Archive for October, 2010

  • Wide Links #13: Delivery, Definitions, Data

    Wide Links #13: Delivery, Definitions, Data

    Oct 29, 10 • In Links

    Distributed insights for distributed teams. The week’s best posts about dispersed teams and remote work, from around the web. In this edition: seminars from successful distributed team leaders, an article that makes a thought-provoking distinction between being on a dispersed team and being a remote worker, some tips on convincing a manager to let you go remote, and much more. Holla, An Open-source Group Chat App – Annotated tags: wideteams Holla is a simple group chat application that Developer Alex MacCraw describes as being a little like an open-source version of Campfire, 37Signals’ collaboration tool. Holla doesn’t have all of the advanced features that Campfire has, like built-in conference calling. However, it does support file sharing, and it’s free and runs on your own server, so you get to retain a degree of control that

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  • Retrospectives for Dispersed Teams

    Retrospectives for Dispersed Teams

    Oct 28, 10 • In Practices

    Many agile teams practice regular retrospectives – meetings where they evaluate review recent progress, events, and challenges, gauge the team’s mood, and propose changes to the way they work. For distributed teams, the retrospective is especially important. Here are some tips for holding a retrospective with a remote team. In any team it’s a good idea to take some time regularly to look back, discuss what went well and what went not so well, and make adjustments. In Agile software development this meeting is known as a Retrospective. Esther Derby and Diana Larsen describe a Retrospective like this: A special meeting where the team gathers after completing an increment of work to inspect and adapt their methods and teamwork. For dispersed teams, retrospectives are essential. Because dispersed teams are so dependant on effective practices and

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  • Avoid meeting hiccups with a dress rehearsal

    Avoid meeting hiccups with a dress rehearsal

    Oct 26, 10 • In Practices

    Coordinating a large remote meeting can seem like putting on a major stage production. Make sure your meetings go off without a hitch by practicing first. Picture this: it’s time for the very first whole-company monthly meeting since adding remote team members to the team. The presentation slides are all ready, everyone is at their desk, the clock is ticking – and half the company can’t connect to the videoconferencing server. You start a frantic troubleshooting session. People are tapping their fingers. Your manager starts wondering if building a dispersed team was such a great idea. This scenario is all too common in distributed teams. The fact is, remote workers are dependent on technology in order to make collaboration possible, and that technology doesn’t always perform as expected – often going down at the worst

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  • Wide Teams Podcast #17: Ruby DCamp 2010 Part 2

    Wide Teams Podcast #17: Ruby DCamp 2010 Part 2

    Oct 25, 10 • In Interviews, Podcast

    Part 2 of a three-part series. This is a recording of a round-table discussion on distributed software teams held at the Ruby DCamp 2010 unconference in northern Virginia

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  • Wide Links #12: Agility, Attitude, Independence

    Wide Links #12: Agility, Attitude, Independence

    Oct 22, 10 • In Links

    A sampling of the week’s best articles about distributed teams and remote work, from around the web. This week, notes on distributed agile software development; an article that says changing mindset is a bigger barrier to remote work than adopting new tools; a post about how working remotely helps workers become more independent and self-directed; and much, much more. Distributed Agile: Cultural Differences/Expectation disconnect – Annotated Some notes on distributed software teams from a ThoughtWorks developer working in India. tags: wideteams As I mentioned in my first post about distributed agile a couple of months ago I’ve found that it’s much easier to build the wrong thing when working in a different time zone to the product owner but I wouldn’t say the ability to write maintainable code is much different.   6 rules for

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  • Wide Teams Podcast Episode 16: Ruby DCamp 2010 Part 1

    Wide Teams Podcast Episode 16: Ruby DCamp 2010 Part 1

    Oct 19, 10 • In Interviews, Podcast

    This episode is part 1 in a three-part series capturing a roundtable discussion of dispersed team issues held at the Ruby DCamp 2010 unconference in northern Virginia

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  • The Endless Break

    The Endless Break

    Oct 18, 10 • In Practices

    Everyone needs to take a break from time to time, especially if you’ve been collaborating closely for an hour or more. But when working together remotely, breaks have a way of stretching out longer than intended. Here’s one simple rule for avoiding the Endless Break. It’s a common enough scenario: you work together with a coworker for an hour or so, and then you hit a stopping point and decide to take a 5-minute breather. Both of you go for a walk, maybe grab some water, and then head back to the desk and sit down again to get some more work done. When collaborating remotely, it doesn’t always work out like that. You get back to your desk, and check your teammate’s IM status. It doesn’t say “away”, but she hasn’t posted anything on

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  • Wide Links #11: Trust, Balance, Camping

    Wide Links #11: Trust, Balance, Camping

    Oct 15, 10 • In Links

    For your reading enjoyment, a fresh batch of links from around the web! In this installment: building trust on distributed teams, maintaining balance at home when home IS work, and working remotely while camping across Europe. Trust Matters – Annotated An article about building trust in distributed teams. tags: wideteams When someone starts a call with: “So, how was everyone’s weekend?” really share something: “We had so much fun; my 5 year old daughter is playing T-ball and the girls were hilarious whacking at the ball and running around the bases.” We trust those who are willing to take the small risk of revealing something about themselves; encourage it, especially by role-modeling it.   The Future of Web Working: Management – Annotated A quick guide to getting started managing a virtual team. tags: wideteams How do people

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  • Wide Teams Podcast Episode 15: Intridea

    Wide Teams Podcast Episode 15: Intridea

    Oct 11, 10 • In Interviews, Podcast

    Intridea is one of the largest fully dispersed software companies that I’m aware of, and they are still growing fast. I’ve talked to them before – back in episode 9, I spoke with Michael Bleigh. When I visited the Ruby Hoedown in Nashville a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to talk to a whole passel of Intrideans. We talked about why Intridea chose to build a distributed team, how they manage software teams that are spread across the world, and the tools they have used and built to facilitate communication

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  • Wide Links #10: Left coast edition

    Wide Links #10: Left coast edition

    Oct 8, 10 • In Links

    I’m in LA this week, meeting up with one of my dispersed software teams in person for the first time. As a result I don’t have a lot of time to write, but here’s a fresh hot selection of links from the world of distributed teams. Enjoy! Remote Pairing with Vim and TMux – Annotated A wonderfully detailed set of notes on one possible remote pair-programming solution. tags: wideteams development vim tmux Collaborative Editing: the fundament of pairing, both people need to be able to type into the same editor. Access to the Local Server: it’s pretty hard to develop an app you can’t see. Ease of Communication: we need to be able to hear each other, preferably seeing each other as well (there’s a lot of nonverbal communication when pairing). Light Weight: the internet

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