In April, Scalefocus launched Topics of Scale - a series of webinars in which our experts cover essential and valuable themes of today's world. The first webinar of the series was led by Krasimir Kostadinov - and wrapped one of the hot topics in the current reality: namely, how software companies can make sure they have a successful transition and work productively at home.
Krasi shared valuable research and advice on the subject and gave a lot of perspective as to how companies can keep everything professional, and there is no cause for panic. Below you can hear the whole recording - or continue reading to see its recap.
In the first part of the podcast, Krasimir spoke about the notion of the 'virtual team.' "Even before the situation that put every business that can work from home in the home office, I had a lot of experience in the matter." According to him, the challenges the companies are currently experiencing regarding the virtual teams are in several directions.
First is connected to Newton's first law - sometimes referred to as the law of inertia. And how inertia works, says Krasi, is vital for the virtual teams - it can make or break a project. It's hugely important to change our way of thinking - i.e. the inertia of thinking.
"We have to change our way of thinking because we are in a situation that doesn't care what we think or what our habits are - we have no choice but to adapt."
The question, obviously, is how? Well, he certainly answers that.
Krasi says that "we are all in a situation that is a great equalizer" and illustrates the thought with the book "The world is flat" by Thomas L. Friedman. In it, Friedman argues that at the beginning of the 21st century, we have started living in an economy in which the businesses have the same advantages no matter where they are in the world.
Krasi claims though that this wasn't necessarily true... until a few months ago. Now, everybody is home, and we have (generally speaking) the same opportunities, offices, and options as everyone else.
"We can say that the workplace is changed forever - and even though our lives in the future may not change so much (again, because of inertia), I would say our workplace will."
Тhe virtualization of the teams actually came from the realization of many companies a while back that the benefits of a physical office are not so significant, and the whole workplace can be virtualized - transferring the culture to digital culture.
"This gives companies a chance to focus on the core business - what actually gives you revenue, what drives it."
This is the so-called disruptive innovation - the one that comes from "challenging everything we used to have or thought we need." According to Krasi, thinking we need an office again comes from inertia - but we are in the process of maybe creating a new type of one.
Working From Home: Кееp It Professional
There are a lot of jokes about working from home - Krasi says they come from a lot of stigma in the past. People never used to believe their workers were productive from home - but nowadays, we already know that this is an untrue generalization. "It's always good to show the research behind the statements," says Krasi.
He talks about a couple of important research papers in the podcast that shows that productivity can rise in a home office environment and also that people get more motivated, especially those with a long commute. In the webinar, he talks a lot more about managing work from home, challenges, and opportunities in detail.
The short answer is bureaucracy. Krasi talks about the correlation between the set procedures and processes that are equal for everyone and the significant productivity. Structure, predictability, and scalability give an excellent frame to the home office and provide continuity in a difficult situation. The weaknesses of bureaucracy, having to do with slowness to adapt, for example, are also there, but still, according to him, it's a useful tool not to be taken for granted.
Krasi also mentions Parkinson's law in the context of time management and managing people working from home. It turns out that having less work sometimes requires more people, so optimizing is the way to go. He also discussed the Hotto Cocoa of Gregor Hohpe, which states that a company should be designed like any other system - the CAP theorem (stating that a distributed database system can only have 2 of the 3: Consistency, Availability and Partition Tolerance.)
In short, some losses should be expected but tolerance is really needed in this reality and ultimately, it brings us to the goal.
Homemade Software Recipes
In the last part of the webinar, Krasi gave practical advice in terms of keeping the workflow productive "while making homemade software." He spoke about the business value of this style of working - reduced operating cost, increased efficiencies, increased revenue, reduced risk, increased customer NPS, time to respond to customer/product team, and strictly met deadlines. He also covered specific ideas and ways to manage the delivery to provide maximum effort and wins for the side without burnout.
You can listen to the whole podcast to hear particular plans and designs for building a better workflow for developers (Niko-Niko calendars, Niko-Niko calendars for other team members or teams, team NPS, selecting individual top work buddy of the sprint, etc.) Krasi also gave concrete advice on achieving delivery excellence and effective communication.
And what's next?
Krasi shares that too. Check out the whole recording and listen to the Q&A session at the end - a lot of gems there.
Stay tuned for more Topics of Scale - we will keep the webinars coming with the hottest issues of today. Follow our Facebook page for more.