To say that life has changed recently for all of us would be a bit of an understatement. On both business and personal fronts, old routines and standards have been abandoned in favor of new pandemic-friendly norms. One of those new norms involves working from home for virtually every person whose job is not location-dependent.
For some businesses, the transition to a remote workforce has been seamless. For others, the transition has been somewhat chaotic, exacerbating the confusion and stress of a seemingly out-of-control situation.
Why have some companies struggled while others have adapted with ease? It’s likely the successful companies had already developed an infrastructure that enables teams to work remotely prior to the crisis.
Here at Applause, we made the transition to a remote-work structure in mid-March. For us, the transition was particularly smooth, and hasn’t resulted in any disruption in our services. Since the core focus of our business model revolves around remote, distributed testing, we were well-prepared for a greater emphasis on remote work with both infrastructure and experience.
That stands in stark contrast to other business models that were dependent on in-office workers, such as offshore outsourcing companies.
If your company is adjusting to our new normal, we’re here to help. We’ve condensed our expertise and many years of remote-work experience into the following three actionable tips that can help your company adapt to this new norm while maintaining business continuity.
#1: Think about processes specifically for remote work
Every enterprise has its own unique culture. Embedded within that culture are processes and procedures that may have been in place for many years — ‘our way of doing things,’ so to speak.
But those long-held processes and procedures might need tweaks as organizations transition to a more remote workforce. The old way of doing things could be poorly suited for remote working.
For development and QA teams, a transition to remote work is likely to reveal and exacerbate any problems with long-standing processes. In fact, this sudden and forced transition to remote working provides an opportunity to improve in-place processes in ways that can benefit both remote and in-office work.
For a QA team working remotely, you’ll want to consider how to ensure the quality control of QA. Provide testing instructions that are bulletproof and leave no room for misinterpretation. Incorporate video and technology into your testing methods when necessary, such as for user experience testing.
#2: Change how you communicate
The importance of communication is magnified when in-office jobs migrate to a remote environment. That’s why it’s critical to implement new routines and processes to assure clear and constant communication with, and among, remote workers.
Product and development groups are likely more accustomed to working remotely. However, in this environment, we encourage doubling down on communication to ensure you maintain Agile workflows.
Have daily stand-ups virtually and communicate messages to the team at-large to avoid repetitive meetings. This process helps to quickly align everyone on the day’s priorities, while simultaneously providing an open forum for the entire team to ask questions or address concerns.
You can also do a quick phone call — 5-10 minutes often suffices — to quickly communicate information. This is often more effective and efficient than a lengthy email chain.
#3: Have a continuity plan
Remember — we’re in a pandemic, and you should hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
Your business should be thinking about several important practical considerations that are relevant to all teams, including those aligned with software development.
For example, your plan should, at a minimum, consider:
- Information backup processes and access procedures
- Supply or distribution issues
- Training new employees
- Inability to access physical assets in the office (such as a device lab) and how you will recreate that
Here at Applause, we can’t help you too much with those first three bullet points above. But, if you were relying on a device lab to conduct testing of new products or features, now could be the time to consider the merits of crowdtesting, where testers are curated from a global community to form a testing team that fits your needs. This model requires a testing partner that has the infrastructure in place to manage a global community of testers who do all their work remotely.
As a greater percentage of your company’s employee base transitions to working from home, it’s important to ensure that the quality of your products doesn’t suffer during the transition. As a global leader in distributed testing, Applause is well-positioned to help you keep pace with QA demands during these trying times.