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Re: versus collocated teams

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  • 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 1 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 10 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 11 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 12 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 13 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 14 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 15 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 16 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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