Navigating current and upcoming workplace challenges requires teams to be proactive in their day-to-day lives, especially as the adoption of hybrid work models soars.
Although COVID-19 has altered the old tradition of working from the office, this new work model has introduced a new set of challenges for companies to overcome. Read on to learn how you can boost efficiency and productivity in today’s era of hybrid work with Agile and DevOps.
The hybrid work model is here to stay
The future of work is here, thanks to the global pandemic which caused a furor like no one had ever imagined! There is no doubt about the fact that hybrid work offers several benefits: from increased flexibility to improved freedom, autonomy, and more. But as the business world looks to drive maximum productivity and efficiency benefits from this new model, there are several questions that need to be answered:
- What is the long-term impact of the work model you choose on employee productivity? Are your employees more efficient while working from home, or do they find it difficult to juggle personal and professional responsibilities? Do they find the office environment to be more disciplined and freer from distractions? Do they have the tools they need to efficiently work from their homes?
- Are you able to save substantially in real-estate costs? The hybrid work model has made it possible for many companies across the world to shut down offices, thus leading to substantial savings in real-estate costs. But is it the same for your business as well? Are you spending less on office space and upkeep? Or do you find the costs of setting up new IT systems for your remote workers a burden on your IT budgets?
- How easily are your employees able to communicate and collaborate with each other? Do they miss the effectiveness of in-person collaboration? Do existing tools restrict their ability to communicate across geographies and time zones? Do they face burnout due to the lack of proper communication mechanisms in place?
- Are you able to ensure the mental health and well-being of your hybrid workers? Although a large percentage of global workers prefer working from home, there are many who find the home environment too demanding. Are your workers able to enjoy a decent work-life balance? Or do you find them working late nights because of the lack of a 9-5 office schedule? Is the absence of a social environment impacting their mental health?
- Does the hybrid work model provide you with access to a more diverse talent pool? With many workers around the world now preferring to work from their homes, does this new model allow you to access a more diverse talent pool? Does your workplace strategy enable you to attract talent from a variety of cultural backgrounds? Are you able to retain your star employees more easily by allowing them to work from the location of their choice?
Using Agile and DevOps to boost efficiency and productivity
If after detailed assessment and careful consideration, you do conclude that the hybrid workplace is best for your unique organization, the next step is to learn how you can boost efficiency and productivity. Although Agile and DevOps deliver several benefits to organizations accelerate software development and delivery, there are several process, tech, and cultural aspects to consider as you implement these concepts across your hybrid organization:
- Standardize communication: To ensure you get the best results from your Agile and DevOps efforts, it is important to standardize communication across your teams and implement uniform communication protocols, policies, and guidelines. Instead of having different tools to enable communication, implement a unified communication platform across the enterprise to enable seamless collaboration and idea-sharing.
- Centralize artifacts: With hybrid workers expected to attend so many meetings and stand-ups each day, the number of documents and artifacts they end up working on is humongous. To ensure teams are able to effectively define backlogs, brainstorm solutions, and plan releases, it is important to make sure all artifacts are centralized in a common repository and easily accessible by different members for quick progress updates, follow-ups, and discussions.
- Leverage portfolio management boards: With teams working from different locations and time zones, providing them with insight into the work done by different agile members is extremely important. To do this, you can leverage modern portfolio management boards that allow teams to get all the information they need into different work items, break them into individual user stories, and prioritize backlogs.
- Enable automation: Connecting workflows and enabling project-wide automation can drive exceptional results for fast-paced hybrid-work teams. By automating development and testing activities, teams can reduce the probability and impact of human errors, more easily meet service-level objectives, and minimize stressful meetings. Such automation can in turn help in improving productivity, increasing reliability, and meeting strict time-to-market deadlines – despite flexible work schedules, locations, and personal preferences.
- Focus on shifting everything left: Taking a shift-left approach is yet another great way of improving productivity and efficiency in today’s hybrid work environment. Teams should not only shift their development efforts left. They should also undertake security checks as early and frequently as possible, along with code reviews, static and dynamic code quality checks, security analysis, as well as various functional, regression, security, reliability testing efforts – to improve the quality and reliability of the product under development.
- Take the SRE approach: Since hybrid work presents both an opportunity and a challenge in how people collaborate, taking an SRE approach and using integrated tools and workflows can ensure agile product owners, scrum masters, developers, testers, security specialists, and operations teams work productively and efficiently in a remote environment. As a tech + process approach, SRE can enable teams to use the software as a tool to manage operations, instill better discipline, reduce toil, and improve overall release cycles.
- Enable E2E integration testing across the application lifecycle: Another process + tech approach that can result in enhanced DevOps efficiency and productivity is E2E integration testing. Enabling E2E integration testing across the application lifecycle allows teams to test the entire software product from beginning to end, and ensure it performs as expected. By defining the product’s integrations and dependencies from the very beginning, such testing can ensure that individual contributions, as well as integrated pieces, work in perfect harmony.
- Support and educate employees on new changes: Ensuring the best Agile and DevOps outcomes is not just about rethinking your processes or implementing the latest technologies; it is just as much about supporting and educating employees on new changes to improve transparency while also ensuring their well-being. If hybrid work is going to be your model for years to come, it is essential you guide your employees on possible challenges. You also need to provide them with the tools and care they need to collaborate and work efficiently from different locations.
- Bring a sense of totality and involvement: Since remote teams lack the ability to communicate in person, bringing in a sense of totality is important to ensure every member feels involved. Clearly defining roles and responsibilities and enabling teams to monitor individual contributions and their impact on project progress can help in enhancing their motivation levels while empowering them to work together to achieve common goals.
- Enable agile leadership: The efforts towards successful Agile and DevOps strategies shouldn’t just be limited to your workers. They should be extended to your leadership as well. Enabling Agile leadership from the very beginning can help in overcoming obstacles to hybrid success while constantly driving efforts in ensuring employee productivity and efficiency. The right leadership can not only drive better business outcomes in today’s hybrid workplace era, but it can also reduce wasted time and optimize resources.
Look at hybrid work as a long-term transformation
As hybrid work begins to take over the world, looking at it as a long-term transformation – instead of a short-term project – will help in tying business value to technical delivery.
If you want your teams to continue driving the same levels of productivity and efficiency from their homes – as they did when they worked entirely from the office – you need to tackle several processes, tech, and cultural challenges that come in the way of success. The right approach to hybrid work can help in setting the perfect stage for seamless collaboration, ensuring employee well-being, and delivering on customer expectations in the best manner possible.