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Re: [agile-usability] Re: Today's article on UseIt.com

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  • William Pietri
    ... I agree that for some circumstances, this is not an unreasonable tradeoff. Just as long as people are aware of what they re trading. It s very rare for me
    Message 1 of 76 , Jan 1, 2009
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      sepreece wrote:
      > Would the team work better if we were all in one place? Maybe, but we
      > wouldn't get the chance, because the people (who we value) want to
      > live where they are.

      I agree that for some circumstances, this is not an unreasonable
      tradeoff. Just as long as people are aware of what they're trading.

      It's very rare for me to meet somebody who a) has worked as part of a
      well-meshed, fully collocated team, b) is now on a dispersed team, and
      c) thinks dispersion is just as good. In fact, I can't even remember the
      last time it happened; had it come up recently, I would have asked to
      observe the team.

      Typically, when I ask people who meet a) and b) what productivity hit
      they believe they are experiencing, it's between 20% and 50%. People on
      the 20% end of things generally take aggressive steps to bridge the gap,
      like launching the project with 6 weeks of collocation, having personnel
      exchange programs, keeping the same time zone, and/or spending lots of
      time pairing virtually.

      Often people I talk to in large companies notice no difference, because
      they are in effect working in dispersed teams already, or have enough
      other communication barriers that the cost of dispersion is not
      significantly larger. This is similar to the way that many large
      companies report success with offshoring: they are already so
      document-driven and working on such long feedback cycles that using
      developers on another continent make things no worse.

      That's not to say I don't know any happy dispersed teams. They're all
      aware of the costs, but are working in sufficiently uncompetitive
      contexts that they can afford the costs.

      William

      P.S. As a matter of simple math, if a collocated team of 7 adds three
      people remotely and takes a 30% productivity hit, they are no better
      off. This sounds ridiculous, but I just recently visited a shop that
      closed down their offshore dev office because they were in exactly that
      situation. Why did they do it? Well, productivity is hard to measure,
      and the execs wanted it to work because it seemed cheaper. So everybody
      tried to make it work for quite a long time.
    • Desilets, Alain
      ... that ... one ... http://forums.construx.com/blogs/stevemcc/archive/2008/03/27/productivit y- ...
      Message 76 of 76 , Jan 9, 2009
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        > > There are other studies (I don't have the exact quote) that show
        that
        > > the difference between a top-notch developer and a run-of-the-mill
        one
        > > is a factor of 10 or so.
        >
        > The back up for that is here :-
        >
        http://forums.construx.com/blogs/stevemcc/archive/2008/03/27/productivit
        y-
        >
        variations-among-software-developers-and-teams-the-origin-of-quot-10x-qu
        ot.aspx

        Thx James. I always assumed that this was indeed supported by actual
        studies, but still had a small nagging doubt that it might be one of
        those urban legends that start with "studies show that ...." ;-). This
        is a good reference which eliminates that doubt.

        Alain
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