concluded it takes programmers 10 to 15 minutes to restart editing code after an interruption.

Additionally, a study by the Stanford Graduate School of Business compared identical work done remotely versus in an office and found that employees who work from home were more productive. Put simply, “talk less, do more.” And that’s where the work-from-home trend shines. Just remember that if you don’t equip your development team with concrete guidelines, proper tools, and sound practices, it doesn’t matter where they work. 

For many software developers, remote work is nothing new. What has changed is that the whole team now works remotely. And it doesn’t appear that’s going to change. 

Before COVID-19, the general assumption was that agile teams needed to be face-to-face to work effectively. But the success of remote agile teams during the pandemic suggests otherwise, and companies that encourage this trend while adopting practices to ensure employees thrive will be far better for it.

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Ensure flawless app releases by partnering with an experienced networked testing provider. Contact Testlio for a free demo.

Dog owner, expat, gin lover. Allegedly wise to the ways of digital marketing, PR, and social media. Currently waging a war on mediocrity in communication and storytelling.