Face To Face Still Matters

Last Friday, Esther Derby wrote a blog entry that struck a nerve. Part of the reason I started this blog is because I see so many people worrying about costs without considering the benefits, or the means without considering (enough about) the ends. Esther’s entry is “Face to Face Still Matters,” and of course it does. Communication and learning take place fact-to-face at such a higher rate than over a phone.

Communication and learning are what we need more of to make the projects more successful.

So, people who want to consider distributed Retrospectives (her particular concern) agree to save a bit on costs and lose some big benefits.

Similarly, if we focus only on the cost side of Agile, or of projects more generally, we are short-changing ourselves and our customers. Almost always we (as business owners or customers) care more about the value delivered than the cost.

ACTION: Don’t ever let anyone talk about cost-savings without also talking about the effect on value delivery. (It is not necessarily a linear or even a direct relationship, but it can be. Reducing costs can significantly reduce the BV delivered or importantly delay its timing.)



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2 thoughts on “Face To Face Still Matters

  1. Joe Little

    Hi Esther,

    This question really needs at least a whole post to address. My short answer: usually costs are in $ and seem relatively solid. The benefits often can be put into $. Some people react…”well, I can’t estimate benefits precisely, so I can’t make a $ to $ comparison”. But most business decisions don’t require that much precision. If benefits are $1.43 and the costs are $1.42, then you probably can invest your $1.42 better elsewhere… And get roughly $5 for it.

    There are of course other things to say on this topic.
    Regards, Joe


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