Understanding Distance for a Geographically Distributed Team

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Understanding Distance for a Geographically Distributed Team

By Discovery Lean Six Sigma

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As Mark Kilby and I work through the images and text for the geographically distributed teams book, I wanted to clarify what collocated and distributed mean.

Collocated teams sit near each other in space. However, not everyone agrees on what is “near.”

http://www.jrothman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/AlenCurve-768x472.png 768w, http://www.jrothman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/AlenCurve-1024x629.png 1024w, http://www.jrothman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/AlenCurve.png 1200w" sizes="(max-width: 300px) 100vw, 300px">Allen Curve

In Developing Products in Half the Time, Smith and Reinertsen use the Allen Curve to discuss the distance at which you can consider a team to be distributed as opposed to collocated.

Notice that there’s only a 30% chance of communication when people are 8 m apart. It takes about 10 steps to walk 8 meters. Yes, 10 steps. It takes about 40 steps to walk 30 m. That’s all. We’re not talking a lot of time and distance here.

Notice that by the time you get to 24 m (30-31 steps), you have less than a 5% chance of communication. This is not just to ask a question, but any communication.

The Allen Curve explains why team rooms work so well for agile teams.

If your team is not all on the same floor, in a close cluster of offices/cubes, you have some sort of a geographically distributed team. Yes, even if you are all on the same campus. If you are in one building or on one campus, you have what I’ve been calling a geo-fence around the team. Your managers might not realize you have a distributed team, but you do.

What do geographically distributed teams do? They create a virtual team room. They use that space.

The first step is to realize you have a distributed team. The next is to realize you need a team space so you can all collaborate.

The post Understanding Distance for a Geographically Distributed Team appeared first on Johanna Rothman, Management Consultant.

Original: http://www.jrothman.com/mpd/project-management/2017/11/understanding-distance-for-a-geographically-distributed-team/
By: johanna
Posted: November 21, 2017, 1:57 pm

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