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How to Be Productive and Efficient When Part of the Remote Workforce

How to Be Productive and Efficient When Part of the Remote Workforce

How to Be Productive and Efficient When Part of the Remote Workforce

The global pandemic has many IT pros now working from home. How do you stay productive and efficient in the remote workforce? This guide has the answers.

Keyword(s): remote workforce

Recent events have turned millions of people into remote employees, seemingly overnight. A lot of employees and managers suddenly find that they're part of a remote workforce, and some may be having trouble adjusting to everything.

It can be easy to underestimate just how much working in an office can help keep you on schedule. When you're physically surrounded by coworkers and have the daily rhythms of the office to follow, staying productive and on task is simple.

When you're part of a remote workforce, it isn't just up to you to make sure that work gets done on time. It's also your responsibility to make sure that you're working efficiently and staying on task at work.

Whether you're new to working remotely or if you want to help your employees work efficiently when they're at home, we're here to help. Keep reading to learn our tips for staying efficient when you're a remote employee.

How to Be a Productive Part of the Remote Workforce

Working at home can be difficult for some people that aren't used to it. They may have children that distract them for work, or they could simply be struggling to work outside of their usual workspace.

With the right tools and help, anyone can become an efficient remote worker. If your newly remote team is having difficulty adjusting to their new work-life, consider sharing these tips with them.

Create Your Work Location

Working from your bed may seem like a dream, but that could be hurting your ability to be productive.

People that are working remotely should try to find a dedicated and comfortable sport at home that they can work from. It should ideally be somewhere that you can associate with "work time" and can leave when you're off the clock.

Try to choose somewhere that's far away from the bustle and noise of your house. Make a spare room into a temporary office, or dedicate "office hours" to a certain room in your house and ask to not be disturbed when you're working.

Keep Learning

A lot of businesses are struggling to maintain normal operations as they switch to being remote. Many aren't concerned about continuing employee growth, but if they want to have a successful remote workforce, education should be top of mind.

Training and skill growth shouldn't stop just because people aren't at the office. Managers should be doing whatever they can to encourage employee learning and growth while they work remotely.

Consider signing your employees up for webinars. Look into utilizing online courses people can take to learn new skills or earn certifications.

Find a Friend

Sometimes just taking the time to talk to coworkers can help you feel more productive at work. You can have someone to bounce ideas off of, collaborate on work, or just have a nice conversation.

If you're working from home, it's safe to assume that your office uses a chat app like Slack or Google Hangouts to communicate with people. Find someone you can message when you need to and make an official remote work friend.

One of your work friends can easily send you a quick message to see how you're doing and check in on your work progress. Having someone holding you accountable for getting things done can be a very helpful and effective way to boost productivity.

 

Ask for One-on-One Time

Are you someone that likes to have daily check-ins with your boss? It can be easy to check-in when you work in the same building, but maintaining that cadence can be hard when you're working remotely.

Be proactive and ask your manager if you can set up a scheduled time to catch up each day you're working remotely. You don't have to plan a full meeting, a quick 10 minute summary of what you're working on what you need can be more than enough to help keep you on track.

Maintain the Same Habits

The saying that humans are creatures of habit is absolutely true. If you find yourself breaking from your usual work habits, you may find that it's more difficult for you to do productive work.

You may not have to dress in a suit and tie when you're working from home, but changing out of your sweats or pajamas into more work-appropriate attire can do a lot to get you in the work mindset.

The gyms may be closed, but you can still get your blood pumping with a quick at-home workout routine. If you're used to listening to a podcast during your morning commute, consider listening to it when you're getting ready or eating.

Try to maintain as much of your usual workday routine when you're working from home. You'll be surprised at how much a little regularity can help improve your productivity at work.

Stay in Touch

Even though you're expected to work and be on time for calls and meetings, a lot of managers understand that working from home doesn't mean that you're going to be glued to your desk from 9-5

Your kids may need some help with their schoolwork. You could have to run to the store or walk your dogs. Perhaps meals need to be made, and you need to take the occasional break.

If there's an app version of your office's communication method of choice, make sure that you put it on your phone so you can respond to important messages even if you aren't on your laptop.

Let your co-workers or managers know that you're about to take a break or do a different task, but let them know when you'll be back online.

Improve Your Workforce

Staying productive in a new work environment is important. If you want to maintain an efficient remote workforce, encourage everyone in your office to follow these tips.

Are you interested in learning more ways to work efficiently? Do you think your workplace could benefit from knowing more Scrum or Agile techniques?

Regardless of what you need, we're here to help. Be sure to reach out to us today so we can start talking about the best way to help your employees.

In light of the recent developments involving the current global crisis, Agile Center is ready to conduct SAFe® (Scaled Agile Framework) live online training courses. To ensure that consumers are provided continued access to services, Scaled Agile, Inc. is approving remote delivery for public courses. This implementation is effective immediately, with the hope that everyone will take caution during this unprecedented time to protect and preserve the health of themselves and those around them.

Agile CenterLondon, United Kingdom, 25 March 2020 - Agile Center, a brand of Architecture Center Ltd, has offices in multiple locations, including Agile Center head office in the UK, as well as Agile Center regional offices, located in Germany, Poland, and France. Agile Center provides training in Lean-Agile Transformation, Agile Strategy audit & implementation, and Agile Program/Portfolio management. Through the implementation of proven, world-class standards and the skilled expertise of highly-experienced trainers and consultants, Agile Center supports its clients in successfully establishing and achieving business goals.

As the Coronavirus continues to affect the lives of more and more people around the world each day, Agile Center is making the necessary accommodations to continue offering its services while also keeping in mind the health of consumers. Agile Center recognizes the increasing need to put into place additional safety measures at this time. This includes promoting the widely-recommended practice of "social distancing". In order to reduce health risks, minimize the further spread of disease throughout our communities worldwide, and to abide by the current recommendations of world health officials, Agile Center is taking immediate action to implement the remote delivery of Scaled Agile Live Online Training courses.

With that being said, anyone who is interested in Agile Center's remotely-delivered courses can visit the Agile Center website to find out more or to register for upcoming course offerings. Now, customers can sign up for Scaled Agile live online training courses that have previously been offered in-house, including the 2-day SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager course and the 2-day SAFe® Scrum Master training course.

The SAFe® Product Owner/Product Manager course is an essential step for anyone with a goal of becoming a SAFe® 5 Product Owner/Product Manager (POPM). This course helps trainees develop the skillsets needed to guide the delivery of value in a Lean enterprise. The SAFe® Scrum Master training course provides attendees with an understanding of the role of a Scrum Master in a SAFe enterprise. Attending this class prepares you to take the SAFe 5 Scrum Master exam and become a certified SAFe® 5 Scrum Master (SSM).

Registrants of Agile Center Scaled Agile Live Online Training courses will receive quality, in-depth training to guide them towards becoming a more knowledgable and successful business leader in the architectural industry. Attendees can feel confident that the Agile Center remotely-deliver training courses will cover all of the material and coursework needed to propel them towards successfully achieving their business goals. Visit the Agile Center website to learn more about Scaled Live Online Training course options or to register for a remotely-delivered online course today.

About Agile Center: Agile Center provides consultancy and training services in the following areas: Lean-Agile Transformation, Agile Strategy audit & implementation, and Agile Program/Portfolio management. Through the implementation of proven world-class standards, we support our clients in establishing and achieving their business goals. Our team is composed of highly experienced consultants and trainers. Agile Center is a brand of Architecture Center Ltd.

The Scrum Master Career Path

The Best Scrum Master Jobs and Career Path for Certified Professionals

The Best Scrum Master Jobs and Career Path for Certified Professionals

So, what sort of scrum master jobs and career opportunities will you have once certified? Get an idea of your scrum master career path in this guide!

Keyword(s): scrum master jobs

If you’re involved in product development or the tech field and you want to advance your career, one way to achieve that is by becoming a Certified Scrum Master (CSM). This type of certification qualifies you to manage a scrum team, making you a valuable asset for any business.

What kind of Scrum Master jobs are available, what kind of salary can you expect, and how can certification help you land these jobs? Read on to find out more.

What Is a Scrum Master?

Let’s start with an explanation of Scrum itself. Scrum is the name for the framework used when developing software and other products. In a very real sense, Scrum provides the roadmap that teams follow in order to complete each step and deliver a quality product.

The Scrum Master is in charge of promoting and supporting the framework (Scrum). A good CSM ensures that everyone understands Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values.

CSM duties include:

  • Ensuring the team understands the goals, scope and product domain
  • Ensure communication between the team, the organization, and product owner(s)
  • Manage sprints and spillovers
  • Develop a Product Backlog of management techniques
  • Understand Scrum and Agile methodologies
  • Facilitate Scrum events

Overall, the CSM is tasked with not only managing a team but handling challenges in order to deliver the product as specified.

Why Become a CSM?

There are a few reasons to pursue Scrum Master certification. Career advancement is one as new job opportunities become available to you. A Scrum Master’s salary can be significant depending on your experience.

You can also become a more valuable member of any organization as you will play a crucial role in fostering communication between your team, your company, and the product owner(s).

Scrum Master Vs. Project Manager

You might be familiar with project management. It’s easy to get the two fields confused. In fact, a Scrum Manager and Project Manager have distinct roles in product development.

  • Product Managers focus on the product itself
  • Scrum Masters focus on managing the scrum team and other people within the organization, as well as the product owner
  • Product Managers are concerned with the success of the product
  • Scrum Masters are concerned with the success of the team
  • Product Managers handle all aspects of product development
  • Scrum Masters remain focused on the team that is creating the product

In other words, the Product Manager’s role is to serve the PRODUCT, while the Scrum Master serves the TEAM.

The Methodologies Behind Scrum and Agile

Successful software and product development rely on two main methodologies: Scrum and Agile.

Scrum Methodology

Scrum methodology incorporates a heuristic scientific approach. The basic concept behind a heuristic approach is that it enables your team members to learn and solve problems on their own.

This is known as a self-discovery approach, as opposed to an algorithmic one, which uses a clearly defined set of rules or instructions to solve problems.

Agile Methodology

Agile methodology is used in product development as a way to break down tasks into stages called “sprints”. Sprints require constant collaboration with the team, the organization, and the product owner(s) at every stage. It is also a way to achieve continuous improvements and iterations along the way.

What Skills Do You Need to Become a CSM?

In order to become an in-demand CSM, you will need to master a number of hard and soft skills.

  1. Scrum and Agile training
  2. Knowledge of iteration and incremental processes
  3. Develop organizational skills
  4. Familiarity with technical terms and processes related to software and software/product development
  5. Servant leadership mentality
  6. Teaching and coaching abilities
  7. Ability to troubleshoot and solve conflicts
  8. Effective communicator

Let’s dive a little deeper into the responsibilities of a Scrum Master.

Scrum Master Responsibilities

CSMs are like coaches who are tasked with leading a team on the field. Their overall goal is to get the ball to the goal line, on time and on budget. Your job as a CSM is to ensure that everyone understands their roles while keeping an open line of communication between everyone involved.

Responsibilities:

Creation and implementation:

  • Create/onboard project teams
  • Integrate team members within the organization
  • Explain the goals and vision to the product team
  • Monitor progress of the project
  • Provide constant feedback to the team, senior leaders, and product owner(s)

Resolve problems:

  • Solve challenges
  • Tackle urgent matters in a timely manner
  • Work to resolve internal conflicts and questions
  • Resolve issues between the team, leadership, and products owners
  • Teach the team how to solve problems using Scrum methodology

Improve outcomes:

  • Implement Agile methodology and practices
  • Manage integrations and iterations
  • Develop test methods that reduce errors and save time

Now, let's talk about the career opportunities that may be available, as well as Scrum Master salary ranges.

Scrum Master Jobs and Salary Ranges

There are many scrum master career paths open to CSMs, from entry-level to more senior positions. You will find both Scrum positions and Agile careers.

Sample Job Titles

  • Certified Scrum Master
  • Entry Level Scrum Master
  • Associate Scrum Master
  • Scrum Master / Agile Coach
  • Scrum Master – Operations
  • Senior Scrum Master
  • Senior Scrum Master / Program Manager
  • Scrum Master II
  • Consultant II
  • SAFe AGILIST / Scrum Master
  • Agile Delivery Manager / Scrum Master
  • Agile Scrum Master
  • Project Manager (Scrum Master)
  • Senior Product Manager

Now that you see the range of jobs that are available, what can you expect to make in these positions?

Salary Ranges

Scrum Master salaries range from around $50K for entry-level positions to more than $126K for Senior Level positions.

Here are examples of salaries from some of the leading job boards:

Salary Ranges based on experience:

As you can see, becoming a CSM can lead to a successful, high-paying career with plenty of opportunities to grow.

Enhance Your Career Opportunities with Scrum Master Certification

Becoming a CSM will help you qualify for an array of different Scrum Master jobs in any number of fields. Get started today by taking advantage of Agile Center’s consultancy and training services.

We offer courses in Agile methodologies, Scrum Master, and SAFe® for fields like government, architecture, software engineering, and DevOps. Check out our blog for additional resources and information about Scrum, Agile, and SAFe.

7 Reasons the Scrum Methodology Is so Popular in Project Management

7 Reasons the Scrum Methodology Is so Popular in Project Management

7 Reasons the Scrum Methodology Is so Popular in Project Management

Why is the scrum methodology so popular in project management? Find out seven key reasons for the method's popularity today.

Keyword(s): scrum methodology

The agile philosophy is one of the leading innovations in business philosophy. The Agile Manifesto detailed a new way of thinking about and conducting business in a fast-moving digital world when it was first published in 2001.

The Scrum methodology is every bit as innovative and forward-thinking as agile. It's potentially even more so as Scrum focuses on actual, tangible results. Scrum is the most popular methodology for realising agile goals and processes in the workplace.

Agile and Scrum are most often discussed in terms of software development. That's just one application for these innovative approaches, however. Any business can be organised to take advantage of their decentralised, client-oriented workflows.

Project management is one area where the Scrum methodology is particularly useful. Project management has become particularly prevalent in today's hyper-competitive economy. It's well worth considering how Scrum can benefit your project management workflow.

Let's see how the Scrum methodology can be implemented in project management, shall we?

Scrum Methodology And Project Management

To get a sense of how the Scrum framework can benefit your project management workflow, let's start by getting a sense of what Scrum is.

What is Scrum?

Scrum is one of the ways that agile philosophies can be implemented in an organisation. It focuses on clear goals and established roles on a project.

Scrum is organised around short bursts of intense work for a set amount of time. Scrum sprints generally last one to two weeks, with a new product or project rolled out at the end.

During a Scrum sprint, every team member has an established role. There's the Project Manager, who understands the entire visions. Then there's the Scrum manager, who makes sure each individual team is working effectively towards that end goal.

This approach is every bit as effective in project management as software development. Let's look at some ways the two work together towards realising your goals.

1. Scrum Focuses On The Customer

The Scrum methodology is uniquely focused on the customer. Scrum sprints usually last for one to two weeks. At the end, clients and shareholders are able to weigh in with their feedback.

Customer satisfaction is particularly important in project management. Scrum makes sure that you're checking in regularly. It also helps the clients to feel heard and appreciated, as they're able to play more of a part in the project management process.

2. Scrum Is Responsive

Life is unpredictable. Business is even more so. Scrum makes sure that you're able to respond quickly in light of unforeseen circumstances.

Scrum is built around regular check-ins and updates. It helps protect your organisation from having to re-do months or years of hard work.

3. Scrum Is Productive

Scrum facilitates a sense of urgency during a project. Scrum sprints are understood to be periods of speed and intensity. It's much easier to keep that up when you it's understood for a set period of time.

Scrum lends itself to short, intense bursts of productivity. This makes the most of a team's efforts. It's better for clients and workers alike.

4. Scrum Shows Results

No one likes to be left in the dark. This is especially true of customers and clients, who often have a lot of money invested in a project.

Scrum ensures that there will be some sort of finished result at the end of the push. It's built around having tangible, concrete results at regular intervals. This helps negate customer's insecurities. It also helps keep them informed about the project management process.

5. Keeps Everyone On The Same Page

Scrum is built around regular meetings and updates. Scrum teams meet up and discuss their individual progress as well as the overall goal. This keeps wasted work and confusion down to a minimum.

It also helps to reduce resentment in the workplace. It helps each team understand their unique role towards realising the completed project.

6. Scrum Is Scalable

Scrum is infinitely adaptable. It's organised around independent teams, with each team playing a part in realising the final goal.

There's no limit to how many Scrum teams can be working on a project. The Scrum methodology makes sure that everyone knows their place on the overall project. It also makes sure that each individual team is working towards the overall goal.

7. Scrum Is Collaborative

Scrum is particularly adept at helping independent teams working together. This is particularly important in project management.

Project management involves a lot of moving parts. There are so many logistics in helping get an idea from conception to realisation. It's particular important that all of those parts work together to realise goals and work efficiently.

Scrum is especially effective at creating a cohesive work environment. Thanks to regular updates, it's easy for one team to get additional assistance if another team happens to be ahead of schedule.

It also ensures that team leaders and the workforce are on the same page. It helps everyone feel valued and understood, from the clients down to the employees.

Technology has changed the way we think about and do business in every way. It's never been more important to stay competitive and work efficiently. Agile and Scrum methodologies bring this efficiency to the realm of project management, to everybody's benefit.

Want To Find Out How Agile and Scrum Can Help You?

Agile and Scrum have completely revolutionised the way we go about business. They ensure that every component of an organisation is working to their utmost potential.

If you're ready to find out how the Scrum methodology can make your business more efficient, check out our upcoming certification courses for both agile and Scrum.

Agile vs Scrum Training: What's the Difference?

Agile vs Scrum Training: What's the Difference?

Agile vs Scrum Training: What's the Difference?

Are you wondering what's the difference between agile vs scrum training? Find out the key differences in these training programs today.

Keyword(s): agile vs scrum

Agile development has been making headlines for almost the entire 21st Century. Beginning life in 2001 in the wake of an auspicious skiing weekend, The Agile Manifesto sought to address some of the concerns facing the tech industry at the dawning of a new millennium.

The roots of agile go back even further. The development philosophy dates back to the 90s, when businesses were already struggling to keep up in a quickly accelerating world.

Scrum goes back just as far and has also made a revolutionary impact on the way we conduct business. You just don't hear about it quite as much as agile. The two are intimately related but not identical.

We're here to set the record straight about agile vs scrum, to let you know which approach will best suit the needs of you and your organisation.

What You Need To Know About Agile Vs Scrum

Let's start off by looking at each of this different approaches. Understanding each more thoroughly will give you a more thorough understanding of agile vs scrum and which approach will best suit your particular needs.

What Is Agile?

Agile is not a concrete product or service. It's more of a philosophy of how to conduct business in a digital age. It refers to a lot more than just software development due to this fact.

Agile processes or methods create an environment of constant evolution, improvement, and development. Rather than focusing on complete projects, agile processes emphasise collaboration and continual feedback.

Agile emphasises structuring your organisation into independent teams working towards a final goal. This is in contrast to the traditional waterfall method, where each step is laid out ahead of time before development even begins. In today's quickly-shifting world, it's difficult to know what complications might arise ahead of time.

The agile approach also puts the client in a more central role in the development process. It's easier to address their concerns and needs while the work is happening. This makes it easier to address their needs as they arise, as well as ensuring their satisfaction with the end product.

Agile methodologies can be implemented in a number of ways. Kanban is one approach, which is a method for visualising workflows during a project. Feature-driven development is another, where each feature of a project or product are developed one at a time.

There are a number of different approaches to implementing agile in your workplace. Scrum is one of them.

What Is Scrum?

Scrum is a subset of agile. It's the most popular method for realising agile goals and philosophies due to its iterative approach.

Scrum is organised around fixed-length intervals which allow for rapid deployment of software. These are known as sprints, which typically last for one to two weeks. At the end of a sprint, clients and shareholders are able to assess the results and weigh in with their feedback.

Every employee is given a fixed role during a scrum sprint. Each role has its own duties and responsibilities. This ensures that everyone knows their place during a project and what it contributes towards the final goal.

The Product Owner is responsible for the whole vision of a project. This means overseeing not only the development process but also the business and marketing goals. They are essentially the mediators between the clients, shareholders, and the development team.

The Scrum Master is essentially the overseer for the development process. They keep tabs on each team of the Scrum. They also oversee regular meetings, ensuring that everyone remains on target and meeting their deadlines.

Everyone else working on a project is the Scrum Team. Every Scrum team has its unique goals that it works towards, with each member doing their part to make sure those goals are met.

Agile Vs Scrum: Final Thoughts

As you can see, agile and Scrum are similar but not identical. Agile is a philosophy while Scrum is a methodology. An organisation can be agile but not implement Scrum, for instance.

There all manner of ways your organisation can implement agile principles in a project. Scrum just happens to be the most popular.

You can implement Scrum without being agile, as well. There are advantages to using Scrum even if your organisation hasn't totally switched over to the agile framework yet.

One of the key differences in agile vs Scrum is that agile is on-going and continuous. Scrum focuses on maximum results in the shortest amount of time, on the other hand.

Likewise, agile focuses on continual deployment of a product or service. This means the project is constantly being worked on and improved. Scrum focuses on delivering results after each sprint, in contrast.

Agile also puts greater emphasis on management and leadership. Scrum is more self-directing and autonomous.

Finally, agile focuses more on streamlined, efficient workflows and processes. Scrum is able to get more ambitious and experimental, however. There's nothing preventing you from having as many teams as you want working on a Scrum project, working towards a greater goal.

Agile and Scrum work amazingly well together. They both have their strengths and weaknesses. Both are highly useful in helping your organisation remain efficient and competitive in a fast-moving, demanding digital marketplace.

Each one can be implemented separately, of course. They go particularly well together, however. Try them both out and see which ones work best for your organisation!

Ready To Get Agile?

The workplace isn't going to get less competitive. The genie is out of the bottle with digital technology. It's up to us, as business owners and developers to remain efficient and ahead of the curve.

Now that you understand agile vs Scrum better, check out our upcoming training sessions and find out how to get certified yourself!

Agile Center

Agile Center provides consultancy and training services in the following areas: Lean-Agile Transformation, Agile Strategy audit & implementation and Agile Program/Portfolio management.

Agile Center is a brand of Architecture Center Ltd.