Agile practices over the last several years have focused on high bandwidth communication. It could be standup meetings, pair programming, or even just that over the shoulder code reviews. As a product manager I completely understand what DHH is talking about when you have remote team members. Being able to have an ad-hoc conversation with developer keeps things moving enabling quick decisions.
It’s an optimization for the assumption that we’re all going to be in the same place at the same time. Under that assumption, it’s a great set of tactics.
But assumptions change. “Everyone in the same office” is less true now than it ever was. People are waking up to the benefits of remote working. From quality of life to quality of talent. It’s a new world, and thus a new set of assumptions.
It’s time for a reset. We need the same care and diligence that was put into documenting the agile practices of an office-centric world applied to an office-less world. There’s a new global maxima to be found. Let’s chart its path.
It takes more effort to initially run an agile team when not everyone is in the same location, but it is possible of you are motivated enough. It requires both all members of the team to make this possible, ensure communication with remote team members are kept up.
I have started working from home at least once a week. And keeping the communication level high while I am not in the office takes a bit of extra work for everyone. But tools such as HipChat and Campfire really help lower the barrier.