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What does the 6th Agile Principle (Face-to-Face Conversation) look like in Action?

Blog: Agile Adoption Roadmap

 Many want to go Agile or claim to be Agile. The question is, will you align with the Agile values and principles? In this article, I expand on the sixth principle to better understand what it means and attempt to identify what evidence looks like to determine if a culture change may be occurring. What is this principle?  

The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. Agile puts a premium on face-to-face communication. Because of the nonverbal cues built into communication, there is a benefit of harvesting visual cues during interpersonal interactions. Face-to-face discussion improves the overall communication experience and understanding. From an Agile perspective, a team (about seven people +/-) should be as collocated as reasonable or use technology to emulate face-to-face interaction as much as possible. 

With communication comes the importance of listening. Listening means hearing and understanding what the other is saying and what they are not saying (hence the importance of nonverbal cues). Face-to-face also helps with understanding silence. Is silence due to a lack of understanding, not being engaged, or other reasons? Face-to-face nonverbal cues can help probe the reason. Another aspect of collaboration is being assertive. Quietly listening does not lead to building ideas. Therefore, communication is a balance between being a collaborative speaker and a respectful listener. With this in mind, what tangible actions exhibit promoting face-to-face communication? 

It is up to you to determine what supporting evidence looks like when a company believes in face-to-face communication and the advantages it brings. It is worth experimenting with this as it will help you better understand and embrace the Agile principles. The ultimate question is, do you believe in the benefits of face-to-face conversations?


Learn more about what other Agile Principles look like in action:

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