The importance of video in remote scrums

Personally, I've never been a big fan of video calling. I had the old 3 video phones when they first came out, and I've played around with Skype and Hangouts but its never been a big thing for me.

That has changed since I've been working more and more with remote teams. Our daily scrum calls (currently bouncing between Hangouts, Skype and Teamviewer as we explore the advantages of each) were done as voice calls primarily. This lead to two issues.

1) People were doing other things at the same time as the call was on and not really paying attention, making the scrum pointless.

2) People have various avatars and so there was no sense that there was actually a person at the other end of the call.

Encouraging the use of webcams addresses both of these issues. Because you can be seen, it at least keeps your focus on the screen with the webcam. With my 3 or 7 monitors depending on where I am, this gives focus. Secondly, as its a live person in every window, you are giving a much more effective team presence.

We've definitely found it a helpful addition to working remotely.