In these times of social distancing, being together as a team becomes progressively daunting. With more and more businesses adopting remote working, it is crucial to ensure that the morale stays high and team dynamics survive the distance. As such, innovation is the key to evolve and adapt to the new ways of (remote) working. Deloitte Platform Engineering, being a tech enterprise, has undergone a symbiotic transition with technology by using available technologies progressively while continuing to create new technologies.
The DPE journey towards complete remote working has been ground-breaking and inclusive, true to our unique culture. We adopted untested practices and discarded several methodologies believed to be effective. Through a process of collective innovation and pragmatic elimination, we have successfully transitioned into a new way of working. Though not a blueprint, this journey has proven several hypotheses, broken many myths and has laid a foundation for many changes in the days (and years) to come. Let us have a look at the various aspects of this transformation.
The show must go on (Keeping an eye on the big picture)
Any change takes time, and considering the phrase “time is money”, no business can afford to lose either. In times like these, the ability to adapt with minimal disruption becomes paramount. From a client’s perspective, amid all this uncertainty, a technical project completing as planned is one less hole to patch. At DPE, the transition to remote working has been as smooth as could be as we were a flexible working group to begin with. The fact that projects have continued to proceed on schedule speaks for itself. The success of this transition could act as a foundation for effective remote working fleets in the years to come.
In many cases, the teams had mobilised to work from home by the time the client locations came to the decision of advising vendors to work remotely. Timely and open communication helped us navigate these times with minimal ambiguity and tardiness.
We're here for our clients (Our absence should not be felt by our clients)
With teams working remotely, the first conceivable flip side would be the loss of direct communication with client representatives. This fact actually runs at the core of the client-location work strategy. One would note that the client representatives themselves are working remotely and it would be impossible to have everyone at everyone’s place anyway. Even so, at DPE, we have made sure to keep the communication and transparency almost on par as when working from client locations. Thanks to the myriad of collaboration tools and video conferencing facilities, we have continued to have regular catchups with our clients, in addition to routine ceremonies and meetings. This keeps a healthy flow of information and ideas and mitigates any potential hiccups due to a lack of face-to-face communication.
This presence has a subliminal message of solidarity with the client. When everyone is isolated and movement is restricted, working with vendor teams in similar situations boosts the morale and makes getting used to it easier. Communicating with a person on a video call is much more soothing for the nerves than talking to a mailbox. At DPE, we make sure to extend the presence felt beyond corporate boundaries.
The workforce of tomorrow, today! (We’re a well-oiled machine already)
The DPE community has always been a well-knit one. Since the lockdowns and isolation, this aspect has matured and evolved many times over already. Across the ranks, everyone goes the extra mile to make sure no one feels left out. Impromptu check-ins have become increasingly common. After a week of client work, our partners call out for a casual (and virtual) drinks catch-up. Be it Slack channels or Zoom video calls, everyone is there for everyone, always!
Working with such a diverse, proactive and helpful group tones down the feeling of isolation and makes remote working more fun than one could ever imagine. There have always been several group activities to keep the DPE family together. Amid the lockdown, these activities have proven to be much more affirming and crucial to bringing everyone closer and helping each other. Humour has emerged as a great ally in these grim times. Short of doing "knock-knock" jokes, we make sure the spirits are high as can be.
From prodigal grad cohorts to veteran comic book aficionados, everyone plays their part in making sure there is always something new happening at DPE.
There are Pink Days
AND Trivia Nights
AND HIIT sessions with professional trainers.
We also have a channel for updated details on the COVID-19 situation in proximity for handy reference.
The DPE community is an ecosystem of unparalleled talent and unbridled companionship which continues to shine.
This is how we roll... (And how you can too)
Here are some of the innovative ways in which DPE keeps the spark alive in remote work. These can come in handy for anyone looking for tips to cope with the new normal.
Sprint planning and daily stand-ups
Starting with the most fundamental activity of the agile world, these short meetings are now conducted in video conferences. Short of patting a colleague on the back, these calls keep the collaboration intact.
These are conducted on Trello boards with team members participating with the virtual cards as they would using markers or post-its.
Daily coffee catchups
Conducted over video calls, these are “strictly no work talk” catchups where all team members just hang out and share their days. The coffee is optional, but the camaraderie is inherent in these sessions.
Weekly national coffee catchups
These are weekly events on a larger scale when the entire DPE community comes together to share laughs, anecdotes and play some games.
National board games night
As the name suggests, it is a virtual get-together for board game aficionados. The platform used is something like boardgamearena.com
Weekly fitness challenges
“All work and no play makes everyone Jack”
~ Anonymous DPE’r
These are sets of challenges for everyone to complete and share as we go through the lack of mobility in our day to day lives.
Daily yoga and meditation sessions
Driven by our very energetic Paulina, these are guided meditation sessions to kickstart every day in a healthy way.
Con Connect: Virtual Fly Home
Virtual avatars of our very popular "Fly Home Fridays" : Casual catch-up sessions for exchanging ideas from across client assignments. A great way to sync with everything DPE.
Strava group for collaborative exercises
For activities such as running, cycling, etc., there is a Strava community of enthusiasts on the platform.
Generally included in one of the sessions, these are random guessing games with one artist sketching to their heart’s content.
These are quizzes played across DPE with a wide range of format, it can become very competitive at times.
The road ahead (The journey lies in front of us)
These are uncharted seas; the pandemic has the whole world scrambling. There are lockdowns across the globe with a focus on safety and containment. Industry is running on a need-only basis, under constraints ranging from a lack of market to international travel restrictions. Amid the uncertainty and panic, industry leaders are doing their part. There have been massive donations to research initiatives, increased social outreach and relief funds globally. Deloitte recently launched an informational map for real time updates about the impacts in any given country. In times like these, it is up to the industry leaders to break new ground. Deloitte CEO Richard Deutsch spoke about the impact this outbreak would have on the adoption of new technologies.
As we go deeper into the lockdown, we must maintain sight of the ultimate goal of uplifting ourselves and each other. Deloitte has an ongoing narrative of the times as they unfold. At DPE, we continue to maintain the quality of work and hold our front as a collective technology powerhouse. Through collective effort, we deliver value to clients, create new technologies and successfully experiment with new ways of working. These are a few of the key aspects we must never lose sight of:
- Safety first: Be it one’s own safety, one’s family and friends, or anyone we come across. Every action ought to ensure that safety is given utmost importance.
- Social responsibility: In times of crisis, order is one of the easiest things to fall out of. We must act responsibly and help maintain order around us.
- Mutual support: The feeling of having someone you can rely upon is one of the biggest motivators. Being there for someone is the biggest act of kindness.
- Integrity: The lack of close proximity should not be a reason to behave irresponsibly or without integrity. We must ensure that what was reliable continues to be so.
We strive to set a culture of excellence, no matter what the times dictate. This is the only way we can emerge from the metamorphosis harder, better, faster and stronger.
Have any queries or would like to know more about how DPE is making remote-working efficient? We will be glad to be of help. Get in touch.