Be honest: how digitally and agilely do you really work in your team? Perhaps you are one of the 50 percent of managers who are convinced that their team is already agile. According to a study by the Kienbaum management consultancy, however, just 10 percent of German companies actually operate in an agile way organization-wide. This is a sobering realization when you consider that, according to McKinsey, the consulting firm, agile companies are significantly more profitable and crisis-proof than non-agile companies. In this blog post, we will give you five tips that will help you set up your agile team digitally and to sustainably make this a living, vibrant way your daily business works.
COVID-19 is not the only reason for the growing trend towards digitally-supported collaboration. This replaces more and more personal interactions or emails. Digital apps such as Jira, Monday, Asana, Microsoft Planner or Azure DevOps are appropriate for transparent and effective management of team goals and tasks. It makes sense to choose apps from a single platform because they are integrated into structures that already exist. For example, this is the case with Microsoft Planner and Azure DevOps.
If a digital task management tool such as Microsoft Planner is installed and the most important functions are widely familiar, you can start by task scheduling. Take your time, though, because your employees will want to know what is behind the individual tasks. It is not enough to simply specify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) that have to be met. It is much more effective to develop a strategy where the important KPIs can be achieved together as a team, and then break these down into tactical sub-goals. Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) is an agile framework that is recommended for this. You involve the employees when formulating the goals, thus securing their commitment and at the same time ensuring transparency on the path to achieving the KPIs. Getting to grips with OKRs, then, makes a whole lot of sense!
To remain agile, targets should be defined for no more than one quarter in advance. Weekly tasks can then be derived from this. In the agile world, this is called a “sprint”. A weekly sprint contains a number of different tasks that feed into the respective OKRs. Here too, it is advisable to involve the employees when defining the tasks in question. Last, but not least, the digital task board should be structured in such a way that each task’s status is transparently displayed. People need to be able to identify who is working on the tasks and where the associated documents can be found. A digital board is vital here to provide the necessary overview to steer teams in an agile way!
You should talk about teamwork regularly, especially when changes affect the team—for example, the introduction of a new digital team management board. The retrospective is the appropriate format to review the past quarter and identify best practices and potential for improvement. When you carry out retros in a collaborative and motivating way, you have one of the most effective tools there is to increase productivity and satisfaction. So start as you mean to go on: get into the retrospectives habit right from the start!
Not every manager or team member needs to be a trained SCRUM or OKR master, agile coach, or change manager to implement agile methods. The new tools and routines are easy to learn and can also be put in place on-the-job. However, the first attempt needs to be a successful one, so that changes in the company continue to be received positively. Hence our advice: let an expert accompany and support you in the beginning. You recognize the best consultants, because they aim to make themselves superfluous as quickly as possible by empowering your team.
The Five Tips for Digital and Agile Team Management are the preparation you need to begin virtual team management. It’s best to start small and practically—the main thing being that you do make that start and invest in modern, productive cooperation.
Our continuation webinar "How to Lead Your Teams Innovatively and Digitally in the Age of New Work" on October 22, 2020 at 3:00 p.m. will focus on digital team management and agile project work.
A little tip: Take part in our latest survey on digital team management and benefit by incorporating the latest findings in your digital strategy. As a thank you, you can take part in our prize draw for the Modern Workplace Inspiration and Digital Team Management Inspiration workshops valued at €990 and €490 respectively.
Of course, we are always available to you for a personal discussion. Just send us an email or give us a call. Our digitalization experts look forward to discussing your digital ideas with you.