Agile Development

The Pandemic – Our Agile Coach

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The Coaching Program

I can see the quizzical look on your face with the question, “Why is she calling this pandemic an Agile coach?”

My answer is: “Yes because it taught us agile principles, and imbibed agile mindset in us.”

Let me explain in detail:

During this pandemic:

  • How many of us responded to change instead of following a set plan?
  • How many of us went beyond our comfort zone to collaborate with our stakeholders?
  • How many of us thought beyond the project to keep the team motivated?

Every one of us did, and most of us did great!

Let me list some of the major steps we took to smoothly run the organization remotely throughout the pandemic.

The steps are so significant that they are continued to date voluntarily, for the value brought at project, account and organization levels.

Responding to Changes

The Pandemic made us think through remote operation measures proactively, without compromising on information security, quality of deliverables, and committed timelines.

Some of the beneficial IT changes implemented included multifactor authentication, cloud-based solutions for remote IT support, appropriate hardening of colleagues’ workstations.

Timely equipping, assets / tools stocking helped the IT team to cater best during the lock down.

Health conditions of the colleagues were considered for work plan changes.

Not only the IT team, every operation team, every project team had adopted changes in their work culture.

Collaborating with Stakeholders

We realized the importance of collaboration more during this pandemic.

A weekly all-leads meeting made all the difference needed for organizational collaboration. The weekly meeting discussed the end-to-end status of projects, client expectations, office facility conditions, support team operation, need for leadership intervention, lockdown status, work sharing status and even the unplanned absence of team members indicating their health conditions.

Remote townhall meetings were conducted to connect with colleagues and re-assure them of the  organization’s commitment, opportunities and progress.

A unique 10 connects per day program by each of the HR team members, checking on colleagues health, family wellness and offering any kind of support required, ensured moral support to all colleagues.

The collaboration initiatives also included video lunch calls, Friday games, on-request music sessions, quizzes in addition to all-round health awareness sessions, diet awareness sessions….and what not!

Motivating Teams

Teams were recognized for their work achievements in the weekly meetings and townhalls.

Volunteers who shared the workload of their peers during the time of need, were rewarded.

The colleagues were encouraged to use their project transition time for honing their skills further through certifications, Proof-of-Concept (PoC) assignments, and other preparation for pipeline projects.

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If This is NOT Agile Mindset, then…..

I am sure you would have realized that we are an agile organization by now, and I hear your question, “where is the agile mindset in implementing these steps?”

Let me explain that:

In addition to:

  • responding to changes, we have started welcoming changes with better buy-in.
  • collaborating, we have started realizing the value of collaborating.
  • motivating, we have started building trust among peers.

And all these additions have come by not through force, but through self-organizing and volunteering.

I am ever grateful for the agile mindset imbibed in everyone, by this Pandemic – Our tough Agile Coach!


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Thoughts on “The Pandemic – Our Agile Coach”

  1. Vishnu Aditya Ashok

    The pandemic, despite everything, has made us stronger and more resilient, and has vastly improved the channels of communication and the methods of collaboration. Great article highlighting the agile mindset most of us have developed without even realizing it, Gayathri!

  2. Excellent write-up, Gayathri. Yes, Pandemic is our new agile coach with many lessons both personal and professional life. It is like joining physical training camp with tough and strict training at the start till we got used to it with extra motivation and knowledge. Pandemic coach has helped us to undergo a new corporate revolution. Keep writing!!

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Gayathri Narayanan, SQA Manager

Have a hybrid background of engineering academics, technical writing and software process quality assurance for about 15+ years. Other than work, interested in art, writing, music.

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