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versus collocated teams

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  • Baker, Lisa
    I have worked with both co-located bull pen teams, teams working on portions of a project spread across the building, and teams spread across the globe using
    Message 1 of 24 , May 30, 2007
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      I have worked with both co-located bull pen teams, teams working on
      portions of a project spread across the building, and teams spread
      across the globe using both traditional 'waterfall' and agile methods.
      One thing that continually strikes me is that agile is as much a social
      methodology as a project methodology. Developing in isolation or
      non-communication is a frequently seen trait among developers. Some do
      like their "quiet" time, thinking they are more productive without
      "interruptions." They'd rather type than talk. But, I have seen it SO
      many times... a developer goes off for a week "uninterrupted" and he
      makes a decision here and a decision there. And developer b goes off and
      makes a decision here and a decision there--and now comes integration
      and the pieces don't match up.
      The constant communication is really what keeps us going faster and the
      close-proximity--nearly tripping over the guy you need to talk to
      sometimes--keeps the information flowing. It enables the needed work
      practice. You can't just "command" people to communicate early and
      often. You have to set them up for that success. And co-locating them
      does that easily.
      Work at home appeals to me, definitely, but the bullpen seems to really
      work.
      Lisa Baker
      Human Factors Lead
      LANDesk, an Avocent(r) Company
      Lisa.baker@...

      "Simplifying our customers' work"
    • Owen Thomas
      Hello Lisa. I m not saying that the members of remote teams should be any less out of touch with each other than would otherwise be the case. I believe that
      Message 2 of 24 , May 31, 2007
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        Hello Lisa.

        I'm not saying that the members of remote teams should be any less out
        of touch with each other than would otherwise be the case. I believe
        that working remotely is good. I also believe that communication is
        good. Thirdly, I believe that teams can be constructed that remote,
        virtual, and using the plethora of communications devices available
        today, are informed.

        Owen.

        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Baker, Lisa" <lisa.baker@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > I have worked with both co-located bull pen teams, teams working on
        > portions of a project spread across the building, and teams spread
        > across the globe using both traditional 'waterfall' and agile methods.
        > One thing that continually strikes me is that agile is as much a
        social
        > methodology as a project methodology. Developing in isolation or
        > non-communication is a frequently seen trait among developers. Some do
        > like their "quiet" time, thinking they are more productive without
        > "interruptions." They'd rather type than talk. But, I have seen it SO
        > many times... a developer goes off for a week "uninterrupted" and he
        > makes a decision here and a decision there. And developer b goes off
        and
        > makes a decision here and a decision there--and now comes integration
        > and the pieces don't match up.
        > The constant communication is really what keeps us going faster and
        the
        > close-proximity--nearly tripping over the guy you need to talk to
        > sometimes--keeps the information flowing. It enables the needed work
        > practice. You can't just "command" people to communicate early and
        > often. You have to set them up for that success. And co-locating them
        > does that easily.
        > Work at home appeals to me, definitely, but the bullpen seems to
        really
        > work.
        > Lisa Baker
        > Human Factors Lead
        > LANDesk, an Avocent(r) Company
        > Lisa.baker@...
        >
        > "Simplifying our customers' work"
        >
      • Lisa
        So, yes, tools are available. They have been in the office for years when there were cube walls or offices... you just had to pick up the phone or walk down
        Message 3 of 24 , May 31, 2007
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          So, yes, tools are available. They have been in the office for years
          when there were cube walls or offices... you just had to pick up the
          phone or walk down the hall, but people didn't do it. Agile
          methodologies systematically set up the success.
          So if people are remote, how is the -system- setting them up for
          success?
          In my experience to date, it simply requires a lot more work.
          Lisa

          --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Owen Thomas"
          <owen.paul.thomas@...> wrote:
          >
          >
          > Hello Lisa.
          >
          > I'm not saying that the members of remote teams should be any less out
          > of touch with each other than would otherwise be the case. I believe
          > that working remotely is good. I also believe that communication is
          > good. Thirdly, I believe that teams can be constructed that remote,
          > virtual, and using the plethora of communications devices available
          > today, are informed.
          >
          > Owen.
          >
          > --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Baker, Lisa" <lisa.baker@>
          > wrote:
          > >
          > > I have worked with both co-located bull pen teams, teams working on
          > > portions of a project spread across the building, and teams spread
          > > across the globe using both traditional 'waterfall' and agile methods.
          > > One thing that continually strikes me is that agile is as much a
          > social
          > > methodology as a project methodology. Developing in isolation or
          > > non-communication is a frequently seen trait among developers. Some do
          > > like their "quiet" time, thinking they are more productive without
          > > "interruptions." They'd rather type than talk. But, I have seen it SO
          > > many times... a developer goes off for a week "uninterrupted" and he
          > > makes a decision here and a decision there. And developer b goes off
          > and
          > > makes a decision here and a decision there--and now comes integration
          > > and the pieces don't match up.
          > > The constant communication is really what keeps us going faster and
          > the
          > > close-proximity--nearly tripping over the guy you need to talk to
          > > sometimes--keeps the information flowing. It enables the needed work
          > > practice. You can't just "command" people to communicate early and
          > > often. You have to set them up for that success. And co-locating them
          > > does that easily.
          > > Work at home appeals to me, definitely, but the bullpen seems to
          > really
          > > work.
          > > Lisa Baker
          > > Human Factors Lead
          > > LANDesk, an Avocent(r) Company
          > > Lisa.baker@
          > >
          > > "Simplifying our customers' work"
          > >
          >
        • Dean Morrow
          Sorry, just catching up on the previous thread. This is a collection of thoughts triggered by multiple messages. As someone pointed out earlier, the
          Message 4 of 24 , May 31, 2007
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            Sorry, just catching up on the previous thread. This is a collection
            of thoughts triggered by multiple messages.

            As someone pointed out earlier, the interruption primarily benefits
            the interrupter. So to say that you¡¦re just as productive when you¡¦re
            remote is missing the point. The real question is, does everyone else
            on the team get more benefit if you¡¦re collocated? Most likely they
            would.

            Asking someone within earshot is more natural and takes much less
            effort than typing. Overhearing a conversation is also natural and
            takes no effort. Just look to your own experience¡K would it really
            have taken you 3 hours to respond to a posting if you were
            interacting directly?

            Yes, IM is more interactive than email, but it¡¦s still not as good as
            (and takes more effort than) face-to-face. Same for IM forum. Video
            conferencing, virtual whiteboards, next greatest collaboration tool,
            pick your future technology¡K these are all solutions to a lack of
            interaction. And interaction is key to usability. As Ron said,
            there¡¦s no substitute for ¡§being there.¡¨ Even if you¡¦re ¡§using the
            plethora of communications devices available today,¡¨ it¡¦s just not
            the same as tripping over your teammate.

            This is not to say that remote is not workable. It just takes more
            effort. Improvement in technology will hopefully make it more and
            more workable, but I don¡¦t anticipate it catching up in my lifetime.
            Maybe someone who is very passionate about creating technology, and
            very passionate about applying their skills to this problem will make
            a breakthrough¡K maybe someone like Owen??? ƒº

            So let¡¦s assume that the boss does get more benefit comparing hour to
            hour of face to face over remote. Trying to convince me that they are
            equivalent is no-win. There¡¦s no benefit for me. So change the rules.
            As an employer, I care about the bottom line. I believe you¡¦re more
            productive face to face, so don¡¦t try to convince me otherwise.
            However, I may not believe you¡¦re more productive by a factor of 50%,
            so start there. If you work an 8 hour day and commute 4 hours, I may
            be very interested in your giving me a bunch of your wasted hours to
            me in exchange for having you go remote. Give me 10 hours for the
            price of 8. I think there might be enough benefit for me then.

            There¡¦s numerous other benefits that result from the fact that
            collocated means people share the same environment. War rooms share
            more, closed offices share less. If you consider one of the
            principles of usability is ¡§Don¡¦t make me think¡¨, one obvious way is
            to put triggers in the environment.

            Allocating a particular time of the day to interruptions
            (communications) and not allowing them throughout the day takes away
            the spontaneous, in-context questions, which diminishes learning
            (major agile principle). Putting the question off till tomorrow means
            I have to get back into ¡§the zone¡¨ from which the question originated.


            -Dean


            --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Lisa" <lisa.baker@...> wrote:
            >
            > So, yes, tools are available. They have been in the office for years
            > when there were cube walls or offices... you just had to pick up the
            > phone or walk down the hall, but people didn't do it. Agile
            > methodologies systematically set up the success.
            > So if people are remote, how is the -system- setting them up for
            > success?
            > In my experience to date, it simply requires a lot more work.
            > Lisa
            >
            > --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Owen Thomas"
            > <owen.paul.thomas@> wrote:
            > >
            > >
            > > Hello Lisa.
            > >
            > > I'm not saying that the members of remote teams should be any
            less out
            > > of touch with each other than would otherwise be the case. I
            believe
            > > that working remotely is good. I also believe that communication
            is
            > > good. Thirdly, I believe that teams can be constructed that
            remote,
            > > virtual, and using the plethora of communications devices
            available
            > > today, are informed.
            > >
            > > Owen.
            > >
            > > --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Baker, Lisa"
            <lisa.baker@>
            > > wrote:
            > > >
            > > > I have worked with both co-located bull pen teams, teams
            working on
            > > > portions of a project spread across the building, and teams
            spread
            > > > across the globe using both traditional 'waterfall' and agile
            methods.
            > > > One thing that continually strikes me is that agile is as much a
            > > social
            > > > methodology as a project methodology. Developing in isolation or
            > > > non-communication is a frequently seen trait among developers.
            Some do
            > > > like their "quiet" time, thinking they are more productive
            without
            > > > "interruptions." They'd rather type than talk. But, I have seen
            it SO
            > > > many times... a developer goes off for a week "uninterrupted"
            and he
            > > > makes a decision here and a decision there. And developer b
            goes off
            > > and
            > > > makes a decision here and a decision there--and now comes
            integration
            > > > and the pieces don't match up.
            > > > The constant communication is really what keeps us going faster
            and
            > > the
            > > > close-proximity--nearly tripping over the guy you need to talk
            to
            > > > sometimes--keeps the information flowing. It enables the needed
            work
            > > > practice. You can't just "command" people to communicate early
            and
            > > > often. You have to set them up for that success. And co-
            locating them
            > > > does that easily.
            > > > Work at home appeals to me, definitely, but the bullpen seems to
            > > really
            > > > work.
            > > > Lisa Baker
            > > > Human Factors Lead
            > > > LANDesk, an Avocent(r) Company
            > > > Lisa.baker@
            > > >
            > > > "Simplifying our customers' work"
            > > >
            > >
            >
          • Owen Thomas
            Hello Dean. ... It took me three hours because I wanted to get my point across diplomatically. I think that because email is not as spontaneous as IM or
            Message 5 of 24 , May 31, 2007
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              Hello Dean.

              --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Dean Morrow" <dmorrow6@...> wrote:

              > Asking someone within earshot is more natural and takes much less
              > effort than typing. Overhearing a conversation is also natural and
              > takes no effort. Just look to your own experience¡K would it really
              > have taken you 3 hours to respond to a posting if you were
              > interacting directly?

              It took me three hours because I wanted to get my point across diplomatically. I think that because email is not as spontaneous as IM or speech, it gives me this, and I am thankful for it.

              > Yes, IM is more interactive than email, but it¡¦s still not as good as
              > (and takes more effort than) face-to-face. Same for IM forum. Video
              > conferencing, virtual whiteboards, next greatest collaboration tool,
              > pick your future technology¡K these are all solutions to a lack of
              > interaction. And interaction is key to usability. As Ron said,
              > there¡¦s no substitute for ¡§being there.¡¨ Even if you¡¦re ¡§using the
              > plethora of communications devices available today,¡¨ it¡¦s just not
              > the same as tripping over your teammate.

              I certainly don't want to have to trip over my teammate, and I think that cramming people into close and uncomfortable proximity for the sake of increased productivity boarders on sadistic.

              > This is not to say that remote is not workable. It just takes more
              > effort. Improvement in technology will hopefully make it more and
              > more workable, but I don¡¦t anticipate it catching up in my lifetime.
              > Maybe someone who is very passionate about creating technology, and
              > very passionate about applying their skills to this problem will make
              > a breakthrough¡K maybe someone like Owen??? ƒº

              Although it migt shift the focus of effort, I don't think remote work needs any more or less.

              Convincing the Agile community that it might be good to explore remote collaboration more carefully would be an accolade that I would be happy to be known by. I also hope I could get a chance to produce some elegant code somewhere too.

              > As an employer, I care about the bottom line. I believe you¡¦re more
              > productive face to face, so don¡¦t try to convince me otherwise.

              If, as an employer, you are concerned only about the bottom line, then let me worry about the process used to derive for you what is needed to maximise your bottom line results.

              > However, I may not believe you¡¦re more productive by a factor of 50%,
              > so start there. If you work an 8 hour day and commute 4 hours, I may
              > be very interested in your giving me a bunch of your wasted hours to
              > me in exchange for having you go remote. Give me 10 hours for the
              > price of 8.

              I'm not happy with that because then, I would be implicitly accepting your argument that I am not as effective as a remote employee.

              > There¡¦s numerous other benefits that result from the fact that
              > collocated means people share the same environment. War rooms share
              > more, closed offices share less.

              I don't believe in a virtual war room, anything less about the project is shared than in a collocated one. One probably doesn't share each others expired air however, which I don't think is a consideration for productivity in any project I am ever likely to have to consider.

               > Allocating a particular time of the day to interruptions
              > (communications) and not allowing them throughout the day takes away
              > the spontaneous, in-context questions, which diminishes learning
              > (major agile principle). Putting the question off till tomorrow means
              > I have to get back into ¡§the zone¡¨ from which the question originated.

              One mustn't have to delay asking questions in a remote team that has access to the right tools.

                Owen.

            • Desilets, Alain
              ... for the sake of ... Have you actually experienced working on a co-located XP team? It s a lot of fun actually! There is nothing sadistic about it. Like I
              Message 6 of 24 , May 31, 2007
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                Owen wrote:

                > I think that cramming people into close and uncomfortable proximity
                for the sake of
                > increased productivity boarders on sadistic.

                Have you actually experienced working on a co-located XP team?

                It's a lot of fun actually! There is nothing sadistic about it.

                Like I said earlier, for the first 15 years of my career, the though of
                working 6-7 hours a day in close quarters with 3-10 other people would
                have made me cringe. But when I actually tried it I found I actually
                enjoyed it immensely.

                Maybe you should try it (on an XP team... Not in a waterfallish cubicle
                wasteland).

                As Dr Seus would put it:

                You do not like green eggs and ham.
                So you say.
                Try them! Try them!
                And you may.
                Try them and you may, I say.

                ;-)

                Alain
              • Owen Thomas
                Hello Lisa. I contend in what you have said below that people don t do it for two reasons: office cubicles encourage people not to share relevant
                Message 7 of 24 , May 31, 2007
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                  Hello Lisa.

                  I contend in what you have said below that people don't "do it" for two reasons: office cubicles encourage people not to share relevant information, and partially implemented remote teams (as an earlier email from you indicated) actually stifled remote collaboration.

                  If I might leave you with anything in this message, it is the statement that remote work shouldn't be seen as Agile's antithesis.

                    Owen.

                  --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Lisa" <lisa.baker@...> wrote:
                  >
                  > So, yes, tools are available. They have been in the office for years
                  > when there were cube walls or offices... you just had to pick up the
                  > phone or walk down the hall, but people didn't do it. Agile
                  > methodologies systematically set up the success.
                  > So if people are remote, how is the -system- setting them up for
                  > success?
                  > In my experience to date, it simply requires a lot more work.
                  > Lisa

                • Adrian Howard
                  On 1 Jun 2007, at 02:00, Owen Thomas wrote: [snip] ... [snip] I ve found an XP-ish co-located team to be the absolutely best working experiences I ve ever had.
                  Message 8 of 24 , Jun 1, 2007
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                    On 1 Jun 2007, at 02:00, Owen Thomas wrote:

                    [snip]
                    > I certainly don't want to have to trip over my teammate, and I think
                    > that cramming people into close and uncomfortable proximity for the
                    > sake
                    > of increased productivity boarders on sadistic.
                    [snip]

                    I've found an XP-ish co-located team to be the absolutely best
                    working experiences I've ever had. It's not only more productive.
                    It's more fun (in my experience anyway).

                    I say this as somebody who has spent a good chunk of a six-year
                    period doing consultancy, often telecommuting. I live in a fairly
                    rural area in the UK and there aren't a lot of local tech jobs.

                    The fact that some organisations want local rather than remote
                    workers has been a hassle for me, and has meant that I've had to
                    spent significant amounts of time away from home, partner, dog and
                    pretty countryside.

                    However - I can't fault those companies for wanting somebody on site.
                    I would if I were them. Local bodies in a good environment are much
                    more effective than the most ideal remote worker in my experience.

                    I'm not saying good remote working isn't possible. I'm saying that
                    having a person onsite is, in my experience, significantly more
                    effective in any sort of team environment.

                    [snip]
                    > Although it migt shift the focus of effort, I don't think remote work
                    > needs any more or less.

                    Every experience I've had tells me different I'm afraid.

                    [snip]
                    > I'm not happy with that because then, I would be implicitly accepting
                    > your argument that I am not as effective as a remote employee.
                    [snip]

                    Nobody is saying you're not effective :-) Just not _as_ effective as
                    somebody on site.

                    Cheers,

                    Adrian
                  • Dean Morrow
                    ... That s a big if. I don t see the current tools being as easy and natural as face-to-face. A lot of usabilty is about putting it in the environment,
                    Message 9 of 24 , Jun 1, 2007
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                      --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Owen Thomas"
                      <owen.paul.thomas@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > > One mustn't have to delay asking questions in a remote team that has
                      > access to the right tools.
                      >
                      >

                      That's a big if. I don't see the current tools being as easy and
                      natural as face-to-face. A lot of usabilty is about putting it in the
                      environment, perception over cognition, don't make me think, let me
                      interact. You need to compensate for the reduced auditory & visual ques
                      in the environment and the clumsier interaction.

                      Would you agree that there's a lot of opportunity for improvement for
                      creating and supporting an easy, natural interactive remote working
                      environment? Or do you think we're 100% there?

                      -Dean
                    • Owen Thomas
                      Hello Adrian. ... Might you think that such an environment might can be replicated for a remote team for, say, programmers who wouldn t necessarily need to be
                      Message 10 of 24 , Jun 1, 2007
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                         Hello Adrian.

                        --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Howard <adrianh@...> wrote:
                        > On 1 Jun 2007, at 02:00, Owen Thomas wrote:
                         
                        > [snip]
                        > > I certainly don't want to have to trip over my teammate, and I think
                        > > that cramming people into close and uncomfortable proximity for the
                        > > sake
                        > > of increased productivity boarders on sadistic.
                        > [snip]
                        >
                        > I've found an XP-ish co-located team to be the absolutely best
                        > working experiences I've ever had. It's not only more productive.
                        > It's more fun (in my experience anyway).

                        Might you think that such an environment might can be replicated for a remote team for, say, programmers who wouldn't necessarily need to be customer facing?

                        > However - I can't fault those companies for wanting somebody on site.
                        > I would if I were them. Local bodies in a good environment are much
                        > more effective than the most ideal remote worker in my experience.

                        > I'm not saying good remote working isn't possible. I'm saying that
                        > having a person onsite is, in my experience, significantly more
                        > effective in any sort of team environment.

                        I did talk about my ideal development environment in what was (I believe), my second message  to this topic and in it, I said that such a team would be staffed with customer-facing consultants who would liaise with the customer and a virtual product development team.

                        What do you think of this?

                        > [snip]
                        > > I'm not happy with that because then, I would be implicitly accepting
                        > > your argument that I am not as effective as a remote employee.
                        > [snip]
                        >
                        > Nobody is saying you're not effective :-) Just not _as_ effective as
                        > somebody on site.

                        That was my point.

                        I'll restate my sentence for I thought it gave the wrong message: I would not be happy with the suggestion that I work ten hours rather than eight because then, I would be implicitly accepting the argument that as a remote employee, I would not be as effective at my job as a collocated one.

                        I have not seen any evidence to endorse the view that one should maximise collocated teaming in a project. I don't think anything so far stated in this group to lambaste remote work is based on distilled facts. I don't think that remote teaming is in such contradiction to the Agile philosophy than the messages that I receive from the community, including this message group, might indicate.

                        Personally, I think Agile would do better to think of collocation and remote collaboration as a tools which have the following relationship: collocate where necessary, but rely on remote collaboration where possible.

                        In terms of cost reduction alone, it makes for a common sense position.

                          Owen.

                      • Owen Thomas
                        Hello Dean. ... has ... ques ... perception over cognition ? What is it ? Using a phrase like don t make me think, let me interact is like the saying
                        Message 11 of 24 , Jun 1, 2007
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                          Hello Dean.
                          --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Dean Morrow" <dmorrow6@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, "Owen Thomas"
                          > owen.paul.thomas@ wrote:
                          > >
                          > > > One mustn't have to delay asking questions in a remote team that
                          has
                          > > access to the right tools.
                          > >
                          > >
                          >
                          > That's a big if. I don't see the current tools being as easy and
                          > natural as face-to-face. A lot of usabilty is about putting it in the
                          > environment, perception over cognition, don't make me think, let me
                          > interact. You need to compensate for the reduced auditory & visual
                          ques
                          > in the environment and the clumsier interaction.

                          "perception over cognition"? What is "it"?

                          Using a phrase like "don't make me think, let me interact" is like the
                          saying modern surgical procedures make anaesthetic redundant in that
                          while progressively less invasive surgery means reduced use of
                          anaesthetic, one is not now, or ever going to consign the anaesthesia
                          profession to history.

                          I guess that keeping the customer happy can be seen as a goal for
                          software development. Minimising thought on this basis to flop over the
                          customer satisfaction threshold may achieve that objective. A philosophy
                          such as this rarely yields an elegant or robust solution, it just keeps
                          the customer happy (hence goal achieved), and dependent on further
                          assistance when they need to get their system to do something
                          significantly (slightly) different (hence future revenue guaranteed). Is
                          this conscionable?

                          > Would you agree that there's a lot of opportunity for improvement for
                          > creating and supporting an easy, natural interactive remote working
                          > environment? Or do you think we're 100% there?

                          A mathematician named Kurt Gödel was the first one to show succinctly
                          (heh, and elegantly) that that there is no way to get "100% there", but
                          I think that remote collaboration is sufficient for, and even preferable
                          to collocation in, a great number of circumstances where cognition is
                          necessary over interaction. Such circumstances exist now as they ever
                          did, and paying respect to them reduces cost, and frustration in dealing
                          with the resultant outputs of the development process.

                          That's what I reckon,

                          Owen.
                        • Adrian Howard
                          Hi Owen, ... [snip] ... I m not trying to say that working in a distributed environment need be a terrible experience. I m saying that an XP-ish co-located
                          Message 12 of 24 , Jun 3, 2007
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                            Hi Owen,

                            On 2 Jun 2007, at 02:34, Owen Thomas wrote:

                            > Hello Adrian.
                            > --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Howard <adrianh@...>
                            > wrote:
                            [snip]
                            >> I've found an XP-ish co-located team to be the absolutely best
                            >> working experiences I've ever had. It's not only more productive.
                            >> It's more fun (in my experience anyway).
                            >
                            > Might you think that such an environment might can be replicated for a
                            > remote team for, say, programmers who wouldn't necessarily need to be
                            > customer facing?

                            I'm not trying to say that working in a distributed environment need
                            be a terrible experience.

                            I'm saying that an XP-ish co-located team was nothing close to
                            "cramming people into close and uncomfortable proximity for the sake
                            of increased productivity" :-)

                            [snip]
                            > I did talk about my ideal development environment in what was (I
                            > believe), my second message
                            > <http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/agile-usability/message/3363> to
                            > this topic and in it, I said that such a team would be staffed with
                            > customer-facing consultants who would liaise with the customer and a
                            > virtual product development team.
                            >
                            > What do you think of this?

                            I think adding a layer between the customer and the developer in this
                            way slows down communication, and adds a layer of chinese whispers
                            where requirements can be misinterpreted. I've worked in environments
                            like this, and prefer ones where there is much closer collaboration
                            between customer and development. If you look at agile processes like
                            Scrum and XP you'll see a movement away from intermediate groups
                            between development and customer.

                            >> [snip]
                            >>> I'm not happy with that because then, I would be implicitly
                            >>> accepting
                            >>> your argument that I am not as effective as a remote employee.
                            >> [snip]
                            >>
                            >> Nobody is saying you're not effective :-) Just not _as_ effective as
                            >> somebody on site.
                            >
                            > That was my point.
                            >
                            > I'll restate my sentence for I thought it gave the wrong message: I
                            > would not be happy with the suggestion that I work ten hours rather
                            > than
                            > eight because then, I would be implicitly accepting the argument
                            > that as
                            > a remote employee, I would not be as effective at my job as a
                            > collocated
                            > one.
                            >
                            > I have not seen any evidence to endorse the view that one should
                            > maximise collocated teaming in a project.

                            Well - there's a whole bunch of social psych research that says face-
                            to-face communication is more effective than remote. For example this
                            months Sci Am <http://tinyurl.com/32l5pa> sez:

                            "... organizational behavior expert Kyle Lewis of the McCombs School
                            of Business at the University of Texas at Austin found that the
                            development of a team's ability to access distributed knowledge
                            required face-to-face interaction. In groups that communicated
                            exclusively by phone or e-mail, this skill did not emerge—an
                            observation of increasing importance, given the rise of teams that
                            operate remotely and coordinate sometimes only through computer
                            interactions. It should prompt concerted efforts to understand the
                            reasons for such barriers and explore whether web-cams,
                            videoconferencing or other technologies that allow people to interact
                            will help overcome this problem. For now, the best solution may be to
                            guarantee some face time for team members throughout their project."

                            If you dig into the social psych world and CSCW research you'll see a
                            bunch more.

                            I've yet to see _any_ research that claims remote teams are as
                            effective as co-located ones.

                            There's (at least) me, Alain, Ron on this list who all say they're
                            personal experiences say that co-located teams are more effective. A
                            whole bunch of other folk on the XP list would agree. A whole bunch
                            of folk I've worked with over the years would also agree.

                            So there's a whole bunch of anecdotal evidence and a moderate amount
                            of what you could class as scientific evidence.

                            > I don't think anything so far
                            > stated in this group to lambaste remote work is based on distilled
                            > facts. I don't think that remote teaming is in such contradiction
                            > to the
                            > Agile philosophy than the messages that I receive from the community,
                            > including this message group, might indicate.
                            >
                            > Personally, I think Agile would do better to think of collocation and
                            > remote collaboration as a tools which have the following relationship:
                            > collocate where necessary, but rely on remote collaboration where
                            > possible.
                            >
                            > In terms of cost reduction alone, it makes for a common sense
                            > position.
                            [snip]

                            Only if it actually is a cost reduction. It isn't in my experience,
                            what you gain in saved office space, you more than lose in productivity.

                            Sure I'll work on teams with distributed folk. I work at home
                            occasionally myself. But it's the exception, not the rule.

                            Cheers,

                            Adrian
                          • Owen Thomas
                            Hello Adrian. ... a ... be ... Fair enough. I m saying that this would be different for me. At least, in as much as the thought of being involved in collocated
                            Message 13 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                              Hello Adrian.
                              --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Howard <adrianh@...>
                              wrote:
                              > Hi Owen,
                              >
                              > On 2 Jun 2007, at 02:34, Owen Thomas wrote:
                              >
                              > > Hello Adrian.
                              > > --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Adrian Howard adrianh@
                              > > wrote:
                              > [snip]
                              > >> I've found an XP-ish co-located team to be the absolutely best
                              > >> working experiences I've ever had. It's not only more productive.
                              > >> It's more fun (in my experience anyway).
                              > >
                              > > Might you think that such an environment might can be replicated for
                              a
                              > > remote team for, say, programmers who wouldn't necessarily need to
                              be
                              > > customer facing?
                              >
                              > I'm not trying to say that working in a distributed environment need
                              > be a terrible experience.
                              >
                              > I'm saying that an XP-ish co-located team was nothing close to
                              > "cramming people into close and uncomfortable proximity for the sake
                              > of increased productivity" :-)

                              Fair enough. I'm saying that this would be different for me. At least,
                              in as much as the thought of being involved in collocated teams (whether
                              they be agile or not), I can see something better for me, and something
                              that could mean good things for the customer too.

                              > [snip]
                              > I think adding a layer between the customer and the developer in this
                              > way slows down communication, and adds a layer of chinese whispers
                              > where requirements can be misinterpreted. I've worked in environments
                              > like this, and prefer ones where there is much closer collaboration
                              > between customer and development. If you look at agile processes like
                              > Scrum and XP you'll see a movement away from intermediate groups
                              > between development and customer.

                              This is the common practise in software development as I understand
                              things. Even in Agile development, work that has been scoped out of an
                              iteration is prevented from working its way in. How does this happen in
                              an agile team if there is no one keeping the customer away from the
                              development team? Though my knowledge of Agile isn't as good as yours
                              might be, I would think that consultants guarantee the customer's
                              continual involvement by fielding requirements for a coming iteration,
                              and presenting the results of one that has just completed.

                              Still, I understand that there should be direct communication between
                              developer and customer. Surely, this would moderated by a consultancy
                              function at times where the development tasks requires specific
                              functionality, requiring specific knowledge of the customer's domain.
                              However, a customer that is breathing down a developer's neck to get
                              some article produced isn't going to help get the customer get what the
                              customer wants. Consultants act as mediators in this respect.

                              >
                              > >> [snip]
                              > >>> I'm not happy with that because then, I would be implicitly
                              > >>> accepting
                              > >>> your argument that I am not as effective as a remote employee.
                              > >> [snip]
                              > >>
                              > >> Nobody is saying you're not effective :-) Just not _as_ effective
                              as
                              > >> somebody on site.
                              > >
                              > > That was my point.
                              > >
                              > > I'll restate my sentence for I thought it gave the wrong message: I
                              > > would not be happy with the suggestion that I work ten hours rather
                              > > than
                              > > eight because then, I would be implicitly accepting the argument
                              > > that as
                              > > a remote employee, I would not be as effective at my job as a
                              > > collocated
                              > > one.
                              > >
                              > > I have not seen any evidence to endorse the view that one should
                              > > maximise collocated teaming in a project.
                              >
                              > Well - there's a whole bunch of social psych research that says face-
                              > to-face communication is more effective than remote. For example this
                              > months Sci Am <http://tinyurl.com/32l5pa> sez:

                              I think I have seen this reference and several others have been quoted
                              about 4 times now. I'll pick apart the stuff you quote below in an
                              attempt to illustrate to you how this article didn't quite answer the
                              questions that I have.

                              > "... organizational behavior expert Kyle Lewis of the McCombs School
                              > of Business at the University of Texas at Austin found that the
                              > development of a team's ability to access distributed knowledge
                              > required face-to-face interaction.

                              I'm not in disagreement there. However, the intensity, duration, and
                              frequency for different team members are points of contention for me.

                              > In groups that communicated
                              > exclusively by phone or e-mail, this skill did not emerge...

                              I'm not talking about communicating exclusively by these means, or any
                              other. I would expect to have a degree of face-to-face even in a
                              development job. I don't think it is constructive, however, for me to be
                              shut in a room in a 'radically collocated' setting. I also don't think
                              it is constructive for the Agile community to make sweeping statements
                              about the necessity to collocate. I still think it boarders on sadistic
                              that radical collocation might be considered.

                              > ...an observation of increasing importance, given the rise of teams
                              that
                              > operate remotely and coordinate sometimes only through computer
                              > interactions.

                              If communicating through computer interactions in this study only
                              included email and phone, I would be even more sceptical of how well it
                              really examined remote communication. Quite honestly, I read it once,
                              but don't remember much of it because I didn't see anything to either
                              prove or falsify any assertion made by anyone here. It's more of a
                              magazine article than a study anyway; written only to pique one's
                              attention in the subject.

                              > It should prompt concerted efforts to understand the
                              > reasons for such barriers and explore whether web-cams,
                              > videoconferencing or other technologies that allow people to interact
                              > will help overcome this problem.

                              Note here that what is being said is along the lines of what I want to
                              see. I want to see proof the suitability of collocation and remote work.
                              Either in an absolute sense, a statement that can be backed by evidence
                              saying that collocation is superior in all respects to remote teaming,
                              or the converse, or as I believe would be far more reasonable, a set of
                              statements saying in which situations collocation was good, and which
                              others remote teaming had the upper hand. I bet that coding would be a
                              good candidate for remote work.

                              I'm not too hot on the webcams and vidoeconferencing ideas because I
                              feel almost as if we are nearing where this becomes an intrusion on the
                              life of the team member. Maybe you would warm to a remote team if
                              everyone was hooked up to a polygraph?

                              > For now, the best solution may be to
                              > guarantee some face time for team members throughout their project."

                              For now nearly says it all. Glancing over the article, it appears to
                              concentrate on motivating individuals to behave more as though each are
                              striving for a common goal the team has come together to reach. It can't
                              pin down what exactly it is saying about the effectiveness of remote
                              versus collocated teams.

                              > If you dig into the social psych world and CSCW research you'll see a
                              > bunch more.

                              Look, I don't really want to. I just want to cut code from home. I think
                              that the only people I'm putting off by making this statement are ones
                              that are blinkered by the perceived necessity of having to work in an
                              office - in whatever configuration that may ultimately take.

                              > I've yet to see _any_ research that claims remote teams are as
                              > effective as co-located ones.

                              I have yet to see it too, Adrian. I have yet to see it too.

                              > There's (at least) me, Alain, Ron on this list who all say they're
                              > personal experiences say that co-located teams are more effective. A
                              > whole bunch of other folk on the XP list would agree. A whole bunch
                              > of folk I've worked with over the years would also agree.

                              > So there's a whole bunch of anecdotal evidence and a moderate amount
                              > of what you could class as scientific evidence.

                              Oh look, I disagree. There is evidence and opinion supporting
                              collocation for some functions, and remote work for others, but nothing
                              conclusive to support either of our positions. I hope the Agile
                              community might not decry the natural advantages of collocation as much
                              as it has become apparent to me.

                              >
                              > > I don't think anything so far
                              > > stated in this group to lambaste remote work is based on distilled
                              > > facts. I don't think that remote teaming is in such contradiction
                              > > to the
                              > > Agile philosophy than the messages that I receive from the
                              community,
                              > > including this message group, might indicate.
                              > >
                              > > Personally, I think Agile would do better to think of collocation
                              and
                              > > remote collaboration as a tools which have the following
                              relationship:
                              > > collocate where necessary, but rely on remote collaboration where
                              > > possible.
                              > >
                              > > In terms of cost reduction alone, it makes for a common sense
                              > > position.
                              > [snip]
                              >
                              > Only if it actually is a cost reduction. It isn't in my experience,
                              > what you gain in saved office space, you more than lose in
                              productivity.

                              Again, I disagree.

                              > Sure I'll work on teams with distributed folk. I work at home
                              > occasionally myself. But it's the exception, not the rule.

                              I would hope to happily engaged in projects in a way such that I could
                              work from home.

                              >
                              > Cheers,
                              >
                              > Adrian
                              >

                              Regards,

                              Owen.
                            • Ron Jeffries
                              ... Please explain clearly how it could be better for the customer to have you, a long way away, and someone just as good as you, right there. Ron Jeffries
                              Message 14 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                Hello, Owen. On Tuesday, June 5, 2007, at 7:35:51 AM, you wrote:

                                > Fair enough. I'm saying that this would be different for me. At least,
                                > in as much as the thought of being involved in collocated teams (whether
                                > they be agile or not), I can see something better for me, and something
                                > that could mean good things for the customer too.

                                Please explain clearly how it could be better for the customer to
                                have you, a long way away, and someone just as good as you, right
                                there.

                                Ron Jeffries
                                www.XProgramming.com
                                That's my opinion and I agree with it. -- Julio Santos
                              • Ron Jeffries
                                ... Sorry. Meant rather than , not and . Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com Steering is more important than speed, in driving and in software development.
                                Message 15 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                  Hello, Ron. On Tuesday, June 5, 2007, at 7:59:26 AM, you wrote:

                                  > Please explain clearly how it could be better for the customer to
                                  > have you, a long way away, and someone just as good as you, right
                                  > there.

                                  Sorry. Meant "rather than", not "and".

                                  Ron Jeffries
                                  www.XProgramming.com
                                  Steering is more important than speed,
                                  in driving and in software development.
                                • Owen Thomas
                                  Hello Ron. ... least, ... (whether ... something ... right ... I probably can t. I don t have enough experience at managing personalities. I have already
                                  Message 16 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                    Hello Ron.

                                    --- In agile-usability@yahoogroups.com, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>
                                    wrote:
                                    > > Fair enough. I'm saying that this would be different for me. At
                                    least,
                                    > > in as much as the thought of being involved in collocated teams
                                    (whether
                                    > > they be agile or not), I can see something better for me, and
                                    something
                                    > > that could mean good things for the customer too.
                                    >
                                    > Please explain clearly how it could be better for the customer to
                                    > have you, a long way away, [rather than] someone just as good as you,
                                    right
                                    > there.

                                    I probably can't. I don't have enough experience at managing
                                    personalities. I have already outlined three areas where I think there
                                    might be a logical benefit in terms of cost reduction, access to a
                                    larger pool of resources, and ease of reconfigurability, but these are
                                    just assertions. You know they are not backed up with the 'experience'
                                    that you have.

                                    I don't follow Rugby Union: where the term Scrum comes from. However,
                                    Allan Jones coached the Australian Rugby team. He isn't a role model of
                                    mine. In fact in all ways but one possibly, it appears that he is my
                                    antithesis. He lead Australia to successive Bledisloe Cup, Tri Nations,
                                    and World Cup victories. Read an unauthorised biography put together
                                    about him recently.

                                    He had a saying that went something like this: "Play the ball, not the
                                    man". I'm not sure that trying to discredit me will win your argument in
                                    the long-run...

                                    I'm feeling a bit threatened by your persistent questioning, please
                                    forgive me if I have misread the situation.

                                    Owen.
                                  • Ron Jeffries
                                    ... My point is that you, the remote guy, have to be somehow better than a local guy. If someone you want to work for can find someone who is just as good
                                    Message 17 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                      Hello, Owen. On Tuesday, June 5, 2007, at 8:43:28 AM, you wrote:

                                      >> Please explain clearly how it could be better for the customer to
                                      >> have you, a long way away, [rather than] someone just as good as
                                      >> you, right there.

                                      > I probably can't. I don't have enough experience at managing
                                      > personalities. I have already outlined three areas where I think
                                      > there might be a logical benefit in terms of cost reduction,
                                      > access to a larger pool of resources, and ease of
                                      > reconfigurability, but these are just assertions. You know they
                                      > are not backed up with the 'experience' that you have.

                                      My point is that you, the remote guy, have to be somehow "better"
                                      than a local guy. If someone you want to work for can find someone
                                      who is "just as good" as you are, and who wants to be present, it
                                      seems that such an individual will inherently be more "desirable" to
                                      someone who is recruiting.

                                      If that is true, and I believe it is, it should get you thinking in
                                      a different direction. You appear now to be thinking "Hey, it's just
                                      as good to be remote," despite the fact that the entire universe
                                      seems to be aligned against you on the other side of that line.

                                      Instead, it would seem to me to stop railing against (what I and
                                      many others perceive to be) reality, and instead start figuring out
                                      ways to offer things which will not likely be available locally.
                                      That might be some specialized skills, or just generally high power
                                      of some kind: I don't know.

                                      It would be a very tough sale for me. I would frankly prefer someone
                                      "rather good and local" over someone "very good and far away",
                                      because I've worked both ways and value the interactions that
                                      highly. Others might not find it quite such a tough sale, but I'm
                                      suggesting to you that it will be a sale.

                                      You are taking something off the table in the negotiation: easy face
                                      to face access. To make your sale, I think you'll need to put
                                      something back on the table that your customer will value at least
                                      that highly.

                                      > I don't follow Rugby Union: where the term Scrum comes from. However,
                                      > Allan Jones coached the Australian Rugby team. He isn't a role model of
                                      > mine. In fact in all ways but one possibly, it appears that he is my
                                      > antithesis. He lead Australia to successive Bledisloe Cup, Tri Nations,
                                      > and World Cup victories. Read an unauthorised biography put together
                                      > about him recently.

                                      > He had a saying that went something like this: "Play the ball, not the
                                      > man". I'm not sure that trying to discredit me will win your argument in
                                      > the long-run...

                                      I'm not trying to discredit you. I'm trying to help you to observe
                                      what you are saying and to begin to find ways to get what you want.

                                      > I'm feeling a bit threatened by your persistent questioning, please
                                      > forgive me if I have misread the situation.

                                      That pain you feel might be an indication that you're holding your
                                      head in the wrong position ...

                                      Ron Jeffries
                                      www.XProgramming.com
                                      I cannot find my duck.
                                    • White, Jeff
                                      To the list: it really seems ironic, this being an agile UCD list, that this discussion has been neither agile nor user centered. I ve completed a ton of
                                      Message 18 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                        To the list: it really seems ironic, this being an agile UCD list, that this discussion has been neither ‘agile’ nor user centered. I’ve completed a ton of work during the time that Owen and Ron have spent bickering back and forth, and frankly I come into work every morning wishing that a different topic from this list will be in my inbox. If any agile team, whether collocated or remote, spent this much time trying to come to a conclusion, they would be dead in the water.

                                         

                                        The discussion has gone on for weeks, as Jeff Patton commented. Can we either draw some conclusions quickly or just move on? PLEASE?! Perhaps Owen and Ron could have a virtual arm wrestling match to settle their differences. Or, would that be easier in person?

                                         

                                        J

                                         

                                        Jeff

                                      • Desilets, Alain
                                        Hi guys, As much as I have enjoyed this thread, I think it may be time to bring it to a close. Lots of really good points and views have been expressed and
                                        Message 19 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                          Hi guys,

                                          As much as I have enjoyed this thread, I think it may be time to bring
                                          it to a close.

                                          Lots of really good points and views have been expressed and shared (on
                                          both sides of the issue) and I don't think anyone is going to be able to
                                          convince anyone else by pounding on the same arguments over and over
                                          again (btw: I love that "Sam is not a good change agent" bit ;-)).

                                          Maybe we should just leave it at that, take in what we have heard and
                                          let it simmer for a while.

                                          Alain

                                          > -----Original Message-----
                                          > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                          > [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Ron Jeffries
                                          > Sent: June 5, 2007 9:43 AM
                                          > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                          > Subject: Re: [agile-usability] Re: versus collocated teams
                                          >
                                          > Hello, Owen. On Tuesday, June 5, 2007, at 8:43:28 AM, you wrote:
                                          >
                                          > >> Please explain clearly how it could be better for the customer to
                                          > >> have you, a long way away, [rather than] someone just as
                                          > good as you,
                                          > >> right there.
                                          >
                                          > > I probably can't. I don't have enough experience at managing
                                          > > personalities. I have already outlined three areas where I
                                          > think there
                                          > > might be a logical benefit in terms of cost reduction, access to a
                                          > > larger pool of resources, and ease of reconfigurability,
                                          > but these are
                                          > > just assertions. You know they are not backed up with the
                                          > 'experience'
                                          > > that you have.
                                          >
                                          > My point is that you, the remote guy, have to be somehow "better"
                                          > than a local guy. If someone you want to work for can find
                                          > someone who is "just as good" as you are, and who wants to be
                                          > present, it seems that such an individual will inherently be
                                          > more "desirable" to someone who is recruiting.
                                          >
                                          > If that is true, and I believe it is, it should get you
                                          > thinking in a different direction. You appear now to be
                                          > thinking "Hey, it's just as good to be remote," despite the
                                          > fact that the entire universe seems to be aligned against you
                                          > on the other side of that line.
                                          >
                                          > Instead, it would seem to me to stop railing against (what I
                                          > and many others perceive to be) reality, and instead start
                                          > figuring out ways to offer things which will not likely be
                                          > available locally.
                                          > That might be some specialized skills, or just generally high
                                          > power of some kind: I don't know.
                                          >
                                          > It would be a very tough sale for me. I would frankly prefer
                                          > someone "rather good and local" over someone "very good and
                                          > far away", because I've worked both ways and value the
                                          > interactions that highly. Others might not find it quite such
                                          > a tough sale, but I'm suggesting to you that it will be a sale.
                                          >
                                          > You are taking something off the table in the negotiation:
                                          > easy face to face access. To make your sale, I think you'll
                                          > need to put something back on the table that your customer
                                          > will value at least that highly.
                                          >
                                          > > I don't follow Rugby Union: where the term Scrum comes
                                          > from. However,
                                          > > Allan Jones coached the Australian Rugby team. He isn't a
                                          > role model
                                          > > of mine. In fact in all ways but one possibly, it appears
                                          > that he is
                                          > > my antithesis. He lead Australia to successive Bledisloe Cup, Tri
                                          > > Nations, and World Cup victories. Read an unauthorised
                                          > biography put
                                          > > together about him recently.
                                          >
                                          > > He had a saying that went something like this: "Play the
                                          > ball, not the
                                          > > man". I'm not sure that trying to discredit me will win
                                          > your argument
                                          > > in the long-run...
                                          >
                                          > I'm not trying to discredit you. I'm trying to help you to
                                          > observe what you are saying and to begin to find ways to get
                                          > what you want.
                                          >
                                          > > I'm feeling a bit threatened by your persistent questioning, please
                                          > > forgive me if I have misread the situation.
                                          >
                                          > That pain you feel might be an indication that you're holding
                                          > your head in the wrong position ...
                                          >
                                          > Ron Jeffries
                                          > www.XProgramming.com
                                          > I cannot find my duck.
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                          >
                                        • Buck Calabro
                                          ... prove or ... -snip- ... I m new to Agile too. Almost 30 years of mainframe, green screen, top down, waterfall, big database (multi-million row tables are
                                          Message 20 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                            Owen said:


                                            > I didn't see anything to either
                                            prove or
                                            > falsify any assertion made by anyone here.
                                            -snip-
                                            > I want to see proof the suitability of
                                            > collocation and remote work.

                                            > Either in an absolute sense, a statement that
                                            > can be backed by evidence


                                            I'm new to Agile too. Almost 30 years of mainframe, green screen, top down, waterfall, big database (multi-million row tables are commonplace.) My understanding of Agile is that it is a philosophy, not a rigid process, and as such, human factors are important. I'm prone to this understanding because with all my years, I've learnt that people write software, processes do not. The 'issue' with people is that there is no such thing as 'proof' - what works for you may be anathema to me, and vice versa. I do not believe we (humanity) will find provable truth in any human endeavour, only probabilities. Informed opinions are a guide to those probabilities, and not an absolute assertion that This Is The Only Way to go about the work. Each person must find what works for him. I value the advice of those who have gone before me, at least as a starting point. Heck, they've already made the beginner mistakes - if I can avoid them, my learning curve is that much shorter.

                                            -snip-
                                            > I bet that coding would be a

                                            > good candidate for remote work.



                                            Bringing the discussion a bit more toward my own goal for being here, I don't think that the Agile philosophy holds 'coding' as a separate activity from designing, thinking, planning, reviewing and testing. In my mainframe life, it's very common to have separate silos: one division does architecture, another detailed design, another coding and so on. Agile wants to bring these together (I think!) In my personal situation, I'll be doing a lot more than coding but I have worked in a traditional shop where 'coding' was outsourced to remote programmers, so I have some experience with that, the relating of which is more suitable to a traditional-usability list <smile>.

                                            I personally am just steeped in the silo scenario and want to break out. I'm reading everything I can in the hopes that I'll find a process that won't keep me process-bound! What a dichotomy...

                                            Best regards,
                                            --buck
                                          • Jon Meads
                                            Owen, From the IRFU Rugby Union Laws, Law 20: The purpose of the scrum is to restart play quickly, safely and fairly, after a minor infringement or a
                                            Message 21 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                              Owen,
                                               
                                              From the IRFU Rugby Union Laws, Law 20:    The purpose of the scrum is to restart play quickly, safely and fairly, after a minor infringement or a stoppage.  A scrum is formed in the field-of-play when eight players from each team, bound together in three rows for each team, close up with their opponents so that the heads of the front rows are interlocked. This creates a tunnel into which a scrum-half throws in the ball so that front-row players can compete for possession by hooking the ball with either of their feet.
                                               
                                              More colloquially:  A scrum is a play in Rugby in which the two sets of forwards mass together around the ball and, with their heads down, struggle to gain possession of the ball.  It also refers to the mass/formation of players during such a play.
                                               
                                              From the IRFU Rugby Union Laws, Law 26:    It is illegal for any player  who is running for the ball to charge or push an opponent also running for the ball, except shoulder to shoulder.   Essentially, if you are not in possession of the ball, you cannot prevent a player from the opposite side from gaining possession of the ball except by shouldering him (or her) aside.
                                               
                                              Cheers,
                                              jon
                                              (still playing)
                                               


                                              From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Owen Thomas
                                              Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 5:43 AM
                                              To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                              Subject: [agile-usability] Re: versus collocated teams


                                              Hello Ron.

                                              --- In agile-usability@ yahoogroups. com, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@ ...>
                                              wrote:

                                              > > Fair enough.
                                              I'm saying that this would be different for me. At
                                              least,
                                              > > in as
                                              much as the thought of being involved in collocated teams
                                              (whether
                                              > > they be agile or not), I can see something better for me,
                                              and
                                              something
                                              > > that could mean good things for the customer
                                              too.
                                              >
                                              > Please explain clearly how it could be better for the
                                              customer to
                                              > have you, a long way away, [rather than] someone just as
                                              good as you,
                                              right
                                              > there.

                                              I probably can't. I don't have enough experience at managing
                                              personalities. I have already outlined three areas where I think there
                                              might be a logical benefit in terms of cost reduction, access to a
                                              larger pool of resources, and ease of reconfigurability, but these are
                                              just assertions. You know they are not backed up with the 'experience'
                                              that you have.

                                              I don't follow Rugby Union: where the term Scrum comes from. However,
                                              Allan Jones coached the Australian Rugby team. He isn't a role model of
                                              mine. In fact in all ways but one possibly, it appears that he is my
                                              antithesis. He lead Australia to successive Bledisloe Cup, Tri Nations,
                                              and World Cup victories. Read an unauthorised biography put together
                                              about him recently.

                                              He had a saying that went something like this: "Play the ball, not the
                                              man". I'm not sure that trying to discredit me will win your argument in
                                              the long-run...

                                              I'm feeling a bit threatened by your persistent questioning, please
                                              forgive me if I have misread the situation.

                                              Owen.

                                            • Mark Schraad
                                              Not so much silos - but specialtis that the colaborative group defers to. I would not want the coders determining the interaction any more than I would want
                                              Message 22 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                                Not so much silos - but specialtis that the colaborative group defers to. I would not want the coders determining the interaction any more than I would want designers specifying querries.

                                                >In my mainframe life, it's very common to have separate silos: one division does architecture, another detailed design, another coding and so on. Agile wants to bring these together (I think!)
                                              • chrs_mcmhn
                                                ... Two things: I m surprised no one has quoted Kent Beck, who routinely works remotely: http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeprogramming/message/119091
                                                Message 23 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                                  > Work at home appeals to me, definitely, but the bullpen seems to really
                                                  > work.
                                                  > Lisa Baker

                                                  Two things:

                                                  I'm surprised no one has quoted Kent Beck, who routinely works remotely:
                                                  http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeprogramming/message/119091
                                                  http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeprogramming/message/116451
                                                  http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeprogramming/message/112368

                                                  Second, most of this discussion makes an implicit assumption that
                                                  there is a main body of workers at a central location. That is not
                                                  necessarily the case.

                                                  A little over a month ago, I started work for a company called
                                                  Socialtext. Socialtext is a mature startup. We sell wikis. The
                                                  dev/QA/sales staff all work remotely, across the US, in Canada, and in
                                                  other countries. There is an office, but only about 20% of the
                                                  company uses it, mostly management.

                                                  We are extremely agile. We've adapted the XP/Scrum ideas along the
                                                  way to our particular situation, so we're a bit mutated, but still
                                                  agile.

                                                  Since we eat, drink, and breathe wikis, the company has a remarkably
                                                  rich culture. The whole history of the company exists on the wiki.
                                                  We also routinely use IRC, VNC, IM, email, and we have an asterisk
                                                  server, among other collaboration tools. We understand that
                                                  face-to-face communication is important, so the company allows anyone
                                                  to travel to meet anyone else when necessary. About half the company
                                                  convened recently in Vancouver for a "hackathon".

                                                  Much of our work is open. You can watch us if you like:
                                                  http://www.socialtext.net/open/index.cgi

                                                  One of underlying ideas of agile development is that it requires
                                                  substantial skill to achieve. We have an extremely talented,
                                                  literate, interested staff, who would probably succeed wherever they work.

                                                  I had a job where I was the only remote worker. That was not very
                                                  good. Now that I have a job where everyone is a remote worker, it
                                                  turns out to be remarkably effective.
                                                • Desilets, Alain
                                                  ... I think sitting together in one big room is better, all other things being equal. However, all other things are seldom equal. In my case, I want to live in
                                                  Message 24 of 24 , Jun 5, 2007
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                                                    Interesting. But he does conclude the first posting by saying that:

                                                    ---
                                                    I think sitting together in one big room is better, all other things
                                                    being
                                                    equal. However, all other things are seldom equal. In my case, I want to
                                                    live in paradise and no one else seems to want to (although, if you all
                                                    did,
                                                    it wouldn't be paradise any more). Working together remotely is much
                                                    better
                                                    than not working together at all.
                                                    ----

                                                    But interesting none the less.

                                                    Alain

                                                    > -----Original Message-----
                                                    > From: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                                    > [mailto:agile-usability@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of chrs_mcmhn
                                                    > Sent: June 5, 2007 12:40 PM
                                                    > To: agile-usability@yahoogroups.com
                                                    > Subject: [agile-usability] Re: versus collocated teams
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    > > Work at home appeals to me, definitely, but the bullpen seems to
                                                    > > really work.
                                                    > > Lisa Baker
                                                    >
                                                    > Two things:
                                                    >
                                                    > I'm surprised no one has quoted Kent Beck, who routinely
                                                    > works remotely:
                                                    > http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeprogramming/message/119091
                                                    > http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeprogramming/message/116451
                                                    > http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/group/extremeprogramming/message/112368
                                                    >
                                                    > Second, most of this discussion makes an implicit assumption
                                                    > that there is a main body of workers at a central location.
                                                    > That is not necessarily the case.
                                                    >
                                                    > A little over a month ago, I started work for a company
                                                    > called Socialtext. Socialtext is a mature startup. We sell
                                                    > wikis. The dev/QA/sales staff all work remotely, across the
                                                    > US, in Canada, and in other countries. There is an office,
                                                    > but only about 20% of the company uses it, mostly management.
                                                    >
                                                    > We are extremely agile. We've adapted the XP/Scrum ideas
                                                    > along the way to our particular situation, so we're a bit
                                                    > mutated, but still
                                                    > agile.
                                                    >
                                                    > Since we eat, drink, and breathe wikis, the company has a
                                                    > remarkably rich culture. The whole history of the company
                                                    > exists on the wiki.
                                                    > We also routinely use IRC, VNC, IM, email, and we have an
                                                    > asterisk server, among other collaboration tools. We
                                                    > understand that face-to-face communication is important, so
                                                    > the company allows anyone to travel to meet anyone else when
                                                    > necessary. About half the company
                                                    > convened recently in Vancouver for a "hackathon".
                                                    >
                                                    > Much of our work is open. You can watch us if you like:
                                                    > http://www.socialtext.net/open/index.cgi
                                                    >
                                                    > One of underlying ideas of agile development is that it
                                                    > requires substantial skill to achieve. We have an extremely
                                                    > talented, literate, interested staff, who would probably
                                                    > succeed wherever they work.
                                                    >
                                                    > I had a job where I was the only remote worker. That was not
                                                    > very good. Now that I have a job where everyone is a remote
                                                    > worker, it
                                                    > turns out to be remarkably effective.
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    > Yahoo! Groups Links
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    >
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