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.