We began the year with uncertainty due to Covid-19 and ended it with some certainties and new concerns. Along these lines we will review what is the general state of the profession and the most common concerns, from Keepler’s perspective and experience.

While the “new normal” looked like it was going to bring us remote work, some extra sleep and fewer traffic jams, “business as usual” has punched us in the nose. Back come the traffic jams and frustration, some aesthetic change, little will and some lucky ones who, like in Keepler, enjoy flexibility and voluntary and often desired contact in the office.

If last year was marked by uncertainty, this year we leave that transition period with what will be a reality for years to come.

From agility, the prospects for adopting a new model continue last year’s incipient trend. These are the main motivations that will drive companies to adopt agile methodologies in 2022.

  • Accelerating value delivery
  • Return to pre-pandemic speed of project development
  • Improve change management
  • Increase productivity
  • Improve the relationship between business and IT
  • Improve software quality

It is surprising that the basis on which the entire business model is based, the real foundations on which everything else rests, arouses relatively little interest, given that quality is a non-negotiable bastion in an agile approach. It is also interesting to note that the penultimate place is occupied by improving the relationship between business and development, when without communication there is no delivery of value, only more or less watertight compartments.

In terms of the techniques most commonly applied by companies, we would have:

  • Daily
  • Retrospective
  • Sprint planning
  • Sprint (iteration)
  • Short iterations

This still demonstrates a lack of elementary knowledge and how agile and scrum become indistinguishable for many organizations. The review, as a point of convergence, review of incrementalism and objectives is left out of the first positions.

As for the most valued tools to support the methodology, we have:

  • Atlassian JIRA
  • Atlassian Trello
  • Microsoft Azure Devops
  • VersionOne
  • LeanKit
  • Target Process

It is not surprising to find Jira in the first position, due to its flexibility, integration with third parties and the wide variety of usage modes it offers, although it still suffers from problems in a correct implementation of native metrics for Kanban. Again, Trello is the tool that stands out for its versatility, usage plans and adaptation to different environments with a more “informal” approach.

Methodologically, Scrum is the chosen approach and is expected to continue its trend, although it is true that, in many occasions, with a partial application or as a sweet cover to what is still a traditional approach, but with the opportunity to introduce new monitoring and control mechanisms, away from processes oriented to continuous improvement and frequent delivery of value.

The past year was marked, procedurally, by the difficulties of transitioning from a remote to a face-to-face model, with the impact on standard practices that this entails.

At Keepler, we are often asked by our clients how we managed to adapt quickly and efficiently to such an abnormal situation as that experienced during the worst months of the pandemic. Our answer is always the same. There was no need.

Our teleworking model had been in place for some time, so there were no transitions to overcome and we were always at full capacity for our clients and to meet the internal needs of employees from the very beginning. The key was anticipation by engaging in a process of transformation of our protocols and tools, with spaces oriented to virtual socialization, when it was not possible to do otherwise, and mixed, when the situation allowed it.

The biggest challenge for companies in the coming year is to overcome the difficulties in adopting an agile framework, in terms of its cultural and transversal impact on an organization.  The possibility of a hybrid or remote work model has proven to be an additional lever for talent retention and attraction. None of this is free, it entails a paradigm shift where not all are benefits, but where the balance can be clearly tipped in favor of this work model.

Traditional resistance to change, unpermeable hierarchical structures, inadequate support for agile initiatives, and isolated and stratified structures are the constraints that an adoption of these principles and values faces.

At Keepler we are preparing for next year with more strength than ever, with renewed energy after having validated the hypotheses with which we started last year. Teleworking is a real option, an opportunity to reach more offshore talent and be an additional benefit for the employee. Companies with clear and simple hierarchies, that encourage communication and are tolerant of error as a way to encourage experimentation and involvement in all areas and levels, are the ones that will adopt the paradigms we have discussed, with guarantees.

The tools are the mechanistic section on which a paradigmatic and methodological change is based. A corporate culture based on trust and cross-cutting relationships, with defined domains, clear roles and agreed responsibilities, allows a more results-oriented approach. In this way, efforts are used optimally to productive processes and not so much in micro-management or spurious organizational and control processes.

At Keepler we believe that in 2022 the uncertainty caused by COVID will not be a determining factor and will open the doors to change the paradigm born of the industrial revolution and oriented on the axes of labor specialization and localized concentration of workers.

 

Image: Unsplash | @kuzelevdaniil

Author

  • Scrum Master en Keepler. “Working with people to build products that solve problems. Digital transformation is the new industrial revolution based on the fractal creation of team-based development systems. I collaborate with companies to understand problems and develop solution strategies.”