Podcast #36: Ben Johnson of Merrill Corporation

Podcast #36: Ben Johnson of Merrill Corporation

Jun 13, 12 • In Featured, Interviews, Podcast

In this episode, Ben Johnson of Merrill Corporation talks about evolving into remote work, why working in an office is bad for focus and productivity, and why putting your face out on the Internet is a good thing.

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Show Notes:

Twitter: @deafgreatdane
Merrill Corporation
Merrill DataSite
Pragmatic Geek

01:10 – Ben’s introductory and background

  • Software architect who leads teams in software development efforts in Minnesota
  • Internal style development

01:37 – Merrill Corporation

  • Printing company that has evolved into a communications service company
  • Focused on legal services and financial world (printing and distributing documents)

02:20 – Evolving into remote work

  • Company wanted to have Ben work remotely rather than not at all

03:12 – Tools

  • Instant messaging
  • Conference calling
  • Wikis & Issue trackers
  • Email

05:19 – Day to day operation

  • Formal SCRUM to 15-20 minute daily standups
  • Reach out to others as needed

07:11 – Advantages of working remotely

  • Ability to focus
  • A lot of other venues for knowledge sharing rather than interoffice face to face communication
  • Introverts vs extroverts

10:41 – Remaining in touch with your team

  • Trust
  • Frequent check-ins
  • Team leads

12:45 – Helpful management techniques

  • Code reviews
  • XP techniques
  • Continual communication

13:53 – Standardized tools are important

16:45 – Advice for others working remotely

  • More use of real faces on avatars
  • Starting off with face to face meetings is important

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