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SEGaL goes Distributed

18/01/2012
What the heck do I mean by SEGaL goes global? Well, we are basically starting on making good on the promise of studying the effects of global distribution and how to mitigate them by distributing ourselves. Starting in February we will have one week each month during which we forbid face-to-face interaction between our lab mates and even encourage them to not come into the lab. This way we will start to experience the peril of distributions ourselves.

As depicted in Figure 1 we try to place the week of distribution in the second week of a month. We even went to so far as to define rules on how to allow us to meet in person. We are currently thinking of estimating a flight back to the lab to be worth 50 dollars plane ticket and 5 dollars per day for hotel costs (we don’t want to make our visitors live under the bridge, do we).

(Figure 1) Depiction of from now on typical
work week at SEGaL.

We will start lightly with our first week. During that time our regular meetings are going to be interrupted because Jorge and I will be at CSCW 2012 and Daniela will be engage with a PC meeting during that week. Additionally, that week will be reading break at the University of Victoria, thus limiting the interruptions from other sources, such as undergraduates. We thought that this will be an ideal start as it allows us to ease in to the distributed setting.

The short term goal is to get a better appreciation for distributed work and to actually prevent each other from interrupting our own workflows. In the mid term, this will by itself yield a paper. We will be all keeping work journals denoting what worked for us and what not, including recording methods that worked for us under what situation and what did not. In the long term of course we hope to uncover processes and tool that efficiently help loosely coupled groups like ours to better function in a distributed setting and apply our findings to software development.

I will keep you posted on our progress, maybe we will be able to soon also simulate time zone difference.

What do you think will it work and be worth it?

2 Comments leave one →
  1. 19/01/2012 22:27

    Adrian, I really like the SEgal image you included here. Perhaps we should use it on our website?

    • 19/01/2012 22:32

      We certainly can, but since I got the globe of the internet I’m not sure how well this will go over with the new copyright initiative at Canadian Universities

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