Agile and the remote worker: David Dodds

Mar 17, 2019

How do you believe the business has adapted during Covid? Have you implemented many structural changes to pivot to this new reality ? 

FinoComp has adapted brilliantly despite the impacts of Covid. Senior leadership made the call on a Monday to take the team fully remote, and it was implemented on the Tuesday. This all happened the day I returned from a UK trip. 

Without skipping a beat, the teams were up and working remotely on the Tuesday morning. We allowed staff to take their equipment home with them to ensure their home working environment was as similar as possible to the office working environment. Manty of the team picked up their office chairs and 43” monitors, maintaining their productivity, and ensuring their ergonomic health and safety. 

FinoComp has always offered staff a flexible work from home policy, so remote access to key resources was already in place prior to our decision to move to remote working. Communication options were already well established with Slack for Instant Messaging, and Google Meets for audio and video conference calling. 

Having colleagues spread across the UK and Australia, with odd times for conference calls, this also meant that FinoComp was well and truly ready to go fully remote for all staff. 

What do you feel have been the benefits of remote working ? ( for you and for the business) 

Remote working has provided a range of benefits personally and corporately. One of the first advantages is the elimination of commute time, meaning that extra bit of time to be with family, or that ability to fit that extra bit of work in, in the absence of a commute. 

Prior to full remote working, we often had some colleagues dialling into meetings from home, while the rest of the team were physically at the office. This can sometimes produce odd dynamics with a mix of presence (onsite and remote), where remote people can’t hear someone away from the microphone, or can’t see what is being drawn on the whiteboard. With all colleagues remote, those odd dynamics have been eliminated, as everyone now has a microphone, and the electronic whiteboard (or Powerpoint or Excel) is now only 30cm away from everyone’s face. 

100% remote working has improved the productivity of meetings. 

Feedback from the team suggests that productivity has not been impacted by the move to remote working. 

Personally, it means the ability to have lunch with my wife on a more regular basis, and be home when deliveries arrive 😊 

How can new business planning or brainstorming new projects/ products  continue to work effectively when being done remotely?  How is the culture kept alive? 

FinoComp culture has been kept well and truly alive. We are a close knit family, and staff generally reach out to each other on a daily basis, if just for a ‘good morning’ greeting. Our HR lead has been extremely conscientious about our culture and has arranged trivia competitions, including a live trivia event via Google Meets. We continue to hold our monthly RUMBA sessions for Recognition, Updates, Milestones, Birthdays, Anniversaries. The only thing we don’t get to do at RUMBA is to enjoy food together at the end. We still celebrate the Birthdays and Anniversaries with someone spinning the birthday chocolate wheel. 

In terms of brainstorming or planning new projects, all of our existing tools provide exactly what we need to respond to and win proposals. Because our customer base is global, we are ideally placed to be able to collaborate to propose and win a range of new deals. 

This has been evidenced through multiple wins over the last few months, which has required us to increase the size of the team. In a time when many people are losing their work, it is extremely gratifying that we are growing and providing opportunities to a range of folks who are able to join the FinoComp family. 

What communication tools have you been using and how have they helped during lockdown? 

As mentioned above, FinoComp has been using a range of communication tools for many years, given our forethought to allow people to be productive from anywhere on the planet. FinoComp uses Slack for instant messaging, Google Meets for online meetings, Google Suite for Mail and Calendar. We also uses a wide range of collaboration tools, for example, Microsoft Sharepoint for document collaboration, Atlassian Confluence for content collaboration, and Jira for work definition, tracking and allocation. 

Developers are also able to use a virtual private network (VPN) connection to gain access to development and build servers located within our facilities. 

What else has kept you busy during lockdown? 

Work has been tremendously busy with a range of new and exciting projects, so I’ve not had a lot of time for new hobbies. I have been able to find time to delve into books and recently read a great book titled A Gentleman in Moscow, by Amor Towles; a story of a man who was confined to the Metropole Hotel for political reasons. I think we can all relate to being confined lately, and I found this to be a fascinating read, and found myself sipping a snifter of Brandy/Cognac or Scotch as I read a few chapters before heading to bed.