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How remote teams gain performance efficiency with TaaS

Article

In the midst of #COVID19 you’ve seen tons of articles about remote teams. This one uncovers how to make them successful.

THE SECRET RECIPE

Because sending people home to telework is not enough to keep your business continuity up and running at the same performance level you did before. Read on to get the secret recipe for success.

We at Opentrends just made a smooth transition of 100% of our IT software technology development, architecture, operations, QA and experience design services to fully-remote teams without affecting business continuity. But how was it possible to pivot all operations from working in multiple offices to an entirely remote.version company with no service interruption? . 

Partially, because we’ve been successfullly delivering many of our projects remotely for many years now: for example complex projects made in Europe for clients in the US. And this experience has brought the key insights and lessons learnt to continuously improve our remote delivery. That’s the core of Teams as-a-Service (TaaS), a solution based on an agile mindset that delivers not only a remote workforce but also the right methods, culture and tooling to get flexibility to scale your remote teams on demand, monitor performance and bring peace of mind to leadership, knowing that everyone is actually doing what needs to be done with full transparency to the client.

Our experience has taught us that distributed and remote teams can indeed achieve the same performance as co-located teams. Many Fortune 100 and IBEX35 companies also believe this, and are taking advantage of these practices today. Nevertheless, it’s understandable some companies still feel reluctant to adopt remote teams. We understand that feeling too. After having been working hard with remote teams for some years already, we know which are the keys to achieve the desired level of performance.

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THE KEY

In order to get performance, sending people to work remotely is not enough.

It must be done in a very specific way, Since distributing delivery remotely could increase, if not done right, the risk of affecting lead time, reducing teams’ performance, increase disengagement and add potential rework due to miscommunication and inefficiencies that may arise if remote IT delivery is not done seriously.

This is the first of a series of articles with guidelines to make remote teams seriously successful with the #TaaS solution. During these series we will cover topics such as:

- Swarming in remote teams to increase team collaboration and efficiency.

- Kaizen & Scrumming the Scrum: How to boost performance in remote teams with continuous improvement

- From Documentation to Conversations: how to boost efficient communication, from video to whiteboards

- Tooling and technologies to support frictionless collaboration, remote work, continuous delivery and team performance monitoring

- The magic of Transparent & Ready backlogs

- Feeling: How to make remote teams feel like co-located teams

- The Scrum Remote Team Checklist

- Transparency and Safety: Agile mindset applied to remote teams

- How to adapt the Scrum Events to be more effective in a remote distributed team

- Scaling remote agile teams

Today we’ll cover the most important aspect to improve performance in remote teams: Connection.

Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash

Connection

We’re not talking about internet connection. 

We're talking about human connection. 

It's well known that happy teams produce at higher quality. Because feeling connected and part of the same team is key in distributed teams working remotely to achieve high performance levels.

A proof of how human connection directly affects performance related to current virus times:

Medical research demonstrates that those people with more social ties gain greater resistance. If this is the effect on the immune system, imagine the side effects on productivity and motivation. Our experience shows that those teams with better human connection and motivation get higher degrees of performance efficiency.

That’s why a #peoplecentric approach is a must. What are the things that social connections do in teams to increase performance? This is what teams need, step by step:

A sense of purpose: we define ourselves based on our relationships with other people. When you're alone, you may feel disoriented, without a clear view of what you should engage with or what is the purpose of what you’re doing. Human beings need a purpose to get intrinsic motivation. Beyond carrot & stick extrinsic motivators, a sense of purpose is what have made huge remote teams deliver things like the Linux Operating System.

A sense of meaning: Team members need to fully be aware that their work has value, and that somebody receives it, benefits from it and is thankful for the value delivered. Only then teams achieve this sense of meaning, and thanks to a leadership style demonstrating they care about the team. This is the basis for an intent-based leadership model that allows the team to be truly self organized and pivot magically and autonomously even when working remotely to pursue an objective

A sense of security: Feeling part of and in contact with a group of people tells every team member they’re safe and can express their emotions, feelings, even failures in a work environment without fear of being judged, leveraging failure to help continuously improve thanks to a Kaizen approach. It also contributes to each team member to have a feeling of self-worth, to know that what each one is doing is important.

All these ingredients constitute the pillars of an ideal remote work environment in order to prevent many of the risks associated with those practices. 

SWARMING
Photo by Behzad Ghaffarian on Unsplash

Swarming is one of the agile methods available within our #TaaS solution. It fosters all the required connection and engagement from teams, allowing effective collaboration and improving delivery efficiency and cycle time.

Swarming is an agile method that incentivates the team work together to solve a problem, in this case, remotely. This brings quick, higher quality results and raises happiness and connection within the team members. 

Swarming will be covered in our next article as one of the approaches you can use to get things moving faster to boost performance efficiency in remote teams.