Archive for July, 2010

  • Photo Day!

    Photo Day!

    Jul 28, 10 • In Practices

    Office workers keep photos of their families on their desks, to remind them of their children and significant other while they are away from home. I work from home. So what do I keep on my desk? A “group” photo of my dispersed team. Here’s how I made sure every team member has a photograph of the team, no matter where they live. The Need for Team Visibility At least one study has shown that simply seeing a coworker every day can significantly improve the impression team members have of that person. Frequent video conferencing is one way distributed teams overcome the lack of “face time”. Another method is to make use of photos. I’ve heard of one team that places photos of the remote attendees near the speakerphone whenever they have a conference call

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  • Wide Teams Podcast Episode 7: BohConf Roundtable Part 2

    Wide Teams Podcast Episode 7: BohConf Roundtable Part 2

    Jul 26, 10 • In Podcast

    This episode features the conclusion of a roundtable about dispersed teams held at BohConf, an unconference held within RailsConf 2010. In this part, the participants talk about video conferencing, balancing team collaboration time with solo work, optimizing virtual meetings, meeting deadlines, finding talent for their teams, and much more

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  • Wide Links #6

    Wide Links #6

    Jul 23, 10 • In Links

    Links about dispersed teams, from around the web. In this edition: coworking from home; evaluating Google Wave; questions to ask a potential remote employer; planning a virtual meeting; and more

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  • Screencast: Flowdock Test Drive

    Screencast: Flowdock Test Drive

    Jul 22, 10 • In Toolkit

    Flowdock is a web-based hosted text chat application, along same lines as Campfire or Talker. Flowdock has some unique features which set it apart from those tools, which I demonstrate in this video

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  • Wide Teams Podcast #6: BohConf Roundtable Part 1

    Wide Teams Podcast #6: BohConf Roundtable Part 1

    Jul 19, 10 • In Podcast

    Today on the podcast, a recording of a roundtable discussion held at the BohConf unconference inside of RailsConf 2010. Topcs covered include teleconferencing practices, why instant messaging can be an antipattern, and different strategies for estimating work

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  • Wide Links #5

    Wide Links #5

    Jul 16, 10 • In Links

    In this edition: the US House approves a bill mandating more telework in government agencies; how to hire a remote worker; tools for distributed software teams; making the most of your coworking space, and more! Work Shifting – Lessons Learned From Workshifting tags: wideteams Hiring Remote Workers: 5 Red Flags To Never Ignore | oDesk.com – Annotated tags: hiring remote wideteams People are usually on their best behavior when trying to land a job, so what you observe in the interview phase of the relationship with your freelancer is probably as good as it gets. If a candidate seems difficult to reach, it’s probably because she is.   Use Your Web Advantage to Survive Busy Periods – Annotated tags: wideteams Giving colleagues access to your electronic calendar can also reduce the number of meeting invitations and task

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  • The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide, Part 4: Virtual Presence

    The Wide Teams Bootstrap Guide, Part 4: Virtual Presence

    Jul 14, 10 • In Basics

    You have your mail hub, your video/audio chat solution, and your text chat service set up. What other communications tools does your distributed team need? To augment Campfire or IRC, I recommend setting up a team status/presence tool.  The two most popular tools occupying this space are Presently and Yammer. With the exception of some downtime issues, I’ve had good luck with Present.ly in several organizations. In a nutshell, these apps are like Twitter for private groups.They enable team members to post short messages about their status, what they are thinking about, or problems they are experiencing. You may be wondering: is such an app really necessary when you already have a chat application?  Don’t they overlap? It’s true, either a chat room or a presence app can be used to simulate the other.  But ideally, they handle two

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  • Wide Teams Podcast Episode 5: Interviews with Hashrocket and Rhomobile

    Wide Teams Podcast Episode 5: Interviews with Hashrocket and Rhomobile

    Jul 12, 10 • In Interviews, Podcast

    Two interviews in this episode. I talk to Jim Remsick and Paul Elliot of Hashrocket about why Hashrocket chooses to avoid remote work. And then, I talk to Brian Moore of Rhomobile about their globally dispersed team

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  • Wide Links #4

    Wide Links #4

    Jul 9, 10 • In Links

    Notes on dispersed teams, from around the web. Today: Inc. magazine goes remote; studies show “vritual” teams can match or outperform collocated ones; and the latest in bathrobe fashion. The Federal Coach: Rethinking the workplace in the 21st century – Tom Fox – Annotated tags: wideteams Yet, with the ever-increasing demands on government, leaders must learn to adapt to the new century and start rethinking when, how and where work is done. The bottom line is simple: it’s not where you are, but what gets accomplished that counts.   Telecommuting’s Win-Win-Win-Win..Etc. | Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit – Annotated tags: wideteams As a new white paper (PDF) from the Telework Research Network (TRN) reports, workshifting is good for People: 70 percent of workers would like to be able to work from home at least some

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  • Wide Teams are Stagnant Teams

    Wide Teams are Stagnant Teams

    Jul 8, 10 • In Experiences, Opinion

    Distributed sucks.  Human interaction is far better than virtual, all the more so for teams of any significant size.  I have worked with successful distributed and local teams.  The local teams were far superior in their ability to improve.  I much prefer the lifestyle afforded by distributed teams.  But that lifestyle comes at a significant cost that today’s tools cannot even begin to mitigate.   Editors note: Wide Teams is about more than just advocacy for dispersed teams. One of the reasons this site exists is to foster a robust conversation about all aspects of remote work – including the very real challenges involved. In order to get a critical perspective on distributed work, I asked my friend, former coworker, and fellow blogger Chris Strom to write this guest article. As someone who has managed

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