Thank you William for your thoughts. I ve addressed them below. ... You say above that your teams are virtual. When you make this statement, are you sayingMessage 1 of 146 , May 28, 2007View SourceThank you William for your thoughts. I've addressed them below.
On 5/29/07, William Pietri <william@...> wrote:
> There appears to be very little comparative evidence between
> collocated and remote teams. All I hear is charismatic evangelists
> sprouting off the natural advantages that collocation offers, and
> condemning remote teaming. I'd like to use all of my charisma to
> point out that these people whom everyone dotes over for wisdom and
> guidance, appear to me, almost as ignorant as I am.
> What are people's opinions on what I've just said?
I think that it would be great to get solid numbers, but that there is
such high variability between teams and projects and so many potentially
influential factors that the sample size needed to get solid numbers
would be massive. I am unfortunately not expecting to see solid data in
> I think there'd be a juicy PhD there for someone; maybe me. Although
> to be honest, I cut code. I'd rather be a code-cutting member of a
> remote, virtual team.
Then you should just go do that.
I've coached a variety of teams, and am currently coaching two virtual
teams along with several collocated ones. I think the collocated ones
are both more productive and more agile. I see this as natural
consequence of the communication bandwidth differences. On the other
hand, the virtual teams are sufficiently productive to keep the suits
happy, and are substantially more effective than a lot of collocated
You say above that your teams are virtual. When you make this statement, are you saying that you manage several teams of collocated individuals that reside in their own central location away from a project 'hub' (excuse my ignorance in terms here), or are these virtual teams indeed virtual in the sense that they are composed of members who are not collocated in a central office? Where do the team members commonly reside? At home? In an office?
Further, people are much more productive when they are happy with their
work. So if you'd be happiest to work virtually, then do that. Just keep
in mind that you will have to make much more effort to keep in touch
than you would with people within arm's reach.Do you know of any employer who might offer me the chance to work from where I live in Australia? I don't.Actually, I appear currently not in dire need of such employment because I have just scored a technical position (start in about three weeks) with a large software firm in my home town, although it is still an office job.I definitely would have to rely on communications media to keep in touch with my fellow team members. Members of a truly virtual team, by the fact that they would have to keep in touch via the same media, would rely on it to exchange ideas also. A partially remote team - one where the team was broken down into smaller collocated units - would seem to risk getting rather cliquey within each of these units. Although speculation, I think that it is the results that this version of pseudo-remote teaming have historically yielded (commonly a drop in productivity) that may have scared people out of implementing a truly virtual team.This is what I would think a remote team might look like:You would have customer-facing consultants. These people would interact with the customer on a daily basis, fielding questions and taking notes on what the customer wants in their delivery. The consultants would be expert in keeping the customer on-side (I tried being a consultant once, but learnt that it wasn't for me). The consultants liaise with the customer and the development team. The development team, stocked with brutes like myself are happier and make positive contribution when kept away from the customer. They are the technical experts, so would also make for a team that is better able to deliver a project when they are left alone to work on the technical aspects of the project.In my fantasies, the technical team would be virtual. The consultants already are as they have to be on the move keeping the customer's chequebooks open, so they already rely on a number of the communications devices that would serve similar yet different means to a team of techo's. The virtual technical team would tend to use the tools to suffice their needs of developing a product that met the customer's technical specifications. They would communicate their progress to the consultants (as often as necessary) and the consultants would be in the customer's face showing the customer what was going on.Usually, for times where the customer has deep technical requirements and requires a more intimate interaction with the technical team, a conference call or for the most pressing situations, a personal visitation with technical team leads, is going to sort everything out. The whole team (customers, consultants and techo's alike) can be on a conference call at one time, and all lines except those of people who are participating in the conversation can be muted. We know all this.The rant that follows is general, and not meant in reply to William's message above. It serves as an emotional basis to why I put up this topic in the first place.All this stuff about non-verbal gestures and coffee dispenser conversations is bunk! I don't even like coffee, and find it bemusing that there are people in this world who think that launching themselves with mindless chatter over anyone who dares come near one is in any way mildly technically productive. I for one, welcome constructive technical conversations that are light-hearted and offered with and by colleagues in the spirit of cooperation. As a member of a virtual team, I would expect access to phone, email, news groups, real-time forums such as those provided by IRC, etc.I don't like being left in the dark as much as the next developer, but having to bear the smell of someones cologne or perfume, or having to be mindful of their food allergies and tolerant of their meaningless chatter is something I find neither particularly interesting nor productive. I say all that as someone who respectfully understands that this world is full of many different people, and we're all in this life thing together. Not everyone likes sticking their head up the backside of their fellow team mate in a scrum, and I don't like the analogies as they are currently being ascribed to something I took up because of its promise of being a reasonably solitary, meditative and contemplative activity.Give me room, please. I'm good at my job, and I'd be a good addition if your team had complicated technical software requirements.Owen.
Here here Ron! Remote teamwork may be possible but it certainly isn t ideal. Close collaboration without co-location is a compromise, sometimes an essentialMessage 146 of 146 , Jul 11, 2007View SourceHere here Ron! Remote teamwork may be possible but it certainly
isn't ideal. Close collaboration without co-location is a
compromise, sometimes an essential one, but not one you'd advocate
as part of any methodology.
I sometimes like to think of this in terms of new business
startups. How many people would start a business and think, "I
know, let's base our development teams in multiple locations and
have the business owners of the product we're building in a
different place to the developers." For logistical reasons, sales
and other field-based teams maybe, for product development I think
--- In email@example.com, Ron Jeffries
> Hello, Owen. On Sunday, June 3, 2007, at 11:01:30 PM, you wrote:
> > I realise that many people aren't in my position such that they
> > want hard facts to decide. Many are going to trust the opinionsof other
> > people they may think have seasoned opinions, because theyhaven't got
> > the time or the interest to decide for themselves. However, ifJohn
> > Kern's business, as a case in point, can demonstrate that the usepossible,
> > communications tools to facilitate a remote team discussion is
> > then shouldn't the Agile community be a little less hard onremote
> > teaming?want
> Owen, even Jon said that together would be better. Why would we
> to recommend something that wasn't the best we know?
> Ron Jeffries
> The fact that we know more today, and are more capable today,
> is good news about today, not bad news about yesterday.