Friday, November 20, 2009

I have been discovered: I am attempting against the communication of Agile teams

Today, I read a comment someone post on the google wave sample page of taskboardy (

Bringing people apart

Google Wave may yet be great, but not for this. Remember that Agile is about bringing people together -- in person. Need a real task board for this, not another application that glues people to the computer screen.

First thought that came to my mind is: Would someone consider using Taskboardy (or any other electronic tool) being collocated? Specially a task board!!! I worked in a distributed team and therefore I am forced to use an electronic tool. However, I am always in the dilemma of whether I should also use a physical task board. I know I am loosing a great visual radiator with the tool... (I decided not to, because the team is not in an open space. Otherwise, I would maintain both).

Kept thinking and perhaps the comment makes sense. How many times someone sends an email or chat with a person 1 meter away? I've seen it many times. So what can we do when the tools are not used the way they should be used? How can we encourage the most effective communication, which is face to face conversation? If the team is collocated, perhaps it makes sense to follow the comment and suppress any channel of communication that is not face to face. Take away phone, uninstall email, chat, wave, etc, etc...

Does it make sense to blame the tools? In the case of the processes, perhaps it does :-) If things go wrong in the project, let's blame scrum. At least in this case, the enemy is invisible. It is very hard to visualize what is going on, which are the bottlenecks or which are the dysfunctions. In the case of electronic tools, it would be much harder to blame them. I can't imagine telling my team member "my code sucks and I didn't do any unit tests because of Eclipse". Or... the team members don't talk to each other because of V1. Hum

Henrik Kniberg said during QCon SF yesterday we should use the tool that makes more sense to solve our problem. Now the question is: what if we are not smart enough to choose it? Will have to ask next time I see him...

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