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Re: [XP] Collocation.

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  • Owen Thomas
    Hi Adam. If I m not mistaken, you were contributing to the discussion I was having elsewhere. Thanks for taking up the conversation here. I believe point 1 can
    Message 1 of 151 , Jan 1, 2009
      Hi Adam.

      If I'm not mistaken, you were contributing to the discussion I was
      having elsewhere. Thanks for taking up the conversation here.

      I believe point 1 can be overcome by a suitably configured VOIP system.
      Points 2 and 4 likewise have a solution. In fact, the idea that I have
      may provide a simultaneous solution to these three points. Message me
      privately if you want to know more.

      Point 3 is a question of the exercise of discipline, and so is not the
      exclusive preserve of the software development industry.

      As for psychological advantages, several that can be realised by working
      where you live are that you have more opportunity to interact with your
      family and friends, and greater choice as to the type of environment to
      dwell in. I think there are clear advantages to the environment itself.

      Owen.

      --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Adam Sroka" <adam.sroka@...>
      wrote:
      >
      > On Thu, Jan 1, 2009 at 5:53 PM, Owen Thomas owen.paul.thomas@...
      wrote:
      > > 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.
      > >
      > > As it appears that I have been hobbled on another group (maybe I was
      > > speaking off-topic, but I'd beg to differ if I thought it would make
      a
      > > difference to the outcome) it's probably more appropriate that this
      > > debate be had here.
      > >
      > > What are the opinions of this forum? Am I wrong? Can you convince
      me?
      > >
      >
      > If I weren't collocated with my team, I would miss the following
      things:
      >
      > 1) The ability to hear what others in the room were talking about
      > including relevant technical conversations, camaraderie, and idle
      > banter. I would only get to hear what they typed in the chat window,
      > which, even on a quiet day, is 10% or less of the available
      > information.
      >
      > 2) The ability to let others know what I am doing/thinking, without
      > having to specifically track them down. Plus, if I say something out
      > loud I can be pretty sure those around me heard it. If I type it in a
      > window it is easier to miss or ignore.
      >
      > 3) Focus. There is a comparative lack of non-work related distractions
      > and an element of peer pressure/accountability. For example: right now
      > Virginia Tech is playing Cincinnati on the TV; my guitar is sitting on
      > the other side of the room, and I have some stuff I would like to work
      > on; my roommate isn't here, but if he were there are a few things I
      > need to talk to him about...
      >
      > If I were at work, even if I had access to a TV, guitar, video games,
      > etc. I wouldn't partake because: a) my environment provides a
      > purposeful focus and b) I would worry about what others thought.
      >
      > 4) People outside my immediate team wouldn't know where I was and
      > would be less likely to come to me with questions, ideas, etc.
      >
      > That's just off the top of my head. I'm sure there are other things I
      > would miss.
      >
      > Not to mention, there is just a psychological advantage to being in a
      > situation where I have to interact with people throughout the course
      > of the day. When I spend the day alone, even if I am writing emails
      > and sending IMs, I just don't feel as good as I do when there are
      > other people around. There is something about frequent social
      > interaction that just makes me feel better and stronger as a person.
      >
    • 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
        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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