“One of the biggest challenges working remotely is maintaining the incidental conversations that spark ideas and drive things forward, Natalie added. “I think that's the bit that’s hardest to replicate.”
With effort, she argued, challenges around team working can be at least partially resolved. “All of the soft things that you need to make an agile team really function can be replicated in a disparate world,” she said.
“There's the whole point about culture including things like chatting over lunch,” she added. “To maintain this, you have to put more effort in. But, if people view it as valuable for their work-life balance, we can’t make a blanket assumption that it can't be done any more, which sometimes, particularly in government, did happen.
“A lot of it is about putting in effort to mitigate any gaps and sometimes accepting that you're going to spend two days in the same location – because actually it's worth it.”
Agile processes could not only be maintained but actually improved, our speakers agreed. Darren said that "for software delivery teams, we've proven during the lockdown that we don't need to be in an office to continue delivering. In some respects, there's been a documented improvement in productivity with people working from home.”
Natalie agreed. “If you think about software development, a distributed model where you might have a development centre in a different country or time zone, has been around for a while across industry, but it's not been leveraged as much in government. You now start to realise how they've made it work."