What Is Sococo?
Sococo is an online workplace that adds the magic of co-location back into the day to day life of distributed Agile teams.
Whether you’re in a headquarters, satellite office, home office or you're with an offshore contractor, Sococo recreates the personal proximity and functionality of a physical office needed by teams in an online experience.
Your team can co-locate online in an office space that is based in a visual map with avatars representing team members. These are real rooms on a real map that are always there – not an abstract notion of a “channel” or “message thread” or “work group”. We’ve created clever features that mimic the things you need to do together in a physical office. Invite to anyone to join you instantly. With a click, video, audio and screen share are instantly up, and a spontaneous meeting has just frictionlessly and immediately started.
Distributed Agile teams use Sococo to self-organize in a way that is taken for granted in a shared physical space – and so crucial to successful Agile development. Agile teams love to work together online in Sococo!
A Sococo online office with an Agile team meeting in progress. We offer many different visual layouts that adapt to your team's size and specific needs.
Why Distributed Agile Teams Need Sococo
All distributed agile teams face the same problem: how can software organizations in multiple locations truly forge and cultivate an agile mindset when people are not physically co-located?
To truly establish this mindset on a distributed Agile Enterprise team, you need an online place where everyone comes together to connect and interact as if they were in the same physical location. This is where Sococo comes in.
Whether you’re in headquarters, satellite office, home office or offshore contractor, Sococo brings all your employees together and allows you to just naturally get what’s going on with everyone at a glance.
Sococo Solutions to the 5 Distributed Agile Team Dilemmas
Agility relies on people being able to have frictionless access to each other so that collaboration can happen when it needs to, not on a schedule.
“We know we have to work harder as a distributed team to self organize, but it feels like impediments are harder to remove, doing quick code reviews are hard to pull together without friction, and inertia is starting to set in among the team.”
Sococo Solution: Avatars and the map provides a sense of grounding and accessibility in a digital workplace that really feels like a physical workplace. Code reviews and informal tests are easily pulled together on the fly, as well as other key project discussions.
Distributed Agile teams are at greater risk for their planning and retrospective ceremonies to be late, unengaging, and ineffective.
“Our set of communication tools don’t allow for a “level playing field” when it comes to group participation - the loud ones are going to win every time, and our facilitators have a pretty hefty challenge when it comes to connecting us all.”
Sococo Solution: Seeing who is in the room and the level at which they are able to participate is instantly observable in Sococo. It provides a constant visual indication of who is in the meeting, and paints a clear picture of team engagement.
Standup never starts on time and the ScrumMaster spends way too much time just managing that ceremony and associated fallout.
"Standup is the primary way the team sets its goals for the day, and we really rely on it being efficient and well paced. But between conference bridges and chat clients and forgetful team members, the ScrumMaster can spend 1/3 of our allotted Standup time getting it set up and making sure everyone is there. This critical ceremony is now seen as an ineffective burden on the team."
Sococo Solution: Sococo gives you that “same place, same time, every day” feel for Standup. There’s no question about how to gather people, because it’s in the same Sococo room every day. There’s no remembering logins or tracking down links, you just put your avatar in the Scrum room and you’re there instantly and able to interact with everyone in the room.
The ScrumMaster can’t monitor progress in realtime on the impediments identified during Standup so they spend way too much time doing follow up, which results in team interrupts and lack of flow.
"A critical responsibility of our ScrumMaster is to swiftly remove impediments identified by the team every day to enable flow on the team. In a distributed model it is impossible to monitor whether the right people are working on resolving impediments without interrupting people repeatedly, or having a heavy weight status system in place."
Sococo Solution: As a ScrumMaster, you can observe team members going to their breakouts and completing their work to remove impediments. It allows you to be more mindful of your team’s time, and gives you cues as to when is the right time to follow up and help out as servant-leader. It also allows frictionless access to people outside of the product team who may have a role in removing impediments.
The product development team basically has no interaction with the business team outside of the demo and it feels like we are growing more and more isolated from each other.
"When you’re distributed, it’s easy for different parts of the company to become completely isolated from each other without even realizing it. In Agile it’s critical to get regular business input even outside of the demo. And even then, if you have a strong business presence at the demo, it’s still difficult to tell how engaged they are and whether they’re really absorbing the direction the product is taking."
Sococo Solution: The most Agile way to get work done is in face to face conversations at the right time and this includes cross functional work. All teams, regardless of function, are aware of what everyone in the company space is up to and whether they’re around. When you see that people are actually around and are available, it’s just natural and makes more sense to interact directly and remove the overhead of communication tools.