Thursday 18 October 2012

Interruptions and the team

So the first part of my post is told by Jason Fried in the video below. Please listen to the talk, and continue afterwards. He has phrased these thoughts well, and completely spoke my heart.

There is one thing I would like to add to this post, and this is an idea I first heard from Yuval Yeret, and managed to play around with it.
Imagine a standup meeting where everybody stands in a circle, and the session starts. The first person starts to talk about what he has done yesterday, what he'll do today, and the possible blockers he is facing. After a minute or two, he's finished and the second person starts. She goes through this ceremony, and passes the ball onto the next developer, and so on. In an average team, by the time they get to the 6th person, the 1st one is playing with his phone, some are yawning and are trying to escape the meeting as fast as possible. Why? Because they are not a team.
A team is a group of people who are working on the same task. To phrase it differently:
A team is a group of people who are directly effected by the progress [standup reports] of the other members.
Looping back to the video, I do believe that if a member of such team interrupts someone with a question related his task, that indeed is not a distraction. That is collaboration.
My proposal is to encourage synchronous communication between team members, and asynchronous communication with the rest of the world.

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