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19858Re: [scrumdevelopment] Re: Experience with Rallydev's SLM tools?

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  • George Dinwiddie
    Mar 1, 2007
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      Eben,

      I realize that the telegraph wires and signal fires of my day seem puny
      in comparison to the wonders of IM and Web 2.0. Yes, these marvelous
      shiny inventions make it easier to do many things. One of the things
      they make easy, is to assume you understand something rather than go
      talk with the person who knows. We did the same when we started writing
      our requirements documents with quills on papyrus. It's amazing how
      much more efficient our interaction was when we didn't have to deal
      directly with other people.

      I'm sure that you and Lewwwent would never allow the convenience of a
      technologically mediated comms channel to reduce the likelihood that you
      would walk across the room to have a discussion. But if you look
      around, I'd bet that you'll find some mortals in the room who will be
      tempted to do so. I know I see one every morning in the mirror. And if
      not in your team room, what of your board of directors who is afraid of
      your whiteboard? Do you think it's an advantage that they can push
      numbers around from afar and never actually see what's going on?

      As much as we all like to believe that we'll do the right thing, no
      matter what, people tend to do the things that our systems encourage
      them to do, and not do the things that our systems encourage them not to
      do. For an excellent discussion of how this can affect software
      development, read Gerald Weinberg's Quality Software Management, vol 1,
      Systems Thinking.

      Tools to automate communication of project status at a distance have a
      negative effect on the amount of in-person communication about that
      project. Less in-person communication has a reinforcing effect on lack
      of knowledge (by both parties) about the context of the development.
      Lack of knowledge about the context has a reinforcing effect on number
      and severity of project problems. The existence of those problems then
      have a reinforcing effect on creating tools to do our communication for
      us. I'm not very good at drawing a Diagram of Effects using ASCII-ART,
      but it's a pretty simple runaway feedback loop.

      When I hear things like "reading [notecards] from across the room is
      difficult" used to justify computer-based tools, I hear alarm bells.
      Maybe you're right, and your generation is the one to transcend the
      human condition. Or, maybe you'll just have to learn your lessons the
      hard way. Good luck with it.

      - George

      Eb wrote:
      > George,
      >
      > I'd argue that web based tech has increased the amount of interaction
      > between people generally - I'd also note that I keep in touch with a
      > whole host of people via IM and Wiki's and interaction is certainly up
      > for me compared with the early 90's.
      >
      > I know Lewwwent and I know the team - they are anything but isolated
      > and non interactive - for photographic proof search Flickr for "Pizza
      > On Rails"
      >
      > I think what is being exhibited here (generally not specifically you
      > G) is a generational gap in thinking about what interaction is.
      > MySpace, del.icio.us, Facebook, Blogs all that web 2.0 jazz - has
      > shown that plenty of people interact online and that some web
      > technologies actually just give you another option to face to face
      > real time interaction.
      >
      > Yes face to face real time is be better most of the time - but that
      > does not mean that technologically mediated comms channel are all bad
      > and lead to non agile behaviour.
      >
      > I think we need some flexibility here in our thinking around what it
      > means to interact.
      >
      > Cheers
      > Eben
      >
      >
      > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, George Dinwiddie <lists@...>
      > wrote:
      >> lewwwent wrote:
      >>> We have loads of reasons at our place of work:
      >>>
      >>> developers lose cards, we run out of bluetack and notecards...
      >>>
      >>> our board of directors is afraid of our whiteboard
      >>>
      >>> our developer who works from home is out of touch (and she's not
      >>> moving back this way anytime soon)
      >>>
      >>> sorting notecards by different criteria is difficult
      >>>
      >>> reading them from across the room is difficult
      >>>
      >>> we can't always guarantee the same meeting room so moving the board
      >>> around is cumbersome whilst wifi and a large screen is everywhere
      >>>
      >>> i don't have the whiteboard at home
      >>>
      >>> scrum masters maths is suspect
      >>>
      >>> these are just our opinionated reasons of course and my only reason
      >>> for initially considering creating a web based tool was out of a
      >>> personal requirement
      >> Beware! Part of the advantage of using low-tech non-computer solutions
      >> is that it increases the amount of interaction between people. Some of
      >> these reasons sound as if some people would prefer to stay isolated and
      >> left alone. This is natural, but the solution is not to build tools to
      >> allow this to happen, but to teach them how to be comfortable and
      >> effective at interpersonal interactions.
      >>
      >> If you lose the "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools"
      >> aspect, you'll lose a lot of the advantages to Agile processes.

      --
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
      Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
      Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
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