Adapt to Remote Working

Transitioning 6 major programs to remote working within two weeks

The Situation

ZXM has been providing coaching capability at the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). With the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, priorities adjusted rapidly requiring 6 major programs to shift tact.

Concerned with the impact of change, adaptabililty, and enterprise resilience, ZXM were approached to lead the transition to remote working.

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Rapid remote deployment

Move several hundred people to remove work with the least impact to delivery.

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Workforce effectiveness

Minimise productivity and delivery impacts.

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Resilience to change

Ensure the transition did not create chane fatigue in an already stressful COVID environment.

The Solution

ZXM collaborated with ATO’s leadership to quickly bring together relevant advice and develop a remote work strategy within 48 hours. Its tactics provided practical information and recommendations on how to effectively facilitate agile delivery in a fully distributed environment.

The strategy included recommendations, guidelines, tools and resources for:

  • Remote meeting participation and ‘netiquette’.
  • Remote team charters and working agreements.
  • Online facilitation guides.
  • Program coordination and enablement events.
  • Preparing and running virtual Program Increment (PI) Planning with SAFe®.
  • Practical suggestions on dealing with tooling and bandwidth issues.

It quickly became clear to ZXM that the teams with the greatest resilience to change were those with greater levels of agile capability maturity. Typically, these were agile programs areas that ZXM had been transitioning to SAFe® as part of the programs’ business transformation and were adapting better to the rapid shift to remote work.

ZXM conducted capability assessments to baseline the 6 flagship programs’ agile capability maturity to anticipate which areas would need more assistance with the transition.

The ZXM coaches primarily focused on coaching and supporting the areas more at risk for remote working. Some practical solutions and activities included:

  • One-on-one mentoring and coaching Scrum Masters.
  • Facilitating program Retrospectives dedicated to reviewing remote working and making recommendations for improvements to adaptability. 
  • Increasing the transparency of work through enhanced use of digital tools.
  • Improving digital communication.
  • Introducing new disaster recovery practices for tooling, digital connectivity and communications.

The Results

Within 2 weeks remote guides were developed and provided to agile teams as they started to transition to working from home. ZXM coaches identified which teams would need coaching support based on Agile IQ assessment of key indicators of team’s effectivness to work remotely. These teams were given additonal support from leadership and coaches during the transition period. 

The agile teams were able to pivot to the changes and stay productive delivering in their sprints and Program Increment. They have become more deliberate in their communication using appropriate tooling and practices. There is more commitment to backlog refinement to ensure alignment on expectations of the work. Teams have become more diligent in keeping work items up-to-date to enhance transparency of their work. They continued strengthening team bonds and connectedness, through working together through these challenges remotely.

Maintained productivity

Programs remained effective and productive in remote delivery.

At risk areas supported

ZXM's Agile IQ® tools identifed areas of low adaptability for treatment.

Successful transition to virtual events

Programs were able to be effective in staying connected and running remote program events.

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