This week we read Chapter 6 regarding working in Global teams. As I read there were a few quotes that particularly caught my attention. I have captured them, with my notes on what I liked about them, below.
Page 103 – Quote from Henning Fischer: “I am looking for folks from all over. First and foremost they have to be really good designers. Folks who have gone out of their natural habitat tend to be the good ones.”
I found this to be a great quote as I prepare to study abroad the next two quarters in the Netherlands. I am going precisely to get out of my “natural habitat” and expose myself to new ideas and new people after having lived in the Pacific NW my whole life. I have worked on a number of projects in my professional life with distributed teams, but not yet a project with a truly international team. (I have worked with a UK office, which was still enlightening!) I hope that by increasing my exposure to new ways of thinking, I will increase my tolerance for working in international teams in the future when those groups have approaches different from mine.
On that same page there is also a discussion on how time spent together makes remote collaboration easier – I completely agree with this. Again in my professional life – even teams that I have managed who are in Seattle but in different offices work better when we have regular face to face meetings, or conduct video meetings.
Page 105 – “not many people are motivated or engaged by an e-mail, especially when it arrives with another 120 e-mails.”
This line made me laugh, as it is very true. As a producer (project manager and team leader) for interactive media it’s my job to make sure that everyone is on the same page and motivated to get work done well and on-time. I find strategic use of meetings, phone calls and team check ins are far more effective than email alone.
Page 106 – “Distance work is challenging for Agile”
This also spoke to me as I work with Agile and Scrum teams to do software development and remote teams add a new level of challenge because of the high level of commination required for successful agile development.
Page 114 – Less of a quote, but more of a comment to expand on the discussion on this page on workspaces that facilitate collaboration. This is one of the things I enjoy about my current workplace. We have a very dynamic seating arrangement and teams who are working together move desks so that all designers, developers, and other team members can be near each other for maximum spontaneous collaboration and meetings, etc.