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Why banking technologists need to be back in the office.

"Agile methodologies don't mix with remote working"

I work as a senior technologist for an investment bank in London, and I welcome staff on my team returning to the office. 

This is because it's far more difficult to implement agile methodologies when our people are working from home. 

Agile is about working in a far more responsive way and responding incrementally as things arise. It means breaking things into much smaller units of work while keeping your north star in mind. It's not entirely free format - there's still a lot of structure, and that structure requires a lot of communication.

In our business, everything we do has dependencies. As we work our way through a problem in an agile way, these dependencies are far easier to manage if we're in the office and able to communicate smoothly with each other. It's not impossible to use agile remotely, but it's certainly more difficult. A lot of the benefits of Agile are derived from teams being co-located and looking over each other's shoulders. 

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As for Agile - it's a method to solve a problem. No where does it say you have to be in the same spot. If it's difficult for you, perhaps you are not being agile in your mindset.

At the same time, I believe that as humans we are naturally social and benefit from being in the office. The role of a developer or a technology manager is naturally creative, and that creativity is fed when you're working together in the same space. 

I don't doubt that many technologists will disagree with me, but I have seen the benefits of working in the same physical space in action. I'm not arguing that we need to be in the office all the time: hybrid working has a place. But for technology teams in banks to be truly high performing, it makes sense to be in the office more often than not. 

Adeline Collins is a pseudonym

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  • th
    theMountinman
    5 July 2022

    This sounds like a you problem. Quit trying to make your problem everyone's problem.

    Really getting tired of management, the biggest roadblock to productivity, trying to rewrite the end of WFH as anything other than latent control issues based on a fundamental lack of trust. If you don't trust your employees to do the right thing, you hired the wrong employees.

  • St
    Stephen Ferjanec
    4 July 2022

    You must not have an effective SCRUM master, poor leadership, or both. I worked for a consulting firm for 12 years prior to the pandemic, on SCRUM teams, 80% remote most of the time. Now 100% remote. Still on a SCRUM team, more effective than ever. The trick is your teams have good leadership so they don't need babysitting. Humans by nature are social creatures- which Zoom, Teams, and other video collaboration tools support.
    It's not 1990 anymore. Learn to adapt and become efficient in a changing world. No on e is going to listen to these excuses any longer about why remote work is ineffective, when we all know it's more effective because it enhances work/life balance.

    Also, workers, especially in the tech industry, hold all the cards. Force in-person on us, we will find another company. Remote work allows for a global, not regional or local only, workforce. There is no reason to stay with a company who harbors these antiquated ideas.

  • Pa
    Paul Kersey
    4 July 2022

    You are not fighting a battle or serving customers at a restaurant. You don't have to build a solution every minute. You need communication which we do thru meetings and if you need immediate attention you use IM or direct calls. You don't need to sit on top of each other to be a team. And within a team you still have your own work to do.
    Your agile is basically keeping tabs on things, that's why you use boards and work items and have full time SMs. You don't need to be talking every minute.
    Wfh allows uninterrupted time which allows people who do the real work aka architects, developers, testers, infrastructure, devops to get things done. If you are a manager I understand you don't have actual work to do but sit in meetings and see people are working.

  • io
    iorich
    3 July 2022

    Senior technologist? Uhuh. I work as a VP in automation for a bank and agile and remote work fit well. Most banks are global anyway so there little benefit to those members being in the office when their colleagues are 5000 miles apart. Let your teams choose. Empower them. Forcing them back to work only pushes them away.

  • No
    Noony mouse
    3 July 2022

    The desperation from middle managers is hilariously palpable

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