Remote Work has never been more important than today
But even before the COVID-19 crisis, remote work has been a trending topic. Working remotely holds a lot of potential: Meetings with colleagues, customers and business partners can be held virtually via video- and telephone conferences, work tasks can be completed online and the work location is flexible.
But the more participants join a virtual meeting, the more complex and costly working remotely becomes. For this reason, the basics of remote collaboration are vitally important when it comes to scaled agile working. In our blog post we show you the most essential tips and tools for effective remote meetings!
Whether Scrum, Kanban or SAFe: You should always keep the following in mind for your remote meetings
We often notice that there are delays or disruptions when a meeting takes place remotely. To maximize the efficiency of the interaction, it is important that each participant follows basic rules and is well prepared before the meeting.
6 basic tips for effective remote collaboration:
Be on time
It is best to arrive at meetings a few minutes earlier to have enough time to get settled.
Before the meeting starts, make sure that there are no technical issues.
Turn the camera on, if possible, to improve collaboration and team spirit.
Be attentive: that’s how to ensure productive meetings and show mutual respect!
When you’re not the one talking, mute your microphone to avoid background noises.
Schedule breaks: A break of at least 15 minutes every 1.5 hours is recommended.
Additionally, a proper preparation and organization of the meeting are of great importance. But what exactly needs to be considered?
Best practices for preparation & organization
The moderator of the online meeting is responsible for a structured sequence. To ensure this, an agenda should be defined. The moderator should pay attention to realistic timeboxing, set focus points for different topics and make scheduled breaks visible.
Already before the meeting, participants should be informed about the meeting structure and status quo transparently, so that they can prepare themselves accordingly and are aware of their roles in the meeting.
For larger meetings it is also recommended to do a test run and appoint a facilitator who is familiar with the tools being used within the meeting. These steps shall ensure that all meeting participants have access to and are familiar with the tools being used. If this is not the case, a short individual introduction can be made in advance. But which tools can be used for communication and collaboration within the meetings?
The best tools for communication and collaboration
Normally companies already use specific tools for internal and external communication and collaboration (e.g. Skype for Business or WebEx). Instead of purchasing new (often expensive) conference and chat software, you should have a look at the efficiency and functionalities of the existing tools. If the tools don’t have all the functionalities required, additional tools can be used depending on individual needs. We are happy to advise you on this topic.
Once the preparation is completed, participants can look forward to the upcoming meeting – because they know exactly what to expect. But what should be considered during the meeting?
Best practices during remote meetings
To create a good working atmosphere, the moderator should schedule the first minutes of the meeting for small talk. This gives the participants the opportunity to get together and sort themselves.
As soon as all participants are present, the virtual meeting can start: As an introduction, the moderator should briefly explain the agenda as well as outline the objectives and desired results. In order to keep planned timeboxes, online timer tools (e.g. Cuckoo) can help.
Success criteria and tools for a productive remote meeting
When individual participants present their work results, they should share their screen and switch on the camera. This way, other participants can follow the presenter and interpret his/her gestures and facial expressions.
If certain points are unclear or questions arise during a presentation, they should be asked using the chat function or at the end of the presentation. It is advisable to avoid interruptions while a meeting participant is presenting his/her results.
At Retrospectives, the moderator moderates and records the team’s feedback and suggestions for improvement. There are various tools available for this purpose, which are very helpful in online meetings (e.g. mentimeter, surveymonkey or funretro).
All improvement measures and decisions made in the meeting should be documented online and made available to all stakeholders. This makes results and next steps visible and transparent at all times.
But how can work results be made available to all stakeholders?
Seamless documentation for remote meetings
There are specific tools making your work easier and providing a clear and structured documentation of work steps and results. Here is a small choice of common tools:
- Atlassian Confluence
- Atlassian Jira
- Microsoft SharePoint
Our conclusion: working remotely
Whether you are organizing PI Plannings, conducting workshops or planning sprint meetings – remote meetings require disciplined and organized collaboration.
However, it is quite normal that the first virtual meetings are not always running smoothly. But if you follow the basic rules, prepare well and use the tools presented, you’ll soon celebrate a joint success!
If you have any questions regarding the use of the appropriate tools for remote work, or want to perform an agile transformation, feel free to contact us!