being in the same room

In a post on agile usability forum, William Pietri wrote about outsourced team challenges.

“Having helped shepherd one offshore project onto an agile path, I now merely think it’s much, much harder and a fair bit less effective than getting everybody in the same room.”

You have to qualify “being in the same room is more effective” — there are lots of assumptions going on in that statement

Though I know what William meant, here are some points to consider:

  • being in the same room and in a culture that does not value communicative development techniques has little benefit. except, it probably slows the project down due to chit chat
  • being further apart can have the unintended consequence of engendering greater degrees of communication — because you have to.
  • being further apart can lead to beneficial practices such as:
    • teams designing to interfaces,
    • following more general architectural visions,
    • following the pattern of a thin slice of working code,
    • making more of an effort to keep the team communicating daily across continents,
    • etc.