One of the main themes of Scrum is the belief that project teams should be colocated. This belief is based on the idea that teams communicate better when they are colocated. We can all attest to this from experience in our own lives. Ever been on a call where one team member states something and everyone else seems to have no idea what they are talking about? While there may be several reasons for the confusion, one contributing factor is the lack of face-to-face communication.
When you are forced to communicate via other methods you lose the benefits of in-person communication. These benefits are:
- The presence of non-verbal context clues (gestures, facial expressions, etc.) on the part of both the speaker and the listener
- Presence of conversation/dialogue (other methods of communication tend to be more one-way)
You may think that simply having all your team members in the same building is sufficient in terms of colocation. While this is an improvement over teams being separated by thousands of miles due to the ability to schedule face-to-face meetings, it is still not ideal from a scrum vantage point.
Scrum preaches the benefits of having a Team Room. This room allows your team to be situated in a common area and benefit from the close proximity to teammates (brainstorming, collaboration, etc.). It also serves as the team headquarters and provides a place to post all the project artifacts. When team members are surrounded by their colleagues they have the opportunity to be more consultative to each other and to self-organize/manage themselves. Also, having a team room makes conducting the daily scrum much easier due to obvious factors (everyone is already together). In later posts, we will talk about the key features of a Team Room.
So in conclusion, when at all possible you should try to insist that your project team is colocated. It will make things easier for you and the team.