Adapting Agile during Pandemic

As the Covid-19 Pandemic hit, lot of us moved to remote working conditions in the past years. This remote work has challenged Agile teams to adapt to the new environment with enforced distributed teams. With scrum teams largely working from home for the foreseeable future, we have to come up with solutions to communicate effectively amongst the distractions which is a part of remote work. Distractions in remote setting could vary anything from technical to social disruptions and environmental to personal disruptions. Rather than looking far we can derive some good practices in adapting Agile by the use of Scrum values. Scrum values have always been applicable in real life scenarios. Let’s see how we can apply the values of Scrum to adapt Agile during these pandemic time.


“Your life is controlled by what you focus on.” – Tony Robbins

Focusing on what is important in the project and planning towards that goal is mandatory in times when everything is an emergency. Drilling further down, each sprint goal should be a step closer to achieving the project goal. The focus has to apply to every team member, as the collective focus is what drives the project to completion. It can be achieved by setting specific goals. Specific goals helps to check the progress at regular intervals and get back to the goal path mindfully, if we had strayed from the plan. We can make use of S.M.A.R.T. method to define specific goals. 

“Everyone focuses on the work of the Sprint and the goals of the Scrum team.” — The Scrum Guide


“All sides must learn to respect one another” – Reuven Rivlin

Working from home has a huge impact on the relationships we maintain with our colleagues. Greeting teammates in the morning, laughing together with peers during lunch and solving major problems with boss over some coffee are now things of the past. Understanding the minor interruptions during meetings, respecting the team to be capable of reaching the goals and letting the self-organized team be independent should become the new normal. Being empathetic and having gratitude will help us be more respectful of a person and treat them so. Even if we had not met some of our team members in real life, taking time to understand who they are will eventually help us perceive that there is another human at the end of this line.

“Scrum team members respect each other to be capable, independent people.” — The Scrum Guide


“Openness isn’t the end; it is the beginning.” – Margaret Heffernan

Although we are all dealing with the pandemic together, not everyone is having the same set of circumstances. The differences could be anything within emotional, financial or health. Some people could deal with personal problems and some professional problems. The value which could help us ease some of this issue is integrity and openness. Being open to the team and Stakeholders about the state of the project will help celebrate small wins and deal with challenges as a team. Openness results in impeding impediments which in turn avoids risk management in the future.

“The Scrum team and its stakeholders agree to be open about all the work and the challenges with performing the work.” — The Scrum Guide


“When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses – only result.” – Ken Blanchard

Every scrum team member should commit to do their part at work every single day of the sprint. Committed people use all their power to advance their goals and the goals of the organization and do not limit themselves to do things within the framework or hierarchy. Commitment is not a virtue taught rather learnt by understanding the responsibility each person holds within the team. Dedication and faithfulness to the project and committing to work their part and solving the problems of the team will lead to a successful completion of the project.

“People personally commit to achieving the goals of the Scrum team.”  — The Scrum Guide


“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.”- Maya Angelou

In order to point out a mistake, make amendments, correct the problem, stand up for the team, confront difficult scenarios and challenges require courage. Courage pushes people to step out of their comfort zone and be the person who is capable of achieving what is committed. Courage is a practice. It is exercised and strengthened by daily decisions. During these arduous times, it is required to have courage to do the right thing and take tough decisions every step of the project.

“The Scrum team members have courage to do the right thing and work on tough problems.” — The Scrum Guide

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