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7 Agile methods you can run remotely

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Trying to keep your agility while working remotely? Anxious about the idea of not being able to deliver on time? We help you organize your Agile sprints remotely with a series of tips & tricks.


1. How to manage a Sprint Planning remotely?

The Scrum Team decides what can be delivered during the Sprint and HOW it will be done. Even if the team is not together, it will create transparency, a common goal and thus boost team’s motivation.


How you can proceed

  • Share screens while drag and dropping items from product backlog to sprint backlog to keep it visual
  • Make sure your team is available and that everyone has the chance to express themselves.
  • Have consistent time meeting (same time, day)
  • Product and sprint Backlog always available online and up to date
  • Use online planning poker.

💡 Tips: Why don’t you appoint a Sprint Champion? He will be responsible of organizing and facilitating the remote ceremonies


2. How to Kick off your Daily Stand-up Remotely?

This 15 min meeting held at the beginning of the day helps the team synchronize and align on the planning for the next 24 hours. In a remote way of working, the daily stand up is even more important as there is less informal and direct communication with your colleagues. It will also help identify impediments that would slow the team down.


How you can proceed

  • Choose the right tools. At World of Digits, we use Teams for online meetings & Kanban.
  • In remote, nobody is standing up so people might get off-topic. Make sure you timebox the meeting.
  • Get visual to feel connected (turn on your camera).
  • Let everyone get a chance to speak.

💡 Tips: Ask the 3 key questions
What did you get done yesterday?
What will you work on today?
What isn’t going well, and what could you use help on?


3. How to Lead a Product Backlog Refinement Remotely?

The Product Backlog refinement meeting is meant to add details, estimates, and to order items in the Product Backlog, in order to create user stories which are suitable for inclusion in the next sprint. State story points for each user Story. By reflecting on the backlog items before the Sprint Planning meeting, in order to reduce its length. Having an up-to-date Product Backlog enables all stakeholders to be aware of evolutions foreseen on the product.


How to proceed

  • Look at each item in turns and determine feasibility for next sprint > Choose the right communication tool and share your screen.
  • Check that everybody has a common understanding of the items > let the developers, each at a time, explain what they understood, how they will proceed and if there is no need of a further item’s subdivision
  • Keep product vision in mind
  • Use online voting tools like pointingpoker.com

💡 Tips: Overcommunication: Keep it simple but synchronize early and often, unexpected things can happen and it’s ok. The most important is to communicate them as soon as possible in order to take quick decisions


4. How to facilitate Sprint Review (SR) Remotely?

Stage where the scrum team demonstrates the increment and discusses about what was done in the sprint. This allows you to collect and process feedback from the stakeholders, adapt product backlog if needed and foster collaboration.


How you can proceed

  • Announce which features will be inspected during the SR in an invitation (e-mail) to stakeholders.
  • Have a demo application deployed to allow stakeholders to explore new functionalities themselves.
  • Do a round of introduction if you don’t know everyone around the virtual table
  • Specifically ask what feedback you need and avoid vague questions such as “any comments?” that would open the door to feedback unrelated to your sprint
  • If multiple stories need to be demonstrated, focus on the most important scenario for each story

💡 Tips: Use sticky notes to collect and hang feedback as they come along the meeting


5. How to Facilitate a Sprint Retrospective Remotely?

During the Sprint Retrospective, the Scrum Team inspect itself and create a plan for improvements to be acted out during the next sprint. It’s a great way to duplicate your successes and learn from your failures. This is even more important when working remotely because colleagues don’t have direct contacts to communicate and interact.


How you can proceed

  • Make sure that everyone participates and is heard.
  • Turn on your webcams to maximize social interaction
  • Choose the right online tool that can capture everyone’s feedback in one platform, for example miro.com/
  • Choose a realistic number of subjects to be solved in the next sprint.
  • Surprise the team, be creative! Get some inspiration on funretrospectives.com/

💡 Tips: Start / Stop / Continue (What should the team start / stop / continue doing?): This methodology is aimed for quick idea development. Group the topics and then prioritize actions for each of them.


6. Track Project Progress

Measure the current state of the project and remaining effort before the next release to production in order to effectively organize work. With the whole team working from home, it is crucial to be transparent on the state of the product/project/increment. It also helps identifying potential slow-downs and impediments coming in the way. It helps organize work effectively, ensure resources are being utilized in the correct way and finally meet deadlines.


How you can proceed

  • Create a relevant Definition of Done together with the whole Scrum Team to make sure you don’t re-open tasks
  • Create an online burndown chart for your sprint, your project or any granularity relevant for you to ensure transparency in real time.
  • Update team’s velocity and watch out for sudden variations of this indicator more frequently than usual
  • You could send a daily or weekly email with a recap of the progress, what is going well and what are the blocking points.

💡 Tips: Checking in vs checking up: if you are constantly asking the team whether they finished their tasks, then you are checking up on them. Better to check in with people and find out how their projects are going without making them feel as if they are under constant surveillance. And more importantly, you will be in a much better position to provide the resources and help your team need.


7. Agile: Test & Release   

The objective of the Development Team is to deliver an Increment of product functionality every Sprint. If the increment meets the “Definition of done”, the Product Owner may choose to immediately release it. Most of the time, the Definition of done also includes some testing criteria. But testing is not a separate phase, developing and testing are done interactively and incrementally. The objective of the testing is to ensure a high-quality increment that meets customer’s requirements. And of course, releasing the increment has as purpose to make it available to the customers.  


How you can proceed 

  •  Keep a good communication with the whole Team to ensure continuous testing.  
  • Ensure that the team and relevant stakeholders have remote access to the testing environment of the product  
  • Make sure that everyone has a good understanding of the testing criteria and the Definition of done. 
  • As PO, (over)communicate to your Team and stakeholders before and after each release. 
  • Make sure that key users and helpdesk team are informed of the new features. 

💡 Tips: Ensure that a release note is available online, summarizing changes made on the product increment. Moreover, it allows to keep track of improvements made in each product version. 


Do you need support to run your Agile projets on remote? Don’t hesitate to contact us.

Written by the PM tribe

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