No Tools between people

This post is part of 101 ideas for agile teams.

Don’t use low bandwidth communication!

Context

Communication in your teams happens over tools:

  • Testers and developers “talk” over the issue tracker,
  • product owner and team “communicate” over Jira (or something similar) — the product backlog
  • team members “update” themselves by setting a status field on the task in an electronic tool,
  • a wiki is used to ramp up new team members.

This communication is slow — because it is asynchronous and error prone — because a lot of misunderstanding happens.

Action

Whenever you have information to share, need information or want to discuss something, talk the person or people needed directly, face-to-face.

Use tools that support communication, not tools replacing your face-to-face communication. Tools like whiteboards, pen&paper, visualization

Use tools like wikis, issue trackers, electronic backlogs as an information storage, not a communication tool.

Direct communication with immediate feedback.

What you gain

You get better understanding because when talking face-to-face, you get immediate feedback about how well the presented information was understood and questions can be asked easily and directly.

You get better ideas because interacting directly with each other helps developing good ideas.

How to strengthen

Discuss with your team how you can make communication more direct, with more immediate feedback and how visualization can support the flow of information.

Risks

Face-to-face communication is fast, but we forget what we talked about quickly, too. Make sure that decisions and key points of a conversation are stored more permanently (visibly on a paper on a wall, wiki, …)


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More ideas at 101 ideas for agile teams

Many thanks to bbv Software Services for making this blog post possible.