If you are a cyclist, you know what I’m talking about when I say in this 8. article about Agile, stay as close as you can.
But here it is not about the aerodynamics that helps you in an agile team but so called information bubbles that flow around. All the people sitting in the same room normally get much more information that they might would miss if they would sit somewhere else or in the worst case, in a closed office on there own. I agree it is not a good thing if too many people sit too close together as a lot of noise and business occurs. But teams working on the same complex problem should be brought together and the information bubbles should be let flown freely.
But many coaches ask me what to do when the team is distributed and you just can’t bring them together?
I would say you have to use tools and be creative to bridge this gaps and bring them as close as possible. Because if they are supposed to work on the same problem, they are one team. What we did and worked quite well is:
- Use tools like Jira or Mingle with Hangout or Skype for distributed Planning
- Use also Hangout or Skype and its screen sharing for distributed Pairing
- and then stuff like Microsoft LiveMeeting, Google Docs or MS Powerpoint work well for distributed Retrospectives
But one final advice I give you. You have to meet in person from time to time and spend some money on flights and drinks. Only people who have met in person can truly act as a team.