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RE: [XP] Collocation.

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  • Charlie Poole
    Hi Owen, ... That s a surprising statement, given the number of companies I know of with distributed teams. But I ll take it that you mean among advocates of
    Message 1 of 151 , Jan 1, 2009
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      Hi Owen,

      > For those who don't know me (my name is quite common and
      > there may be others, better known than myself, who answer to
      > the same name - speak to my parents if you wish to complain)
      > I affirmatively believe in Virtual Collocation. I am of the
      > opinion that working remotely is fair, practical, and
      > eminently doable in agile development. The only thing it
      > lacks is a critical mass of favourable opinion.

      That's a surprising statement, given the number of companies
      I know of with distributed teams. But I'll take it that you
      mean "among advocates of exteme programming." :-)

      It's clear that we have to deal with distribution, since it
      is so widely practiced, but I don't think it's simply a
      matter of "critical mass of favourable opininion." Rather,
      I'd suggest that we simply don't yet know how to do it well.

      I've worked with collocated and distributed teams and it's
      clear to me that the collocated groups, on average, did a
      better job of communication and working together. If you
      have specific techniques to overcome the handicaps that
      come from working in a distributed environment, I for
      one would be very glad to learn about them. I'm hoping
      they won't all be technical solutions though. :-(

      Charlie
    • Adrian Howard
      On 5 Jan 2009, at 09:45, Adam Sroka wrote: [snip] ... [snip] Just to comment on the terms... and with the disclaimer that I ve not been keeping close track of
      Message 151 of 151 , Jan 9, 2009
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        On 5 Jan 2009, at 09:45, Adam Sroka wrote:
        [snip]
        > BTW, "Collaborative Work" is a much *much* more useful term that
        > "Virtual Collocation". Collaborate denotes people doing things
        > together. Collocate denotes placing things together as in
        > side-by-side. Thus "Virtual Collocation" is not useful, except insofar
        > as it makes it sound like you've come up with something new. Which you
        > *still* haven't demonstrated.
        [snip]

        Just to comment on the terms... and with the disclaimer that I've not
        been keeping close track of CSCW terms/research since the nineties, so
        things may be different now :-)

        Collaborative Work is the more general term. Virtual Collocation is,
        as I understand it, the more specific term used in the field when folk
        are talking about technologies and techniques that aim to reproduce
        (to a greater or lesser extent) the sense of "being in the same place"
        - verses others methods of supporting collaborative work.

        The "radical collocation" term is used in the CSCW world to refer to
        environments like XP's prototypical team room - a collocated space
        with everybody working on the same project. As opposed to other co-
        located environments (e.g. a cube farm).

        There was a workshop at CWCW 2008 looking at some of this stuff last
        year if folk are interested. Don't know if the results are written up
        anywhere.

        http://docs.google.com/View?docid=dhncd3jd_343cmcr7mcm

        There are some great references in there for the _next_ time this
        discussion starts up :-)

        I'll pick one paragraph from the workshop description:

        "It doesn't take much distance before a team feels the negative
        effects of distribution - the effectiveness of collaboration degrades
        rapidly with physical distance. People located closer in a building
        are more likely to collaborate (Kraut, Egido & Galegher 1990). Even at
        short distances, 3 feet vs. 20 feet, there is an effect (Sensenig &
        Reed 1972). A distance of 100 feet may be no better than several miles
        (Allen 1977). A field study of radically collocated software
        development teams, i.e. where the teammates share a large open-plan
        room, showed significantly higher productivity and satisfaction than
        industry benchmarks and past projects within the firm (Teasley et al.,
        2002). Another field study compared interruptions in paired,
        radically-collocated and traditional, cube-dwelling software
        development teams, and found that in the former interruptions were
        greater in number but shorter in duration and more on-task (Chong and
        Siino 2006). Close proximity improves productivity in all cases."

        Cheers,

        Adrian
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