One of the discussions is about what's different about virtual teams; the answers are the one's you'd expect, leading with time zones and 'no co-located stand-up meetings'. But the one I like, though it comes up less often, is 'no body language'.
Having sat on endless conference calls, and participated in a mind numbing number of online chats, I can sympathize that there's a lot left out. But we know that from a lot of experience; we didn't need agile to tell us that body language counts for a lot, by some estimates more than 50%. Agile only reinforces the idea that it's hard to substitute for what Alistair Cockburn calls communication by osmosis--that absorption of information from the unspoken, the casually spoken, and the mere presence in the room, if you will.
On the other hand, reality intrudes: often there's no practical way to get body language in the picture. Yes, that is a shameful segue to video teleconferencing, including Skype and other pc-based video. But I can tell you (as if you need telling) that even with a good camera, video is not an osmosis channel. Nevertheless, better than a straight teleconference most of the time.
Of course, there's the wiki board, and the threaded discussions. They are a possibility also, and I've tried those too. They add value, to be sure, but in the end, there's just nothing like being in the same room!
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