Custom Application Development

Oct 9 2007   6:14PM GMT

Being “Agile” without Face-To-Face Conversation

SJC SJC Profile: SJC

The sixth principle of the Agile Manifesto states:

“The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.”  I find myself in complete agreement with this statement. 

However, this statement begs for an answer to the question “How can a team which is unable to be face-to-face achieve efficient and effective communication among themselves?”  Once again, there is no easy answer, and to achieve the desired result in spite of the inability to meet face-to-face requires a major committment to the project and the team. 

First one might question why a team cannot meet face-to-face.  It may be that the team is comprised of a group of independent developers who have “teamed” up on a project so that the multiple talents of the team can best be used, much like the NEDC consortium to which I belong.  Another scenario might be that the developers with the “best fit” of talent for the project are not co-located within the organization.

Whatever the reason, I believe that in today’s environment where reasonably affordable services exist to enable video conferencing, inexpensive telephone contact and viewing of anothers desktop are available — this requirement for face-to-face contact is minimized, and in fact the communication between the team can be both efficient and effective.  Is face-to-face the ultimate desireability?  Perhaps.  But I do not believe it is the only way to achieve agility.

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