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Remote Mob Programming: Lessons from This Week

A lot of people are doing remote Mob Programming sessions now that most of us are working from home. I participated in a few and hosted one in the past week. It’s been a good learning experience. I feel as if we (as an industry or community) are rapidly learning how to make this approach work for regular work, virus or no virus.
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Effective Distributed Collaborative Work

Everyone’s talking about remote or distributed work these days. Here’s another opinion, for what it’s worth.

Steve Glaveski describes Matt Mullenweg’s concept of five levels of distributed work in a March 29 article on Medium. You can read it for yourself. In fact, you should do so, as I’m not going to summarize it. The rest of this article assumes you’re familiar with it.

Just now I’d like to make an observation about Level 4, Asynchronous Communication, and the implications for software development teams in particular.

On the path from dealing with distributed work in an ad hoc way (Level 1, Non-Deliberate Action) toward the goal state (Level 5, Nirvana), “where your distributed team works better than any in-person team ever could,” the ability for individuals to work effectively without constantly interrupting each other is consistently equated with “better.” As people build skills in doing this, and the organizational culture adapts to it, performance improves.

That’s probably true for many kinds of office work, but not for all kinds.
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Does remote work work?

First, here’s the short version for those poor souls suffering from tl;dr (too lazy, don’t read much) syndrome, that peculiar malaise that characterizes our times:

Can working from home be effective
compared with collocated teams?
Opponents are quick with invective
and full of opinions, it seems.

But what if we increased, in some way,
the ratio of signal to noise?
Could we discover a good way to
routinely deliver with poise?

And now to business.

One of the ongoing debates in the IT world over the past few years has been about the relative merits of team collocation, including intense collaboration, paired work, and continuous osmotic communication, versus solo work, including work from home and other forms of remote work as well as office spaces fitted with individual cubicles. Continue reading Does remote work work?