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Location-independent agile: Key to making big companies digitally responsive

 

Krishnan Ramanujam
President, Service Line
11 September 2018

In the last two decades, businesses with agile development projects have gone to great lengths to bring together the right team, in one room, to facilitate face-to-face conversations. Actually, that was the 6th teaching of The Agile Manifesto: “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.” 
However, that notion doesn’t hold true anymore, nor is it realistic. In fact, forcing agile teams to be in the same room is an impediment to efficiency and productivity.

Instead, companies that are embracing agile methods to digitally transform their businesses must make their agile teams location-independent. By this we mean, team members must be able to participate in meetings from wherever they reside around the world.

Doing so will ensure project leaders will have round-the-clock access to skills and knowledge, and deliver on schedule. A growing number of organizations are making location-independent agile teams work. Surveys by ForresterVentureOne, and Scott Ambler+ Associates all indicate that businesses are finding great success by creating diverse teams split among various locations.

Here are guidelines to help you build and manage those teams: 

  • Insure intellectual harmony: Right from the start, it’s important that all agile team members understand each other’s domains and terminology. This way, they will understand each other better and communicate more effectively.

  • Promote role equality: Make sure everyone knows what each brings to the table and respects everyone for their expertise.

  • Protect strongly: Guard agile team members’ time and focus from the whims of other managers who are not involved in their digital initiative, especially when daily organizational pressures mount.

  • Convert widely: Convince skeptical executives to become agile. Get them to embrace and advocate agile. 

Agile team members must be comfortable working from different locations. Businesses that adopt location-independent agile teams can deliver quick results by leveraging skills and knowledge across the globe.

If you would like to learn more about how your business can flourish by instituting location-independent agile work teams, read my article Why Your Agile Team is Better Off Dispersed: The Case for Location-independent Agile in the latest edition of our management journal, Perspectives.

About the author(s)
Krishnan Ramanujam
President, Service Line

Krishnan Ramanujam is currently the President and Head of Business & Technology Services in TCS. He leads Consulting and Service Integration, Cognitive Business Operations and Digital Transformation Services globally. Krishnan drives forward the vision, direction and go-to-market strategy for TCS’ Services Lines. In addition to fostering the development of new services and solutions, he also guides the complex global transformation initiatives for the world’s leading enterprises.

He also drives growth and profitability for companies by spearheading and leading their evolution to next generation, agile operating models and transform business functions. Krishnan has successfully positioned TCS as the industry’s leading expert in enterprise transformations by developing and leveraging best-in-class experts and offerings in Design Thinking, Consulting, Cloud, IoT, AI, Analytics and Enterprise Applications.

In addition to helping TCS’ clients transform their businesses, Krishnan is focused on transitioning TCS to be fully agile by 2020 – upskilling and reskilling thousands of employees, building collaborative workspaces, enhancing the management of contracts and partnerships and improving customer service.

Krishnan has been a part of TCS for the past 28 years, and has rich experience in business and technology consulting. He has held several key leadership positions such as the global Head of Consulting Enterprise Solutions, Chief Operating Officer of TCS Financial Solutions, Director for the State Bank of India Group Core Banking Program, and head of TCS’s Global e-Commerce & Enterprise Application Integration practice. He also had a brief stint with Tata Internet Services as its Chief Technology Officer.

Krishnan joined TCS in 1991 after completing his Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering form the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Indiana, USA. He also holds Bachelor’s degree in Instrumentation and Control Engineering from The Government College of Technology, Coimbatore, India. Krishnan is an excellent speaker and as a thought leader, he speaks in global conferences and actively interacts and shapes opinion among industry analysts.

Krishnan lives in Mumbai, India with his wife and two daughters. An avid reader, he enjoys non-fiction books, music, movies and tennis, and is passionate about promoting education in India’s rural communities.

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