We’ve heard that it is a good practice to turn on video while in a virtual meeting because non-verbal cues can improve communication. What we may not know is that turning on your video camera can improve other factors that are critical to a successful distributed Agile implementation.
Studies have shown that sharing video during meetings:
· Increases the Event Effectiveness
70% of participants in a study said they were more willing to engage in the discussion when video-conferencing. In addition, participants rated the teams’ effectiveness as being greater after turning on video during their meetings.
· Heightens Focus
One study showed that 79% of the participants were able to concentrate for a long period of time when looking at a video image of the speaker. In addition, being on video reduces multitasking. You are less likely to be distracted by checking your emails or other activities that can take place while you are on mute and off camera. This increases the level of engagement in the discussions as well as the quality of ideas that emerged from the session.
· Improves Understanding
Sharing video during a meeting has shown to improve understanding by a factor of 10 times. Participants of this study experienced a 600% increase in communication richness during meetings were everyone shared video. This is because the team members not only benefited from the spoken words, but also from non-verbal information, such as facial expressions, posture, and other body language queues to enrich the message. This can also make the events shorter since the team spends less time re-explaining or clarifying points.
· Boosts Trust
One of the biggest challenges of distributed Agile teams is the slow pace or inability to develop trust among distant team members. The good news is that sharing video during meetings can speed up the time it takes distributed teams to build trust. One study showed that by sharing video over a period of six weeks, team members improved their trust among each other by as much as three times. Sharing video during online meetings has also shown to increase psychological safety where 60% of participants said that seeing other people made the discussion more open and improved interaction.
· Accelerates Consensus
Reaching consensus among team members is also easier to do when everyone shares video. This is particularly useful, for example, during a Product Backlog refinement session where the team members must agree on estimates. In one study, 81% of participants said that the tasks felt divided when using only audio, in contrast to meetings using video where the collaboration appeared to be genuine and that the decisions felt like a joint decision.
The use of video alone during your Scrum events won’t magically turn your team a hyperproductive team. These are supporting attributes of a successful team that must be fostered and combined with many other practices to increase the success of the team. However, by not “phoning it in” while working remotely, and turning on your cameras, you’ll improve your teams’ challenges of working effectively. Consider making video a part of the team’s working agreement, whenever possible, and see how it works for you.