Archive for May, 2012

2012-05-28

Collaboration At a Distance

Getting teams to function well when they are not co-located isn’t easy. Some teams figure out what works for them and, in my experience, most don’t do it well. When discussing this with others, there is always agreement that teams can be highly productive when distributed geographically and no one has ever given an example of how to get a team there. That was until I read an article by Johanna Rothman. Johanna posted the article on InfoQ which gives a step by step process that worked for a team as described to her by one of the team members.

Not only does the team make collaboration work across geographical locations but also across four and a half time zones. This is impressive.  For the teams I work with, we only have to contend with North American east coast versus west coast time zone. We do have teams in India however they are co-located and only need to collaborate with the North American Product Owner.

Not all steps will work for all teams however what is described should provide a distributed team some ideas of things to try. There will also be organizational challenges. For example, we use Scrum as our development methodology and the teams would have to work with their managers to ensure that expectations are met if they were to start using kanban. I would hope that this wouldn’t be too big a stumbling point as ultimately we just want quality software delivered at regular intervals.

I would love to hear thoughts from others on this topic, particularly any practices that work for your teams that aren’t in Johanna’s article.

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2012-05-01

Sometimes you have to blog

Ed Yourdon's PhotostreamAs I mentioned in my post “New set of Posts“, I use this blog to share articles and blogs I have read that I think my colleagues and others should read. In that same vein, I would like to welcome my colleague Jarett to the world of blogging.

Jarett has started what is most likely going to be a very technical blog call “Silent Excellence“. Jarett leads a group within Sage that promotes the use of Sage Data, or SData, for product integration’s. Colleagues and partners are asking him for all sorts of information and sending out emails and resending emails quickly becomes tedious. To make everyone’s life easier, Jarett is blogging his answers for all to read. Due to the fact that partners as well as colleagues benefit from his information a blog was a good choice.

In the not so distant past, we would be sharing this via a mailing list and the blog is a much better format. The writer can create a much richer experience for the reader and the reader chooses when to consume the information. A win-win.

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