Communication expands to fill the space allowed …

I was a bit of a late recruit to social media, but soon fell in love with Facebook (despite it’s flaws) as a way to express myself, and stay connected especially with far away friends.

I eventually joined Twitter in late 2010, but found it challenging. Whereas on Facebook I could write large articles and reviews, on Twitter there was that 140 character limit.

Like many I originally found Twitter challenging because of this — but then I came to find I restructured how I communicated, learning to be much more succinct, and relishing the new medium.

Twitter has not been without it’s issues — as I reported earlier in the year, despite it’s claims of a code of conduct, it’s enforcement of it is somewhat lax. It feels very much a place where bullying and trolling can be rife …

However Twitter itself has seen the thing that people needed most was not a troll-free-social-media, but that the Tweet limit be doubled to 280 characters.

This change came into place two weeks ago, people rallied against it, felt it ruined the network.

Today I logged into Twitter, and on my feel, 280 character Tweets had become the norm.

Some examples …

Now, personally I don’t have huge issues with the 280 character limit, but it’s interesting to notice how quickly we adapted to the extra space. It feels like communication will always expand to fill the space you leave for it.

Nowhere in agile is this more observant than in the morning stand-up meeting.

It’s taken me time to appreciate how a stand up should work properly. It’s a forum for communicating where you’re spending time, and any problems you’re encountering. However it’s taken me a while to realise it’s not the forum to address those problems — that is typically a whole side conversation, possibly only requiring a subset of those at a standup, but giving the whole team the option of getting involved if they want.

Good standups are short, to the point, and cause minimal disruption to the work day. You stand up because it’s less comfortable, and being less comfortable, you’ll want to finish faster.

Ideally 5 minutes is best, with 10 minutes tops. However much like 280 characters on Twitter — if you book a meeting room with chairs for 30 minutes, it’s too easy for the stand up to expand to fill those 30 minutes.

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