Face to Face Design Sessions

IBM is moving more and more to the remote employee and virtual team model. Technology allows us to do just about anything from the luxury of our homes. I work with many people who work out of their home and the entire concept is becoming more popular and more acceptable. Any time I find out someone works from their house I immediately ask how they feel about it and if it is working out. The consensus seems to be that you get a lot more work done and you actually have to balance work and life even more because work can take over completely. I found this out in the beginning and every now and then see the same things happening again. Since there is no commute and I rarely leave my office for lunch I immediately get 1-2 hours of more work time a day.

Ok, given that everything seems to benefit both IBM and myself there is one element I feel can never be replaced; that is the element of face-to-face design sessions. You can present over the phone, you can have 95% of your meetings over the phone but when you really need to get ideas across and “brain-storm” you really need that face-to-face meeting. I write a lot of code, a lot of specs and attend a lot of meetings but it seems the white-board design sessions are worth their weight in gold. I just did a 1.5 day session in Austin this past week and we not only got through all of the design but we had time left over to dive on some great details. I was also able to meet with the quality engineering manager to discuss what was designed over the previous day (so we not only have a design but QE is getting prepared to test). If you think about the 4-5 teams involved in the meeting and the complexity of the feature (that spanned both client, server, administration, and several protocols) it is a pretty powerful event to get everyone on the same page in a day.

Check out this interesting site called YouCanWorkFromAnywhere.com. It has some great tips an articles on working from anyplace. Of course it mentions M$ Netmeeting but we all know Sametime rules!

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