Mastering the art of virtual collaboration

Mastering  the art of virtual collaboration
2nd March 2021

Andy Ferries, managing director at Delete / Kagool, looks at the client-agency relationship during the pandemic and sees a positive change in behaviour that he believes is here to stay. 

As part of our delivery process we’ve always used technology to aid collaboration with our customers. Over this past year however, the pandemic has curtailed all physical engagement and we’ve had to become fully reliant on those tools to support a new, fully virtual way of working together.

It’s particularly interesting to see how Microsoft DevOps has come into its own and is proving a highly effective and efficient method for our clients to continue to get the results they need – virtually. We started using it in its previous incarnation as Microsoft Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS). Moving to the Cloud-based version of Microsoft Azure DevOps in 2017 and choosing this as our end-to-end delivery and collaboration tool has given us an advantage in ensuring clients can be engaged at all stages of delivery.

We use DevOps extensively at all stages of our project lifecycle: code repositories and delivery pipelines for seamless development and project backlogs, User Acceptance Testing (UAT) and defect management for project delivery. We also use Project Boards and Risks, Issues and Actions.

We see our customers as an extended part of our delivery teams. We believe in giving full transparency during projects and therefore provide full access to Azure DevOps. With all aspects of delivery seamlessly integrated into a single system it’s easy for them to continue to collaborate, stay up to date and interact with the project team.

Custom-built dashboards allow customers and project teams alike to see progress in real time in a user-friendly format. These can be configured for each customer based on their reporting needs.

This is especially important while working remotely with no option of face-to-face meetings. Customers are engaged, up-to-date and working with the delivery teams to achieve the best possible outcomes. It’s been particularly rewarding to see how adaptive everyone really is. Previously there may have been a preference for physical collaboration but now everyone knows they can be as effective working together, wherever they are in physically in the world. This bodes well for a post- pandemic future where, in the new normal, we will continue to use these tools and benefit from the enhanced working practices that the pandemic has forced us all to embrace.

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