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GSD everywhere

March 4, 2010 1 comment

On Feb. 16 I participated on a panel session on Practical Software Development at a meeting of the Eastern NC chapter of the IEEE Computer Society. The plan was that co-panelists (Andy Hunt and Bob Galen) and I would give 10-minute Point Of View talks, then moderator John Baker would open it up for audience questions. My POV? I thought carefully about what I’ve observed in companies of various sizes and styles, across different industries, and organized my thoughts into slides. This exercise made it crystal clear to me that I’ve witnessed and experienced way too many success and failure factors to fit into 10 minutes … which should I choose as my main point of view?

In the end I chose to focus my one major topic not on technological issues, but on people issues. I believe that:

  • Teams and people matter (most),
  • Good communications are critical,
  • And collaboration effectiveness can almost always be improved by considering the relevance of the key aspects of globally distributed software development, or GSD (culture, language, physical distance, and temporal or time-zone distance) – even if your team, stakeholders, and customers aren’t globally distributed.

During the panel session, a show of hands with the audience supported this last assertion: of the 20+ people in attendance, only two were working in situations unaffected by GSD factors – and one was currently between jobs.

Although I didn’t actually use the slides I had prepared (a great example of planning being invaluable even if the actual documented plan is useless), I’ve posted them in the Agile Teams publications area for reference. A detailed writeup of the panelists’ points of view and the Q&A session is available in Agile Teams blog post “Practical Software Development” (now with photos). Comments welcome!

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