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Communication channels in agile

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  • acyment
    Hi everyone out there! I ve been ruminating over the pros and cons of doing agile software development from an offshore location for some time. Undoubtedly the
    Message 1 of 23 , Sep 17, 2006
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      Hi everyone out there! I've been ruminating over the pros and cons of
      doing agile software development from an offshore location for some
      time. Undoubtedly the key issue here is communication. What I wanted
      you people to try and help me with is to try and list what are those
      communication channels that are missing when going overseas and what
      alternatives are out there that might mitigate these deficits.
      Martin Fowler says it is necessary to have embassadors at each
      location. Some people propose a kick-off activity during which the
      whole team gets to know each other personally. This will make the name
      appearing in the "From:" field in an e-mail a person and not just a
      couple of letters. I've been thinking of big plasma monitors with
      touchscreen and a webcam. that could be used instead of a whiteboard
      and/or taskboard. I have tried videoconference systems and it felt
      incredibly awkward. Would plain IM be better for a daily stand-up
      meeting? What would an IM meeting be lacking? Is it just eye-contact?
      As Tobias (Mayer) recently said to me, it's no use trying to think as
      if distance were not a problem. Not being co-located IS going to have
      a negative impact on team dynamics. What I'm trying to think about
      here is on how to minimize that impact...any ideas?

      Cheers,
      Alan
    • Phlip
      ... The most central issue is the test server responsible for continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous deployment, and literate customer
      Message 2 of 23 , Sep 18, 2006
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        acyment wrote:

        > Hi everyone out there! I've been ruminating over the pros and cons of
        > doing agile software development from an offshore location for some
        > time. Undoubtedly the key issue here is communication.

        The most central issue is the test server responsible for continuous
        integration, continuous testing, continuous deployment, and literate
        customer acceptance tests. Use http://fitnesse.org to share tests on a
        web site, and you will never notice you are de-collocated.

        --
        Phlip
        http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
      • Desilets, Alain
        Is that sufficient? To me, it seems I get a lot of mileage out of being co-located with the rest of the team. I have trouble putting exact words on why email,
        Message 3 of 23 , Sep 18, 2006
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          Is that sufficient? To me, it seems I get a lot of mileage out of being
          co-located with the rest of the team. I have trouble putting exact words
          on why email, continuous integration, video-conference, wikis, etc...
          Still is significantly less efficient than being physically colocated
          with my teammates. But it is in my experience..

          Alain

          > > Hi everyone out there! I've been ruminating over the pros
          > and cons of
          > > doing agile software development from an offshore location for some
          > > time. Undoubtedly the key issue here is communication.
          >
          > The most central issue is the test server responsible for
          > continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous
          > deployment, and literate customer acceptance tests. Use
          > http://fitnesse.org to share tests on a web site, and you
          > will never notice you are de-collocated.
          >
          > --
          > Phlip
          > http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
          >
          >
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Mishkin Berteig
          I ve seen lots of tools/techniques tried for this. But it basically comes down to this: as a team, if you are not all colocated in an effective team room, you
          Message 4 of 23 , Sep 18, 2006
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            I've seen lots of tools/techniques tried for this.
             
            But it basically comes down to this: as a team, if you are not all colocated in an effective team room, you are going to take a hit in productivity.  That hit averages out to about half the productivity level.  Everything you do to mitigate, minimize the communication difficulties will only get you up to that half-way point.  Any desire to get close to the productivity levels of a colocated team is bound to be frustrated.
             
            On the other hand, if you don't have colocated teams now and if in fact your "teams" aren't really teams, then putting in some good communication tools can help increase your productivity.  Whatever your current state, you can make improvements.
             
            For offshore teams, high-speed access to the same code base, development environment, test environment, db environment, tools, etc. is critical.  If you have them on separate system (for example due to paranoia about data going outside your company), then getting them on the same system as your on-shore guys is going to be a big improvement.  This is a way to improve communcation that for some reason is often overlooked.
             
            If your offshore team is on the opposite side of the earth, then you are going to have to stick mostly with "batch" communication.  Every day, a batch of questions, requests, comments, feedback, etc. is going to be batched up by one group or the other and there will be a 24 hour lag time in responses.  If you are doing two-week iterations, this is 10% of your time (!!!) just to do what might be a very simple communication.  Compare that to people sitting beside each other who might be able to have the same exchange in 15 seconds.  If it's a tough problem, the batching will make this lag even more pronounced.  (BTW, some off-shore companies offer people who will work the night shift in order to be available to your team.  I ask a simple question: would your on-shore team be willing to work the night shift?  Hopefully you can guess my feelings about this practice from that question.)
             
            So, if you are early on in adopting agile methods, I strongly recommend that you don't use your offshore resources.  If the organization insists on paying for them, then let them sit idle.  Yes, that's right: IDLE.  Your on-shore team will probably be more productive without them.
             
            If you have lots of experience with agile, then do the experiment: find out if it makes sense.  But make sure you have a good way of measuring productivity so that you can tell if the cost savings are worth the hit in productivity.
             
            If the bulk of your development team is offshore, and you simply don't have the expertise on-shore, then send a couple of your customer/business/requirements experts over to stay full-time with the off-shore team.  This is often worth it.
             
            And of course, if you just can't do it any other way than the "standard" split on and off shore teams, then make the best of it by constantly trying new ways to communicate.  The guidance that Martin Fowler gives is sound, and everything else is left up to you to discover based on corporate culture, resources available, etc.
             
            Good luck!
             
            Mishkin Berteig
            http://www.agileadvice.com/

            acyment <acyment@...> wrote:
            Hi everyone out there! I've been ruminating over the pros and cons of
            doing agile software development from an offshore location for some
            time. Undoubtedly the key issue here is communication. What I wanted
            you people to try and help me with is to try and list what are those
            communication channels that are missing when going overseas and what
            alternatives are out there that might mitigate these deficits.
            Martin Fowler says it is necessary to have embassadors at each
            location. Some people propose a kick-off activity during which the
            whole team gets to know each other personally. This will make the name
            appearing in the "From:" field in an e-mail a person and not just a
            couple of letters. I've been thinking of big plasma monitors with
            touchscreen and a webcam. that could be used instead of a whiteboard
            and/or taskboard. I have tried videoconference systems and it felt
            incredibly awkward. Would plain IM be better for a daily stand-up
            meeting? What would an IM meeting be lacking? Is it just eye-contact?
            As Tobias (Mayer) recently said to me, it's no use trying to think as
            if distance were not a problem. Not being co-located IS going to have
            a negative impact on team dynamics. What I'm trying to think about
            here is on how to minimize that impact...any ideas?

            Cheers,
            Alan




            Mishkin Berteig
            mishkin@...
            http://www.agileadvice.com/
            "Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues" - Baha'u'llah


            How low will we go? Check out Yahoo! Messenger’s low PC-to-Phone call rates.

          • Ilja Preuss
            ... Please tell me that you are cynical here... Ilja
            Message 5 of 23 , Sep 18, 2006
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              Phlip schrieb:
              >
              >
              > acyment wrote:
              >
              > > Hi everyone out there! I've been ruminating over the pros and cons of
              > > doing agile software development from an offshore location for some
              > > time. Undoubtedly the key issue here is communication.
              >
              > The most central issue is the test server responsible for continuous
              > integration, continuous testing, continuous deployment, and literate
              > customer acceptance tests. Use http://fitnesse.org <http://fitnesse.org>
              > to share tests on a
              > web site, and you will never notice you are de-collocated.

              Please tell me that you are cynical here...

              Ilja
            • Ilja Preuss
              ... I can think of a number of other things: - tone - timing - facial expression - body language - touch - smell Alistair Cockburns Agile Software
              Message 6 of 23 , Sep 18, 2006
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                acyment schrieb:
                > What would an IM meeting be lacking? Is it just eye-contact?

                I can think of a number of other things:

                - tone
                - timing
                - facial expression
                - body language
                - touch
                - smell

                Alistair Cockburns "Agile Software Development" has some very good
                chapters on this topic.

                Fortunately I don't have any experience with distributed development, so
                unfortunately I can't give you any tips...

                Cheers, Ilja
              • Phlip
                ... No, just experienced. I have done remote agile experiments very well, but all my remote situations, with a full team, without agile, were completely lame.
                Message 7 of 23 , Sep 18, 2006
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                  Ilja Preuss wrote:

                  > > The most central issue is the test server responsible for continuous
                  > > integration, continuous testing, continuous deployment, and literate
                  >
                  > > customer acceptance tests. Use http://fitnesse.org <http://fitnesse.org>
                  >
                  > > to share tests on a
                  > > web site, and you will never notice you are de-collocated.

                  > Please tell me that you are cynical here...

                  No, just experienced. I have done remote agile experiments very well,
                  but all my remote situations, with a full team, without agile, were
                  completely lame. The number one simplest fix would have been
                  continuous integration, with all its trappings. Instead, the team
                  leaders enforced code forks between the teams, assigned diverse
                  modules to each team site *so they won't step on each others' toes",
                  and tested almost nothing.

                  After you centralize the continuous test server, the rest is just
                  communication, remote pairing, etc. The stuff that gets easy after
                  everyone has an incentive to at least stay on the same page.

                  --
                  Phlip
                  http://c2.com/cgi/wiki?ZeekLand <-- NOT a blog!!
                • PaulOldfield1@aol.com
                  One response I haven t spotted yet among all the useful advice - if your team needs to be split for some reason that you cannot get round, consider breaking
                  Message 8 of 23 , Sep 18, 2006
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                    One response I haven't spotted yet among all the useful
                    advice - if your team needs to be split for some reason
                    that you cannot get round, consider breaking the one
                    project into two related projects with clear separations of
                    concerns.
                     
                    You will probably find that the skill set split is not even,
                    but you might find some way of progressing, nevertheless.
                     
                    Paul Oldfield.
                  • Adrian Howard
                    ... Much as I love fitnesse... I m somewhat sceptical that adding it to the mix is just as effective as having the Customer in the same room... Adrian
                    Message 9 of 23 , Sep 18, 2006
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                      On 18 Sep 2006, at 15:19, Phlip wrote:

                      > acyment wrote:
                      >
                      >> Hi everyone out there! I've been ruminating over the pros and cons of
                      >> doing agile software development from an offshore location for some
                      >> time. Undoubtedly the key issue here is communication.
                      >
                      > The most central issue is the test server responsible for continuous
                      > integration, continuous testing, continuous deployment, and literate
                      > customer acceptance tests. Use http://fitnesse.org to share tests on a
                      > web site, and you will never notice you are de-collocated.

                      Much as I love fitnesse... I'm somewhat sceptical that adding it to
                      the mix is just as effective as having the Customer in the same room...

                      Adrian
                    • Desilets, Alain
                      But it basically comes down to this: as a team, if you are not all colocated in an effective team room, you are going to take a hit in productivity. That hit
                      Message 10 of 23 , Sep 18, 2006
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                        Message
                         
                         
                        But it basically comes down to this: as a team, if you are not all colocated in an effective team room, you are going to take a hit in productivity.  That hit averages out to about half the productivity level.  Everything you do to mitigate, minimize the communication difficulties will only get you up to that half-way point.  Any desire to get close to the productivity levels of a colocated team is bound to be frustrated.
                         
                        Interesting. Do you know of any empirical evidence that supports that? My experience tells me more or less the same thing, although I wouldn't say that a non-colocated team is only 50% as productive as a co-located one. And Phlip's experience seems to be at odds with yours and mine. So I'd be interested in knowing if there is a more empirical objective study of that phenomenon.
                         
                         
                      • Adrian Howard
                        ... For me the bigger problem for distributed teams isn t dealing with scheduled meeting times like stand ups or the planning game. There people are pretty
                        Message 11 of 23 , Sep 18, 2006
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                          On 17 Sep 2006, at 19:29, acyment wrote:

                          > Hi everyone out there! I've been ruminating over the pros and cons of
                          > doing agile software development from an offshore location for some
                          > time. Undoubtedly the key issue here is communication.

                          For me the bigger problem for distributed teams isn't dealing with
                          scheduled meeting times like stand ups or the planning game. There
                          people are pretty motivated to communicate well.

                          Instead it's the run of the mill coding sessions. The lack of ambient
                          communication cues really seems to drag down things like spontaneous
                          helping, asking quick questions of the customer, etc.

                          What's worked best for me in the past is to try and have the local
                          and remote teams work together as much as possible. Tweak schedules
                          so that there's more time when both teams are working at the same
                          time, have remote and local team members pair using VNC (or
                          whatever), etc.

                          Adrian
                        • Mishkin Berteig
                          Yup! Here s a reference to one study that I found fairly quickly: http://possibility.com/Misc/p339-teasley.pdf Also, Ken Schwaber in the Certified ScrumMaster
                          Message 12 of 23 , Sep 18, 2006
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                            Yup!  Here's a reference to one study that I found fairly quickly:
                             
                            Also, Ken Schwaber in the Certified ScrumMaster training materials presents a "Drag Factor" for colocated teams of 1.6 (used to adjust the team's own productivity estimates).  When asked about the source for this number, he quotes extensive personal experience, but no formal study.
                             
                            For what it's worth, my own experience is that it is even worse than 50% when the team is first starting up.  Everyone in the room together allows for a much faster productivity ramp-up.
                             
                            Mishkin.

                            "Desilets, Alain" <alain.desilets@...> wrote:
                             
                             
                            But it basically comes down to this: as a team, if you are not all colocated in an effective team room, you are going to take a hit in productivity.  That hit averages out to about half the productivity level.  Everything you do to mitigate, minimize the communication difficulties will only get you up to that half-way point.  Any desire to get close to the productivity levels of a colocated team is bound to be frustrated.
                             
                            Interesting. Do you know of any empirical evidence that supports that? My experience tells me more or less the same thing, although I wouldn't say that a non-colocated team is only 50% as productive as a co-located one. And Phlip's experience seems to be at odds with yours and mine. So I'd be interested in knowing if there is a more empirical objective study of that phenomenon.
                             
                             



                            Mishkin Berteig
                            mishkin@...
                            http://www.agileadvice.com/
                            "Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues" - Baha'u'llah


                            Get your email and more, right on the new Yahoo.com

                          • PaulOldfield1@aol.com
                            (responding to Phlip, Alain) ... Hmm... by my math, it would never be worthwhile to split a team between two sites if this were true - give all the work to the
                            Message 13 of 23 , Sep 19, 2006
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                              (responding to Phlip, Alain)
                               
                              > Interesting. Do you know of any empirical evidence that
                              > supports that? My experience tells me more or less the
                              > same thing, although I wouldn't say that a non-colocated
                              > team is only 50% as productive as a co-located one.
                              > And Phlip's experience seems to be at odds with yours
                              > and mine. So I'd be interested in knowing if there is a
                              > more empirical objective study of that phenomenon.
                               
                              Hmm... by my math, it would never be worthwhile to split
                              a team between two sites if this were true - give all the
                              work to the larger half and you'd do better.
                               
                              Okay, that's a simplistic solution, but worth thinking on...
                              if the 50% fall in productivity were a correct figure.
                               
                              Paul Oldfield
                            • Ron Jeffries
                              Hello PaulOldfield1, thank you for your note. On Tuesday, September ... A university of michigan study found 2x performance improvement in teams that had a
                              Message 14 of 23 , Sep 19, 2006
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                                Hello PaulOldfield1, thank you for your note. On Tuesday, September
                                19, 2006, at 4:00:42 AM, you wrote:

                                > (responding to Phlip, Alain)
                                >
                                >> Interesting. Do you know of any empirical evidence that
                                >> supports that? My experience tells me more or less the
                                >> same thing, although I wouldn't say that a non-colocated
                                >> team is only 50% as productive as a co-located one.
                                >> And Phlip's experience seems to be at odds with yours
                                >> and mine. So I'd be interested in knowing if there is a
                                >> more empirical objective study of that phenomenon.
                                >
                                > Hmm... by my math, it would never be worthwhile to split
                                > a team between two sites if this were true - give all the
                                > work to the larger half and you'd do better.
                                >
                                > Okay, that's a simplistic solution, but worth thinking on...
                                > if the 50% fall in productivity were a correct figure.

                                A university of michigan study found 2x performance improvement in
                                teams that had a "war room". I think they were comparing teams that
                                were otherwise local, not in separate sites.

                                I think the fall in productivity is probably correct.

                                Ron Jeffries
                                www.XProgramming.com
                                Speculation or experimentation - which is more likely to give the correct answer?
                              • Desilets, Alain
                                ... Hmm... by my math, it would never be worthwhile to split a team between two sites if this were true - give all the work to the larger half and you d do
                                Message 15 of 23 , Sep 19, 2006
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                                  Message

                                   
                                   
                                  > Interesting. Do you know of any empirical evidence that
                                  > supports that? My experience tells me more or less the
                                  > same thing, although I wouldn't say that a non-colocated
                                  > team is only 50% as productive as a co-located one.
                                  > And Phlip's experience seems to be at odds with yours
                                  > and mine. So I'd be interested in knowing if there is a
                                  > more empirical objective study of that phenomenon.
                                   
                                  Hmm... by my math, it would never be worthwhile to split
                                  a team between two sites if this were true - give all the
                                  work to the larger half and you'd do better.
                                   
                                  Okay, that's a simplistic solution, but worth thinking on...
                                  if the 50% fall in productivity were a correct figure. 
                                   
                                  Never thought of that!
                                   
                                  I think that reasoning holds if people in both teams are interchangeable. But sometimes, you need to rely on a special kind of expertise, and the only way you can get that kind of expertise is by working with someone who is not local.
                                   
                                  But it is a good argument against having two teams of run-of-the-mill developers spread over two continents.
                                • PaulOldfield1@aol.com
                                  (responding to Ron) ... Thanks, Ron. So, if we could reproduce the good effects of the War Room in a distributed situation, this would give us something to aim
                                  Message 16 of 23 , Sep 19, 2006
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                                    (responding to Ron)
                                     
                                    >> Hmm... by my math, it would never be worthwhile to
                                    split
                                    >> a team between two sites if this were true - give all
                                    the
                                    >> work to the larger half and you'd do better.
                                    >> 
                                    >> Okay, that's a simplistic solution, but worth thinking
                                    on...
                                    >> if the 50% fall in productivity were a correct
                                    figure.
                                    >
                                    > A university of michigan study found 2x
                                    performance
                                    > improvement in teams that had a "war room". I think they
                                    > were comparing teams that were otherwise local, not in
                                    > separate sites.
                                    >
                                    > I think the fall in productivity
                                    is probably correct.
                                     
                                    Thanks, Ron. 
                                     
                                    So, if we could reproduce the good effects of the War Room
                                    in a distributed situation, this would give us something to
                                    aim for... in absence of any chance of co-locating.
                                     
                                    On a more general note:
                                    I'm thinking this is akin to the "customer on site" solution;
                                    having a customer permanently available works when this
                                    one customer knows how the other customers think.  If
                                    we could do the same for the development team, we
                                    might be a lot better off.  Somebody mentioned having
                                    "ambassadors"; this may be the effect they were aiming for.

                                    Paul Oldfield
                                  • PaulOldfield1@aol.com
                                    (responding to Alain) ... What I find interesting is this possibility: Fly those guys up here for 3 weeks in every 5, then give them the other 2 weeks off
                                    Message 17 of 23 , Sep 19, 2006
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                                      (responding to Alain)
                                       
                                      >> Hmm... by my math, it would never be worthwhile to split
                                      >> a team between two sites if this were true - give all the
                                      >> work to the larger half and you'd do better.
                                      >>
                                      >> Okay, that's a simplistic solution, but worth thinking on...
                                      >> if the 50% fall in productivity were a correct figure.
                                      >
                                      > Never thought of that!
                                      >
                                      > I think that reasoning holds if people in both teams are
                                      > interchangeable. But sometimes,
                                      you need to rely on a
                                      > special kind of expertise, and the
                                      only way you can get
                                      > that kind of expertise is by
                                      working with someone who
                                      > is not local.
                                       
                                      What I find interesting is this possibility:
                                       
                                      "Fly those guys up here for 3 weeks in every 5, then give them
                                      the other 2 weeks off in compensation. You'd still get better
                                      productivity".
                                       
                                      I'd need hard and fast figures to sell that proposition.  If anyone's
                                      brave enough to try that argument, let me know how it goes.
                                       
                                      Paul Oldfield
                                       
                                       
                                    • PaulOldfield1@aol.com
                                      ... I just spotted this blog post on the topic - Mishkin Berteig seems to come to a similar conclusion.
                                      Message 18 of 23 , Sep 19, 2006
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                                        >> Hmm... by my math, it would never be worthwhile to split
                                        >> a team between two sites if this were true - give all the
                                        >> work to the larger half and you'd do better.
                                         
                                        I just spotted this blog post on the topic - Mishkin Berteig
                                        seems to come to a similar conclusion.
                                         
                                         
                                        Paul Oldfield
                                      • acyment
                                        ... This is precisely where my original question pointed at. What prop, what technology shall we need, which maybe doesn t exist yet, in order to have a
                                        Message 19 of 23 , Sep 19, 2006
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                                          > Thanks, Ron.
                                          >
                                          > So, if we could reproduce the good effects of the War Room
                                          > in a distributed situation, this would give us something to
                                          > aim for... in absence of any chance of co-locating.
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > Paul Oldfield
                                          >

                                          This is precisely where my original question pointed at. What prop,
                                          what technology shall we need, which maybe doesn't exist yet, in order
                                          to have a "distributed War Room" (which would not be as good as the
                                          local War Room, but could maybe allow us to get rid of all that
                                          accidental communication problems and take us nearer from the
                                          essential ones)? Lots of webcams and LCDs on the wall? True, no touch
                                          and no smell. But we IT people are not precisely dogs as far as
                                          interpersonal behavior goes I guess...
                                          I haven't yet explained my reasons behind this question. I'm from
                                          Argentina (i.e. third world - cheap programmers). I love agile. And
                                          I'd love to have my own company that develops software for the world.
                                          When I told Kert Peterson about this, he asked the obvious: why don't
                                          you just develop software for Argentinean companies? I could, but the
                                          market is not only small and limited (practically everything is CRUDs
                                          down here), but I also love having to work with people round the globe.

                                          Thanks for all the great feedback so far,
                                          Alan
                                        • Mishkin Berteig
                                          There is one way to develop software for a global market that does not require you to work with a distributed team: web-based products. You can use agile
                                          Message 20 of 23 , Sep 19, 2006
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                                            There is one way to develop software for a global market that does not require you to work with a distributed team: web-based products.
                                             
                                            You can use agile methods (like Google, Ebay, Yahoo!) to deliver a stream of constantly improving software to the web.  In this case, you need to have a person who understands your users and can act as an on-site customer representative.
                                             
                                            You don't need any special tools because your development team could all be together (in Argentina, for example).
                                             
                                            This is, of course, a riskier venture than running an outsourcing firm :-)
                                             
                                            Good luck!

                                            acyment <acyment@...> wrote:
                                            > Thanks, Ron.
                                            >
                                            > So, if we could reproduce the good effects of the War Room
                                            > in a distributed situation, this would give us something to
                                            > aim for... in absence of any chance of co-locating.
                                            >
                                            >
                                            > Paul Oldfield
                                            >

                                            This is precisely where my original question pointed at. What prop,
                                            what technology shall we need, which maybe doesn't exist yet, in order
                                            to have a "distributed War Room" (which would not be as good as the
                                            local War Room, but could maybe allow us to get rid of all that
                                            accidental communication problems and take us nearer from the
                                            essential ones)? Lots of webcams and LCDs on the wall? True, no touch
                                            and no smell. But we IT people are not precisely dogs as far as
                                            interpersonal behavior goes I guess...
                                            I haven't yet explained my reasons behind this question. I'm from
                                            Argentina (i.e. third world - cheap programmers) . I love agile. And
                                            I'd love to have my own company that develops software for the world.
                                            When I told Kert Peterson about this, he asked the obvious: why don't
                                            you just develop software for Argentinean companies? I could, but the
                                            market is not only small and limited (practically everything is CRUDs
                                            down here), but I also love having to work with people round the globe.

                                            Thanks for all the great feedback so far,
                                            Alan




                                            Mishkin Berteig
                                            mishkin@...
                                            http://www.agileadvice.com/
                                            "Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues" - Baha'u'llah


                                            Do you Yahoo!?
                                            Get on board. You're invited to try the new Yahoo! Mail.

                                          • Mishkin Berteig
                                            Actually, that s just me quoting myself from this list! Mishkin ... I just spotted this blog post on the topic - Mishkin Berteig seems to come to a similar
                                            Message 21 of 23 , Sep 19, 2006
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                                              Actually, that's just me quoting myself from this list!
                                               
                                              Mishkin

                                              PaulOldfield1@... wrote:
                                               
                                               
                                              >> Hmm... by my math, it would never be worthwhile to split
                                              >> a team between two sites if this were true - give all the
                                              >> work to the larger half and you'd do better.
                                               
                                              I just spotted this blog post on the topic - Mishkin Berteig
                                              seems to come to a similar conclusion.
                                               
                                               
                                              Paul Oldfield



                                              Mishkin Berteig
                                              mishkin@...
                                              http://www.agileadvice.com/
                                              "Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues" - Baha'u'llah


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                                            • acyment
                                              That s really good advice...and what would you call remotely developing a product for an overseas customer? Almost all the team is in Argentina, except for the
                                              Message 22 of 23 , Sep 19, 2006
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                                                That's really good advice...and what would you call remotely
                                                developing a product for an overseas customer? Almost all the team is
                                                in Argentina, except for the actual customer...would that be a
                                                mixture? Wouldn't communication channels be minimized in that case?
                                                What if this remote customer were available all the time, but through
                                                videoconference? Wouldn't that be sort of an on-site customer?

                                                Cheers,
                                                Alan

                                                --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Mishkin Berteig <mishkin@...>
                                                wrote:
                                                >
                                                > There is one way to develop software for a global market that does
                                                not require you to work with a distributed team: web-based products.
                                                >
                                                > You can use agile methods (like Google, Ebay, Yahoo!) to deliver a
                                                stream of constantly improving software to the web. In this case, you
                                                need to have a person who understands your users and can act as an
                                                on-site customer representative.
                                                >
                                                > You don't need any special tools because your development team
                                                could all be together (in Argentina, for example).
                                                >
                                                > This is, of course, a riskier venture than running an outsourcing
                                                firm :-)
                                                >
                                                > Good luck!
                                                >
                                                > acyment <acyment@...> wrote:
                                                > > Thanks, Ron.
                                                > >
                                                > > So, if we could reproduce the good effects of the War Room
                                                > > in a distributed situation, this would give us something to
                                                > > aim for... in absence of any chance of co-locating.
                                                > >
                                                > >
                                                > > Paul Oldfield
                                                > >
                                                >
                                                > This is precisely where my original question pointed at. What prop,
                                                > what technology shall we need, which maybe doesn't exist yet, in order
                                                > to have a "distributed War Room" (which would not be as good as the
                                                > local War Room, but could maybe allow us to get rid of all that
                                                > accidental communication problems and take us nearer from the
                                                > essential ones)? Lots of webcams and LCDs on the wall? True, no touch
                                                > and no smell. But we IT people are not precisely dogs as far as
                                                > interpersonal behavior goes I guess...
                                                > I haven't yet explained my reasons behind this question. I'm from
                                                > Argentina (i.e. third world - cheap programmers). I love agile. And
                                                > I'd love to have my own company that develops software for the world.
                                                > When I told Kert Peterson about this, he asked the obvious: why don't
                                                > you just develop software for Argentinean companies? I could, but the
                                                > market is not only small and limited (practically everything is CRUDs
                                                > down here), but I also love having to work with people round the globe.
                                                >
                                                > Thanks for all the great feedback so far,
                                                > Alan
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Mishkin Berteig
                                                > mishkin@...
                                                > http://www.agileadvice.com/
                                                > "Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues" - Baha'u'llah
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > ---------------------------------
                                                > Do you Yahoo!?
                                                > Get on board. You're invited to try the new Yahoo! Mail.
                                                >
                                              • Mishkin Berteig
                                                Actually, I do think that pure outsourcing like you are talking about here is less difficult than a split team. Again, with anyone remote, time zones become a
                                                Message 23 of 23 , Sep 19, 2006
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                                                  Actually, I do think that pure outsourcing like you are talking about here is less difficult than a split team.  Again, with anyone remote, time zones become a large factor.  If you can have a remote customer who is willing to be constantly available during the times you are actually working, this is obviously better because it eliminates the bulk of the communication cycle time.  There are still problems with the richness of the communication channels.  All joking aside, things like body language just don't communicate as well over video as they do when two people are standing/sitting side-by-side.  That body language is actually a very large component of our communications and helps particularly in making sure that there is real alignment in two people's perceptions.  Sometimes we can use the same language as someone else, but mean completely different things.  This situation is easier to avoid if you can actually see people's body language.
                                                   
                                                  Mishkin.

                                                  acyment <acyment@...> wrote:
                                                  That's really good advice...and what would you call remotely
                                                  developing a product for an overseas customer? Almost all the team is
                                                  in Argentina, except for the actual customer...would that be a
                                                  mixture? Wouldn't communication channels be minimized in that case?
                                                  What if this remote customer were available all the time, but through
                                                  videoconference? Wouldn't that be sort of an on-site customer?

                                                  Cheers,
                                                  Alan

                                                  --- In agile-usability@ yahoogroups. com, Mishkin Berteig <mishkin@... >
                                                  wrote:
                                                  >
                                                  > There is one way to develop software for a global market that does
                                                  not require you to work with a distributed team: web-based products.
                                                  >
                                                  > You can use agile methods (like Google, Ebay, Yahoo!) to deliver a
                                                  stream of constantly improving software to the web. In this case, you
                                                  need to have a person who understands your users and can act as an
                                                  on-site customer representative.
                                                  >
                                                  > You don't need any special tools because your development team
                                                  could all be together (in Argentina, for example).
                                                  >
                                                  > This is, of course, a riskier venture than running an outsourcing
                                                  firm :-)
                                                  >
                                                  > Good luck!
                                                  >
                                                  > acyment <acyment@... > wrote:
                                                  > > Thanks, Ron.
                                                  > >
                                                  > > So, if we could reproduce the good effects of the War Room
                                                  > > in a distributed situation, this would give us something to
                                                  > > aim for... in absence of any chance of co-locating.
                                                  > >
                                                  > >
                                                  > > Paul Oldfield
                                                  > >
                                                  >
                                                  > This is precisely where my original question pointed at. What prop,
                                                  > what technology shall we need, which maybe doesn't exist yet, in order
                                                  > to have a "distributed War Room" (which would not be as good as the
                                                  > local War Room, but could maybe allow us to get rid of all that
                                                  > accidental communication problems and take us nearer from the
                                                  > essential ones)? Lots of webcams and LCDs on the wall? True, no touch
                                                  > and no smell. But we IT people are not precisely dogs as far as
                                                  > interpersonal behavior goes I guess...
                                                  > I haven't yet explained my reasons behind this question. I'm from
                                                  > Argentina (i.e. third world - cheap programmers) . I love agile. And
                                                  > I'd love to have my own company that develops software for the world.
                                                  > When I told Kert Peterson about this, he asked the obvious: why don't
                                                  > you just develop software for Argentinean companies? I could, but the
                                                  > market is not only small and limited (practically everything is CRUDs
                                                  > down here), but I also love having to work with people round the globe.
                                                  >
                                                  > Thanks for all the great feedback so far,
                                                  > Alan
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > Mishkin Berteig
                                                  > mishkin@...
                                                  > http://www.agileadv ice.com/
                                                  > "Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues" - Baha'u'llah
                                                  >
                                                  >
                                                  > ------------ --------- --------- ---
                                                  > Do you Yahoo!?
                                                  > Get on board. You're invited to try the new Yahoo! Mail.
                                                  >




                                                  Mishkin Berteig
                                                  mishkin@...
                                                  http://www.agileadvice.com/
                                                  "Truthfulness is the foundation of all human virtues" - Baha'u'llah


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