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The Art of Agile Development by Chromatic, James Shore

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Sit Together

Note

Whole Team, Coaches

We communicate rapidly and accurately.

If you’ve tried to conduct a team meeting via speakerphone, you know how much of a difference face-to-face conversations make. Compared to an in-person discussion, teleconferences are slow and stutter-filled, with uncomfortable gaps in the conversation and people talking over each other.

What you may not have realized is how much this affects your work.

Imagine you’re a programmer on a nonagile team and you need to clarify something in your requirements document in order to finish an algorithm. You fire off an email to your domain expert, Mary, then take a break to stretch your legs and get some coffee.

When you get back, Mary still hasn’t responded, so you check out a few technical blogs you’ve been meaning to read. Half an hour later, your inbox chimes. Mary has responded.

Uh-oh... it looks like Mary misunderstood your message and answered the wrong question. You send another query, but you really can’t afford to wait any longer. You take your best guess at the answer—after all, you’ve been working at this company for a long time, and you know most of the answers—and get back to work.

A day later, after exchanging a few more emails, you’ve hashed out the correct answer with Mary. It wasn’t exactly what you thought, but you were pretty close. You go back and fix your code. While you’re in there, you realize there’s an edge case nobody’s handled yet.

You could bug Mary for the answer, but this is a very obscure ...

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