How to scale agile while working remote

To remain competitive, companies today need to be adaptable. You need to be able to quickly respond to the changing needs of your customers and get your team to work in a united front. Without an anchored plan, clear frameworks and the right methods and tools, it can be difficult for companies to scale up their work while managing dependencies between different teams and focusing on the right goals.

In order to quickly change, develop and bring the organization with them, many companies choose to invest in agile methods and tools. In this blog article we will describe what agile work means,some of the different frameworks and how to manage to scale agile and be transparent at a time where many of us work from home.

Want to know more about agile methods and how we can help you?

Definition scale agile

Agile work is a method derived from the Agile Manifesto (2001) which is briefly about welcoming changing demands, encouraging team-to-customer collaboration and delivering continuously. This is permeated in the agile mindset and summarized in the four values:

  • Individuals and interactions in front of processes and tools.
  • Working software in front of extensive documentation.
  • Customer cooperation over contract negotiation.
  • Adaptation to change rather than following a plan.

Over the past decade, a new interpretation of the agile approach has emerged – modern agile, based on the following 4 principles:

  • Help people shine.
  • Deliver value on an ongoing basis.
  • Create safe conditions.
  • Experiment and learn quickly.


Working agile is a developed working method that, unlike the traditional and linear "waterfall model", collaborates with the customer and delivers work in small batches. This leads to faster adaptation to customer needs and thus the market as a whole.

Scaling agile is complex and multidimensional and means simply explaining that you work agile on a larger scale – with more teams involved and in many cases more advanced deliveries. It's about changing the team's skills, mindsets, habits and use of tools to improve collaboration in the organization.

Illustration of two people holding each piece of the puzzle that they are putting together

The frameworks supporting agile work

Today there are several different frameworks that support the agile work. There are companies that create their own models and frameworks, but it can be good to go after something that has been proven before. Below are some of the frameworks that can be applied within the agile approach.

Scrum

If agile is a mindset, Scrum is a framework for getting the work done. The framework helps the team create engagement and deliver value to its customers. 

The scrum framework is based on transparency, continuous learning and adaptation where the team develops and creates experience through the project. Scrum consists of 3 artifacts: Product backlog, Sprint backlog and Increment (Sprint goal) as well as 5 events: Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint review and Sprint retrospective.

LeSS

LeSS – Large-Scale Scrum is a framework that supports the scaling of Scrum. The LeSS framework aims to apply the principles and ideals of Scrum in a large-scale context in a simple way through predefined rules and 10 principles. The principles help organizations create teams with greater responsibility, greater customer focus, and better collaboration where the key words are transparency and learning.

Kanban

Kanban is a popular framework for software development. Kanban has two rules: to visualize his work on Kanban boards and to limit it. The restriction is done by setting up Work In Progress (WIP limits) to get a fast flow.

Scrumban

Just as it sounds on the name, Scrumban is a mix of the popular scrum and kanban frameworks. In short, it is about visualizing and limiting the work according to Kanban, and otherwise using Scrum's events to learn lessons and improve their product and working methods (Inspect & Adapt). Scrumban can be useful if you often get into many cases that need to be handled before the next sprint starts, but still constantly work on improvements.

Illustration of two people working in front of a bulletin board and putting up post-it notes

Safe

SAFe – The Scaled Agiled Framework isa framework that includes structured guidance and working methods for organizations, which promotes collaboration, customization and delivery across a wide range of agile teams. SAFe intends to improve organizations as a whole and to inspire that decisions not only need to come from leaders and managers, but can usefully be decentralized and take place on all the joints and breadths of the organization.

Differences and similarities

These are some of the most popular frameworks for agile work but there are more. Common to them is that they encourage us to transparency and help us to quickly adjust our product and our way of working. This has become particularly important when the Corona pandemic struck last spring and changed our world.

An important part when you want to introduce agile ways of working in your team or organization is to just start! It may feel like an overpowering change to get your entire organization agile but take it step by step. Follow the principles of a proven framework, evaluate, learn, and improve.

Let us help you choose the right agile methods and tools for your organization

Scale agile work with the right tools

Jira Software is a tool that supports agile methods, with a focus on visualization and collaboration. You can scale up the agilethe work of Jira Software and gain visibility and context as well as gaining knowledge to be able to make good decisions faster.

Confluence is the tool where knowledge and cooperation meet. Confluence enables the team to organize their work in one place – visualize information for the team and communicate on common surfaces. Confluence contributes to an open structure that enables information to be shared among everyone in the organization.

The integration between Jira Software and Confluence is smooth and you can in a very easy way link between the two tools.

8 tips on how to scale agile remote

In these times when many people work from home increase the need to be clear and transparent because we do not talk at the coffee machine or overhear colleagues in the office landscape in the same way as before. Clarity and transparency will be especially important if we are to scale the agile work as it involves higher complexity and several involved.

To facilitate work from home requires good and well-configured tools that are easily accessible and transparent. Jira Software and Confluence are tools that enable collaboration no matter where you are. Below are some well-chosen tips that are good to take with you when we scale up the agile work when we work remote.

Illustration of a person holding a computer in his right hand and getting a really good idea

Set up Jira to make it easier for you to do the right thing

  • Clear statuses
    Use statuses relevant to how your team works and clear to those outside your team. Lock the transitions between the statuses to guide you through the way you and your team agreed.
  • View relevant fields
    Just show fields that are relevant to your team and consider when they're relevant. Not all fields need to be visible when a case is created. Having the right field helps you to write the right information as well as for others to easily find it.
Snippet of a kanban board in the Jira program

Use Jira and Confluence in combination for documentation

  • Use Confluence for more documentation
    More comprehensive documentation such as Roadmaps,Personas and analyses fits better in Confluence.
  • Apply templates
    Use built-in or custom templates so that pages with similar information look similar, such as risk analysis in an increment. It helps you get relevant information, and that others can easily find it.
  • Color code and clarify
    There are several macros in Confluence – use for example Info panel and Status to color code and clarify.
  • Link between Confluence and Jira
    Link relevant Jira cases to Confluence pages using the Jira macro. There you can choose which fields from Jira you want to view. You can also link Confluence pages into Jira cases.
  • Use the comment options
    Commenting on cases or on pages, instead of in emails, means that all information is gathered in one place and is available to anyone if necessary.
Snippet of a tab in the Confluence application showing risks in a table view

Create relevant boards and dashboards

Boards and dashboards are visualizations of cases, which are filtered out with a JQL.

  • Create boards based on who is interested in what information, and review which fields you view on the cases (Card layout). Quick Filters are effective in helping you find your way through many cases.
Jira dashboard snipping

Want to know more?

Take advantage of our webinar: Scale agile remote – How to visualize and streamline your work from home. Here you will gain deeper insight into how to optimize your way of working remotely and how Jira Software Cloud and Confluence Cloud visualize scaled work.

ceciliagripwebinar

Contact Us

Do you have any questions or would like help with the agile work in atlassian environments, feel free to contact us!