I have been working for a tech company in Pittsburgh for almost a year and a half now, and I recently tried a new role at work. In February, I found out my team's scrummaster was moving to a different team and we had a vacancy. I was excited to try the new role out and see where that takes me. From facilitating meetings, to learning more about the team and the customer, I was looking forward to all of it. The second week of March I became the new scrummaster for my team, and that was when the pandemic hit Pittsburgh. So like most teams when COVID-19 hit, my team was forced to go remote. Naturally, a lot of the people within the team were actually not too happy about it. The problem here was my company is one of the older standing companies in Pittsburgh and our main communication tool within the office was either Skype or walk over to the person's desk and ask a question. But now, we had to start moving everything online and that was quite a change for us. So here are some tools that we've been using with reviews attached:
Azure Dev-Ops - We moved to ADO, thankfully, right before the pandemic hit and it was such a massive lifesaver. I was able to move our scrum whiteboard online and use the analytics feature on it to get more insight from our team's data. That was massively helpful for all our scrum ceremonies, from having a common place for our stand-up reference to having better insight for our planning meetings, ADO has played a great role in being remote!
Miro - We used this tool for our remote Big Room Planning ceremony, and it was phenomenal! With Miro, we were able to chart out our future sprints well and view dependencies between stories with ease. A lot of the teams within my company loved it enough to decide to make it their collaboration board even when we're back in the office, and I think I would agree. The collaboration ability on Miro allowed everyone to access our whiteboard and think of better ways to plan our upcoming sprints.
FunRetro - The reason we like this retro tool is because we have one retro board and the team can add any comments into it through our sprint, so the points can be added at any point and discussed during the meeting.
Skype for Business - This one might be a little personal but I really don't think Skype is a good remote team tool. I think it might actually be the worst. It allows for the basic calls and conference meeting but there's no additional features that make it an attractive option to keep around for all the meetings.
Slack - Slack has gotten all the hype an app can possibly get in the workplace but I ran into issues with this when I tried to convince my team to switch over to Slack while we became remote. My team consists of a diverse group of people, that have been in the workforce for anywhere from 1-27 years. And I got the feeling that Slack and it's constant bombarding of messages just served as a distraction for a lot of people as opposed to a helpful tool. I did some digging on the internet after I experienced this and turns out Slack has been receiving some negative reviews lately. So much so that a group of people actually came up with another messaging app that is like Slack but without the distraction. So Slack was sadly, kind of a miss with our team.
Zoom - I know it's not a perfect world and I really should appreciate Zoom for all that it's done in the remote world, but I cannot help it. There's something about Zoom that I just don't like. It gives me a little anxiety every time I use it. It doesn't collapse well, I can't seem to easily get the view that I want to get with it every single time and basically, I wish we had a video conferencing app with better user interface. Before I end this little rant of mine, I feel like I should shoutout to the fun background feature Zoom has, that did make a couple routine meetings more interesting.
That was about it, if anyone reading this has some more tools they want to discuss or talk about, please feel free to drop that in the comments.