Can I just be short and to the point for this one? I hope so, because that is my intention!
Email is LOW BANDWIDTH communication
Agile teams REQUIRE HIGH BANDWIDTH communication
Do you see a problem?
Agile teams need to communicate in real-time whenever possible. Even the agile manifesto says “individuals and iteractions over …” In other words, one of the primary things about agile is people interacting with each other! Email is not an interaction. It is one way communication because we don’t know when we’ll get a response. We don’t know IF we’ll get a response. In fact, in almost all cases we don’t even know if the intended recipient even received the message!
Don’t fall into the trap of believing email is real-time communication. A team relying on email will pay the price by having misunderstandings which lead to later corrections, and even worse, they will usually miss their commitments.
Until next time I’ll be continuing to tell people to use email “ONLY when the answer isn’t important for the next 4 days” because anything less isn’t going to be Making Agile a Reality™.