Agile Principle 6

We are about to hit the halfway mark in the Agile Principles series so lets dig into Agile Principle 6 and unpack its truths.

Principle 6: The most efficient and effective method of
conveying information to and within a development
team is face-to-face conversation.

Ok, so what do you hate about Principle 6.

What Alfred does not know is not everything is doom and gloom. I generally agree with this principle. It’s kind of funny in the period of the Commie Cold pandemic that it is true.

Now some will say that face to face with Skype, Google Hangouts or Zoom works just as well. I hate to break it to you, no they don’t. The subtle inflections in the voice, graininess of cameras or just good old lag ruin the subtle messaging that people do in person.

If you want someone to tell you the legal truth, put it in email. If you want someone to lie, call them on the phone. Finally, if you want the actual truth then met in person. When the research comes out, I suspect that those technologies are better than a phone call but still worse when it comes to people lying to you face to face.

I have never built a strong team virtually though I have worked with functional teams but not strong teams virtually.

Example of Agile Principle 6 in action

Back in my government job, I often wondered what my boss’ thought of me. I probably spent 1/3 of my time working the agency. Getting to know the DBA’s, main framers and such. I often met with my PM in person so we could hatch our plans for success for the week. I often met with my business owner in face to face meetings. These we unofficial meetings as the official ones were largely useless from their orderly structure of acceptable topics.

As a result of these meetings, I got stuff done. From those face to face conversations, I knew who to go to for a yes and a no. Never underestimate the power of a no. Why could I get stuff done. I was their friend and you help your friends.

If trying to run like that with a phone, it would have never happened. All the I am interested in you body language is lost. The small things of communication is what builds trust fast are gone. Face to face builds friendship and camaraderie.

I fear the new world is going to have a bunch less of this.

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