Collaboration and flexibility are key tenets of Agile. Many Agile practitioners once believed in order achieve collaboration and flexibility, a team needed to be face-to-face. Reasons sited were that colocation means more ad hoc conversations, more communication, and therefore more collaboration. Now modern tools exist that allow teams to communicate as openly and easily as shouting over a cube wall. One of those tools is Microsoft Teams.
Open and persistent communications. With Microsoft Teams, you can create a Team for your project with access given to your development team, scrum master, product owner, and even key stakeholders. You can create channels, such as a channel for the development team, where team members can openly discuss issues and solutions. I’ll even argue that a persistent chat in a team channel is BETTER than face-to-face communication since others who may not have been present for the conversation can later see what was said, as well as having a record or place to go back and grab that link you forgot to look at.
Schedule meetings and provide content. From within my project Team, I can create meeting invites for my daily scrums, my sprint planning meetings, the sprint reviews, and sprint retrospectives. For meetings like the sprint review, I can invite an entire channel so anyone may attend. I could add everyone to the review meeting individually, but it takes a long time and I might forget someone. Plus, once I’ve created the meeting in Teams, a chat is automatically and immediately created for that meeting (meaning we can chat before the meeting), where the team can discuss agenda items, or post links to documents or other content. Lastly, scheduling the meeting from Teams, generates your online meeting, complete with chat, voice, and screen sharing.
File Sharing. Each channel can have it’s own file sharing. This helps reduce time wasted looking for where that wireframe for the user story was saved, as well as allowing the team to generate conversation around a given file.
Integration with other tools. Just one example of integration with other tools is Visual Studio Team Services and your product backlog into your team. From within your development team channel (or channel of your choosing), you can update backlog tasks, and of course, maintain a persistent chat about items. The Product Owner and the development team can quickly access the backlog from directly inside Teams.
And more. That’s really just the tip of the iceberg of how Microsoft Teams works great with an Agile framework. I hope to start sharing more tips in the future!