Using Measurement to Optimise Remote Work

Using Measurement to Optimise Remote Work

Dave Longman, an account manager with UK software firm HeadForwards, recently published an article titled Working from Home and its Impact on Productivity.

Dave Longman, an account manager with UK software firm HeadForwards, recently published an article titled Working from Home and its Impact on Productivity. Longman challenged the traditional bias towards co-location by measuring the flow of stories by teams working remotely over lockdown. His findings indicate that the velocity before and during lockdown was not too dissimilar. Michael Schrage of MIT’s Sloan School of Management also recently wrote about how newly remote organisations are optimising pandemic performance by using a broader range of data-driven insights.

Schrage wrote of the importance of measurement for organisations seeking to remain performant during the pandemic. He wrote that "pulse surveys monitoring employee engagement and morale increased from fortnightly to every few days." Schrage explained that effective managers are "tracking what‚ and who delivers value well." He wrote:

Stressed, separated, and challenged to do better with less, people need greater insight into how they’re doing. Productivity now demands more aggressive and actionable measures.

Longman wrote that Headforwards, like other Agile organisations, had always co-located its teams "to make the most of team collaboration." He wrote that it can be "quite a change for an Agile company to experience working in a completely different way." Following mandatory lock-down, he saw that teams appeared to remain effective despite the "lack of face to face communication." Longman observed the need for a data-backed explanation:

Teams had adapted to the new working practices, communication was very good, and our feeling was that we were delivering at least as much as before lockdown...But could we prove it? Could we use the data we have to measure our productivity and use that as an ongoing indicator of our performance?

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