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Thummaaaron for DealerOn Dev

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Collaborating remotely during a quarantine

With all of the recent changes forcing the majority of the workforce that can work remotely to do so, I figured I would shed some light on how we at DealerOn our embracing this time to collaborate effectively.

One of our teammates previously wrote an article regarding steps that can be taken that assist one another in effective remote work. I am glad to say that our company had instilled these practices before the events that caused us all to have to be away from our physical corporate offices which made the transition much smoother. I also previously posted an article in which I mentioned: " the consistency of Scrum Ceremonies can be the stabilizer for needed balance" which has reigned true since being directed to work from home amidst our self-quarantining.

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What I wanted to shed light on are the unique ways we here at DealerOn are all still staying connected during these times. Of course, we are utilizing Slack for our chatting and communicating, as well as Zoom for our cadence-based events as we did so before for any of our remote team members to stay connected. One neat thing is seeing the various virtual backgrounds that our team members have decided to display, whether it be in the mountains, at the beach, or even a SportsCenter host set which brings smiles to us during our meetings (I am partial to my Kame House background).

We have also found various tools online that help assist us during our Scrum ceremonies, such as Scrumpoker Online which helps us as a replacement for our physical Fibonacci/Planning Poker cards that we once utilized in person. This digital visualization has been fun to see play out and allows us to place story points on our tasks while refining/scoping without missing a beat. Another tool that we will find useful is the Zoom Polling, which we plan to utilize during our Confidence Voting during our upcoming PI Planning. While it is recommended to conduct PI Planning in person as much as possible, I am fully confident that we will be able to establish an effective day of planning while we are fully remote due to the buy-in our teams have to drive for improvement during this time of transition.

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Other bright spots that we have noticed during this period have come from the digital social interaction that we have made the most of. Thanks to our great staff members within the HR Department (also known as our "People Department") we have conducted games and trivia such as "Who Am I?" where a team member will select some form of personality (a fictional/nonfictional celebrity, character, historical, etc.) and allow other employees to guess via asking questions with "Yes" or "No" answers within a Slack channel. I was impressed that I was able to guess correctly for the cartoon character "Daria" in one instance! They also conducted " St. Patrick's Day Trivia" which helped as a good distraction from all of the happenings. Speaking of which, did you know where the first Irish Parade was held?... New York City! Our participants then went on to showcase how they were celebrating St. Patrick's Day by sharing pictures of their green-lit keyboards and their pet's costumes to spread some cheer. After office hours, we also conducted a "Virtual Happy Hour" where it was good to see some familiar faces with drinks in hand that spanned from cocktails, wine, and green tea.

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To assist any of our teammates in need, our People Department also has distributed a Social Distancing Survival Guide which provides information to all of our employees for the following categories:

• Mental health
• Medical support
• Activities for kids
• Access to free books
• Free educational courses
• Food pantries
• Rent assistance
• Zoos, art, museums, and opera tours/videos

Much thanks to them for thinking of everyone during these times of need!

One other measure that I helped to facilitate for our team is a "Water Cooler" Slack call, where we invited whoever was willing and able to attend to just discuss whatever was on our minds at the given moment. It was neat to see how of conversation blossomed, as it started with us discussing some of our favorite tastes in breweries such as our local office go-to True Respite, video games, and of course, we settled on discussing items about the Auto-Industry because we are DealerOn after all! Our attendees informed how this was a much-needed breath of fresh air and I was happy to be able to chat with them and hope to continue our "Water Cooler" discussions.

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Going back to my aforementioned first blog post, Scrum: A constant in a world of change, a quote stands out to me as it always did before... " nothing in life will remain the same over time". With all of the collaboration that we have been illustrating during this fully remote work, I am confident in our hope for the future since I know that if we can keep helping one another and being considerate we will overcome any obstacles that are placed upon us. If we continue the momentum that we have garnered and continually think of unique ways to connect, not only will our daily lives be improved but our work relations will improve as well. As the saying goes, "The Marathon Continues" here at DealerOn, and I could not be more proud to be part of a team that comes together and continues to be high performing despite all odds. Let's keep it going!

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Note: Even though I wanted to write about how we have now included all of our contributors into our quarterly planning and of the benefits that were recognized once that took place, the connections that are currently taking place were on my mind. I hope that some of these instances that I mentioned will help you and your organizations stay connected as well. Take care!

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