“Too much fun? What’s that mean?
It’s like too much money, there’s no such thing”
Trace Adkins “I Ain’t Never Had Too Much Fun”
On an agile project, is there possibly such a thing as too much collaboration? Collaboration is one of the cornerstones of the agile mindset. We’re reminded about it in several places:
- Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation
- Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools
- Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
- The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
Obviously we are concerned with the team working together and with business folk on a regular basis, but can it be taken so far? Can too many team members spend too much time working on an issue because “we’re supposed to be collaborating, aren’t we?”
What may seem like too much collaboration may be a sign that the team does not know how to work together effectively. Part of the problem is that the team may not understand that collaboration is a means to an end. We do not form agile teams in order for the team to collaborate better, we form teams using agile and encourage them to work together so that we can deliver value to our customers early and frequently. If the amount of interaction a team is doing gets in the way of doing that, there is probably too much collaboration, or at least ineffective collaboration.
Like most other things, moderation is key. When you have a problem to solve, you certainly want to get more than one head thinking about it, but what you want to avoid is taking up the time of team members who do not need to be involved taking them away from other activities that can help the team make their commitment.
So what do you think? Is there such a thing as too much conversation? Please provide your thoughts in the comments section.