Home Blog Team Management How Agile Helped Favro Build Engagement to Common Goals Among Their Globally Distributed Software Team

How Agile Helped Favro Build Engagement to Common Goals Among Their Globally Distributed Software Team

Author Juliya Mankovskaya
Posted Aug 09, 2018
Team Management

Favro is an innovative planning and collaboration tool that enables the world's most progressive businesses to achieve organizational flow. It helps companies do what they excel at—making products and services that change the game.


Patric Palm Favro CEO

 

We have interviewed Patric Palm, the Co-founder and CEO at Favro. We asked him to share the methods he uses to manage and motivate his globally-scattered development teams. Along with his tips, he also shared how to build engagement to common goals with the help of Agile Methodology and Transparent management.

Q: Could you start by telling us more about Favro and your Product? How did the idea of creating such Agile-based application appear?

Patric: The idea of Favro came when we were running another company–an Agile software development platform for large product teams. After ten years of successfully running this company, we started to see two major trends. The first trend lied in gradual moving from structured frameworks to more organic approaches of self-organization when large software development teams were trying to scale Agile development. The second one lied in the tendency of Agile to interwoven with all other teams: marketing, administration, executive, etc.

And this inspired us. We thought, “maybe we can create an app which is easy to use in any kind of team, not just software development.” All these teams can run Agile in the way they want, and all these teams can be connected with one app, so their companies can become more Agile.”

Patric Palm Favro CEO

Q: Is it possible for non-Agile organizations to stay successful and globally-competitive? Is Agile for everyone?

Patric: It depends on the company’s challenge. If the company’s market doesn't change rapidly and the organization doesn’t need to adapt fast, then it could be successful by economies of scale and corporate process efficiency.

However, today the majority of markets are rapidly changing. This impacts more teams within the organizations—product development, marketing teams, the board level and even executives. If the company exists on a market with rapid change, they have to adapt fast. And, if they have to adapt fast, then Agile is the best way to face this challenge.

If the company exists on a market with rapid change, they have to adapt fast. And, if they have to adapt fast, then Agile is the best way to face this challenge.

Q: How do you use your own tool to work with remote developers?

Patric: Our employees are located in our headquarters in Uppsala, Sweden, as well as in Vietnam, Ukraine, and the US, so it’s very important for us to manage the work of distributed teams. Favro is very powerful for this purpose. Each of our distributed teams has its own product backlog, and they are completely autonomous in how they commit from these backlogs. All of their workflows are running in Favro where they can track ongoing work of the team, map future releases, and much more in real-time. We've synchronized Favro with Slack, so now it can function as an integrated platform for communication, planning and workflow management.

Removing the impediments that are holding teams back from success and understanding why this particular feature is important is enough to motivate your employees.

Q: How often do you schedule meetings to review assigned tasks and goals when working with teams across time zones?

Patric: Favro’s teams are called ‘squads’ and they are highly autonomous. Each ‘squad’ has a mission and robust metrics that allow them to monitor their success. The ‘squads’ are reviewing these metrics on a daily basis to decide what actions should be taken. On a company level, we have meetings scheduled once a week.

Favro development team

Q: You mentioned that “social nuances are lost over digital communication”. What are the main challenges of communication online? What solutions could you offer?

Patric: Yes, the main challenge of online communication is that many social nuances are lost. However, if there is a language barrier, written communication can be easier for teammates because it is a more stripped down way of communicating.

The main challenge of online communication is that many social nuances are lost.

There’s also a communication difference between introverts and extroverts. Extroverts tend to be more frustrated by the stripped-down nature of digital communication. Whereas introverts might actually find this type of communication to be more effective because it gives them some time to think through what they want to communicate.

Teams can overcome these challenges by investing in face-to-face meetings where you can build trust and relationship with each other. This can be as simple as meeting up for dinner. Another way to do this is a “hackathon,” which can help teammates gain an understanding of how they can better work together. Once you establish this basic level of trust, teammates will feel more comfortable videoconferencing or picking up the phone to sort out miscommunication.

There’s also a communication difference between introverts and extroverts. Extroverts tend to be more frustrated by the stripped-down nature of digital communication. Whereas introverts might actually find this type of communication to be more effective because it gives them some time to think through what they want to communicate.

software development team Favro

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Q: On your website, you mentioned the term “uninspired development?” What does it mean? Can this phenomenon somehow affect the feeling of identity among dispersed software development teams?

Patric: Uninspired development is when people see the development work as just a job or just the act of writing some code. They see their work only as tasks. One thing I’m a big believer in, and which we value at Favor, is “outcome-driven development.” In every project, it’s important for us to make the mission clear, namely by asking what we try to achieve and what a successful outcome looks like.

One way to succeed in outcome-driven development is to be clear about the context of a feature, explain why this feature is important, and how it fits our customer experience. The questions like “Why will customers benefit from it?”, “What does a successful outcome look like?” will help you.

One way to succeed in outcome-driven development is to be clear about the context of a feature, explain why this feature is important, and how it fits our customer experience.

When you’re successful in providing context, most people, even distributed teams, get extremely motivated. They know that what they are working on is cool and are proud of it. They know that if they do it successfully, it will impact many people worldwide who are using our tool. You don’t need to give motivational speeches. Removing the impediments that are holding teams back from success and understanding why this particular feature is important is enough to motivate your employees.

When you’re successful in providing context, most people, even distributed teams, get extremely motivated

Favro development team meeting

Q: How do you overcome lack of social interaction among remote software developers? How often do you make calls instead of online discussions? How effective is it?

Patric: Lack of social interaction is no longer a problem if your teams are autonomous and empowered to work toward the goals of that ‘squad’. If these goals are clear and have live metrics, the ‘squads’ can judge their own success.

Lack of social interaction is no longer a problem if your teams are autonomous and empowered to work toward the goals of that ‘squad’.

Patric Palm Favro CEO

Q: How often do you organize face-to-face meetings with your remote software development teams?

Patric: We do regular townhalls, which are video-recorded. We also organize some real-life meetings, so each team has to fly in once or twice a year.

Q: What methods are the most effective in keeping remote employees motivated and engaged?

Transparency. The tools like Slack and Favro give everyone an overview of what’s going on in the company. It also makes it clear what each individual team is doing. And, they become more motivated, by knowing that others can see what they’re doing.

Clear Mission. Companies need to have a clear understanding of what success looks like in terms of quality and metrics. One of the most powerful methods of engagement is to track the right metrics so that you know where you’re excelling, and where you need to improve. By doing this, teams don’t dependent on managers to tell them whether they’re doing well. This goes back to having a sense of purpose, autonomy, and mastery.

Companies need to have a clear understanding of what success looks like in terms of quality and metrics.

Key Takeaways:

  • Use Agile if you need to adapt to constantly changing working environment.
  • Synchronize Favro with Slack, so it allows you to have an integrated platform for communication, planning and workflow management.
  • Schedule online meetings once a week and a face-to-face meeting once or twice per year.
  • Remove the impediments that are holding teams back from success and understand why this particular feature is important and you will motivate your developers
  • Create a ‘transparent’ environment, where everyone is aware of what the others are doing.
  • Have a clear understanding of how success looks like in terms of quality and metrics.
  • Set up live metrics, so you know where you’re excelling, and where you need to improve.

If you want to get more information — follow Patric Palm and Favro on Twitter.

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Juliya Mankovskaya

Juliya Mankovskaya is an avid Outreach Specialist at Daxx. She is passionate about Digital Marketing, IT and modern technologies. Julia is responsible for Daxx social media promotion and external publications.

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