Can Agile adoption thrive without co-located teams?

Home » Can Agile adoption thrive without co-located teams?
Can Agile adoption thrive without co-located teams?
With so many new ways of working, including working from home, working in the office and the hybrid of both, we wanted to have a look at how Agile teams work under this new paradigm post pandemic. Can Agile adoption thrive without co-located teams?

With so many new ways of working, including working from home, working in the office and the hybrid of both, we wanted to have a look at how Agile teams work under this new paradigm post pandemic. Can Agile adoption thrive without co-located teams?

When the Agile manifesto was originally written in 2001, it was solely created to improve software development.    Now, 20 years on, the four values and 12 principles still apply to this day, used by many functions beyond software and it’s important to reflect on them often.   

The four values of Agile are:

1. Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools
2. Working Output over Comprehensive Documentation
3. Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation
4. Responding to Change over Following a Plan

The twelve principles of Agile include:
  1. Customer satisfaction through early and continuous delivery
  2. Accommodate changing requirements throughout the development process
  3. Frequent delivery of output
  4. Collaboration with business stakeholders throughout the project
  5. Support, trust and motivate the people involved
  6. Enable face-to-face interactions
  7. Working output is the primary measure of progress
  8. Agile processes to support a consistent development pace
  9. Attention to detail and design enhances agility
  10. Simplicity – Develop just enough to get the job done for right now
  11. Self-organising teams encourage great architectures, requirements and designs
  12. Regular reflections on how to become more effective

In this article we are reflecting on Value 1: Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools  and principle number 6: Enable face-to-face interactions – Communication is more successful when teams are co-located.

We believe nothing has really changed in a remote working world, as face-to-face communication is still completely feasible using all the technology at our disposal! What’s really important here is the Agile value “People and Interactions over Processes and Tools” which prompts us to recognise the importance of our human relationships and how we can communicate best.

Ben Lyon, is with our ADAPTOVATE office in London.   He explains it this way, “Let’s say you need to have an important conversation with your best friend: would you rather email, phone, Zoom or see them in person? Easy choice. Now let’s say you’re not in the same country, could you still have a great conversation with them over Zoom or phone call? Of course! The point is that we would naturally opt for the most ‘real’ method of communication available at the time in order to get the best outcome. The same principle applies to our working relationships in dispersed teams.”

In this era, are you part of a team where some if not all of your team are working from home, or in another territory altogether? We are betting the answer is ‘yes’.


Back to basics

20 years on,  Agile has become more popular, and more frameworks have been created (40+ Agile methods including Scrum, Kanban, Lean etc) and what was meant to be a methodology for simplicity,  Agile almost turned on itself and became more complex and steeped in bureaucracy.    Rather than throw it all up and start again, a couple of people ensured there were ways to understand the complexities of the many options, quickly and easily.

So, in 2016, the solution was a back-to-basics approach.  “Modern Agile” was revealed by Joshua Kerievsky at the 2016 Agile Conference.  He explains Modern Agile like this: “Modern Agile is a community for people interested in uncovering better ways of getting awesome results. It leverages wisdom from many industries, is principle driven and framework free.”

It includes four principles:

  • Make People Awesome
  • Experiment & Learn Rapidly
  • Deliver Value Continuously
  • Make Safety a Prerequisite