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OT: A "decomposed" business structure

 
 
Don Y
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-12-2012, 06:34 AM
Hi,

I suspect many folks have telecommuted, worked off-site,
etc. As regular employees, subcontractors, etc. And,
possibly with many *other* such INDEPENDENT people at
the same time.

But, in my experience, this has always been for *a*
"company" (client/employer). A real brick and mortar
outfit (though I've worked for some "solo" operators,
as well).

What I would like to explore are the issues associated with
an entire company built with no real, "physical presence"
(other than it's legal point of incorporation).

In other words, imagine the "accountant" being in Florida
(I'm left-pondian so its easier for me to reference locations
here :-/ ), the purchasing agent in Washington, engineering
staff in Illinois and Texas, manufacturing in California,
etc. (use your imagination)

There are few real needs for face to face meetings in most
modern organizations -- aside from sheep-counters who can
only justify their existence by pointing to the flock they
are tending :>

And, **any** sort of documents can surely be on the recipient's
desk "instantly" (subject to network availability).

There's no reason for components ordered by the purchasing agent
in Washington *not* to be deliverable to the manufacturing
facility in California. Nor for the "bill" to be sent to the
accountant in Florida. A customer cares not whether his device
is shipped from location X or location Y -- so long as it arrives
at *his* location.

Etc.

(are there any logistical limitations that I am overlooking
or trivializing?)

The point that most immediately comes to mind is one of
"trust". This is true in all business relationships where
a party is "unsupervised" (is that consultant *really*
working on my project? or, is he off playing golf? will
he meet his delivery date? will I discover this before its
"too late"? etc.). I tend to have a pretty naive/simple
way of looking at this sort of thing: if you don't trust
your suppliers/clients/customers/etc. then why are you
doing *business* with them?

What other issues might come up?

[note that I am deliberately ignoring compensation, business
relationships between entities, etc. at this point]

Has anyone ever worked in/for such a "decomposed" organization?
Any insights to share?

Thx,
--don
 
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Spehro Pefhany
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-12-2012, 09:11 AM
On Fri, 11 May 2012 23:34:26 -0700, the renowned Don Y <(E-Mail Removed)>
wrote:

>Hi,
>
>I suspect many folks have telecommuted, worked off-site,
>etc. As regular employees, subcontractors, etc. And,
>possibly with many *other* such INDEPENDENT people at
>the same time.
>
>But, in my experience, this has always been for *a*
>"company" (client/employer). A real brick and mortar
>outfit (though I've worked for some "solo" operators,
>as well).
>
>What I would like to explore are the issues associated with
>an entire company built with no real, "physical presence"
>(other than it's legal point of incorporation).
>
>In other words, imagine the "accountant" being in Florida
>(I'm left-pondian so its easier for me to reference locations
>here :-/ ), the purchasing agent in Washington, engineering
>staff in Illinois and Texas, manufacturing in California,
>etc. (use your imagination)
>
>There are few real needs for face to face meetings in most
>modern organizations -- aside from sheep-counters who can
>only justify their existence by pointing to the flock they
>are tending :>
>
>And, **any** sort of documents can surely be on the recipient's
>desk "instantly" (subject to network availability).
>
>There's no reason for components ordered by the purchasing agent
>in Washington *not* to be deliverable to the manufacturing
>facility in California. Nor for the "bill" to be sent to the
>accountant in Florida. A customer cares not whether his device
>is shipped from location X or location Y -- so long as it arrives
>at *his* location.
>
>Etc.
>
>(are there any logistical limitations that I am overlooking
>or trivializing?)
>
>The point that most immediately comes to mind is one of
>"trust". This is true in all business relationships where
>a party is "unsupervised" (is that consultant *really*
>working on my project? or, is he off playing golf?


That can be solved with progress reports and milestones. Maybe better,
because everyone involved can share the results, and they can be
archived.

>will
>he meet his delivery date? will I discover this before its
>"too late"? etc.). I tend to have a pretty naive/simple
>way of looking at this sort of thing: if you don't trust
>your suppliers/clients/customers/etc. then why are you
>doing *business* with them?
>
>What other issues might come up?


Leadership. It's easier to get people fired up about something when
you can get them together in front of you. Hard, maybe impossible, to
do remotely. Without excellent leadership, things are going to go to
pot eventually. If you select for just those folks who can self-lead
you'll probably filter out a lot of really good people (and perhaps
end up with more obstreperous curmudgeons that prefer not to work with
other prople directly). How do you have a heated argument over e-mail
and come to some kind of resolution that works? (The first part is
easy, the second, I think less easy).

>[note that I am deliberately ignoring compensation, business
>relationships between entities, etc. at this point]


There are a few places where definite physical location is required-
the gov't will want to know where the books and records for the corp
are located, as well as the exact location of any 'special' goods they
deem worth tracking. I can't imagine getting a bank account without an
address. Those could be a contractor or whatever, I suppose. It would
complicate payroll functions, for example, if people are in different
jurisdictions. If different countries are involved, there will be
duplication involved unless everyone is an independent contractor.

>Has anyone ever worked in/for such a "decomposed" organization?
>Any insights to share?
>
>Thx,
>--don


Pieces of it. My overall impression is that some people seem to be
happier, but it's not as effective as offices. I think it can work for
a time, in some situations. I did an entire mid-sized project with a
fully distributed company, but we distributed folks all knew and
trusted each other, and we were all very competent in our
(well-defined) fields. I don't think we were ever all in the same
room, and the first time I met a few of the group was on the aircraft
to meet with the client.


Best regards,
Spehro Pefhany
--
"it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward"
(E-Mail Removed) Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com
Embedded software/hardware/analog Info for designers: http://www.speff.com
 
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John Larkin
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-12-2012, 02:30 PM
On Fri, 11 May 2012 23:34:26 -0700, Don Y <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>Hi,
>
>I suspect many folks have telecommuted, worked off-site,
>etc. As regular employees, subcontractors, etc. And,
>possibly with many *other* such INDEPENDENT people at
>the same time.
>
>But, in my experience, this has always been for *a*
>"company" (client/employer). A real brick and mortar
>outfit (though I've worked for some "solo" operators,
>as well).
>
>What I would like to explore are the issues associated with
>an entire company built with no real, "physical presence"
>(other than it's legal point of incorporation).
>
>In other words, imagine the "accountant" being in Florida
>(I'm left-pondian so its easier for me to reference locations
>here :-/ ), the purchasing agent in Washington, engineering
>staff in Illinois and Texas, manufacturing in California,
>etc. (use your imagination)
>
>There are few real needs for face to face meetings in most
>modern organizations -- aside from sheep-counters who can
>only justify their existence by pointing to the flock they
>are tending :>
>
>And, **any** sort of documents can surely be on the recipient's
>desk "instantly" (subject to network availability).
>
>There's no reason for components ordered by the purchasing agent
>in Washington *not* to be deliverable to the manufacturing
>facility in California. Nor for the "bill" to be sent to the
>accountant in Florida. A customer cares not whether his device
>is shipped from location X or location Y -- so long as it arrives
>at *his* location.
>
>Etc.
>
>(are there any logistical limitations that I am overlooking
>or trivializing?)
>
>The point that most immediately comes to mind is one of
>"trust". This is true in all business relationships where
>a party is "unsupervised" (is that consultant *really*
>working on my project? or, is he off playing golf? will
>he meet his delivery date? will I discover this before its
>"too late"? etc.). I tend to have a pretty naive/simple
>way of looking at this sort of thing: if you don't trust
>your suppliers/clients/customers/etc. then why are you
>doing *business* with them?
>
>What other issues might come up?
>
>[note that I am deliberately ignoring compensation, business
>relationships between entities, etc. at this point]
>
>Has anyone ever worked in/for such a "decomposed" organization?
>Any insights to share?
>
>Thx,
>--don


It's amazing how complex, misunderstood, festering technical problems,
things that have evoked scores of emails and PowerPoints, can get
resolved by getting people physically together in front of a
whiteboard. For something complex like electronic design, the
distributed model sounds dangerous to me. It's rare to find people who
work well this way, and tekkies are often not good writers, in that
they don't always express themselves clearly in emails or even on the
telephone. We see this all the time.

Outsourcing PCB layout is just one example of how distributed
engineering can be difficult. Ditto embedded code.

Brainstorming is fundamental to the early stages of product
development. I think that requires physical presence.

There have been successful companies that had scores of small
divisions. EG&G, Perkin-Elmer, Vishay, Bruker for example.


--

John Larkin Highland Technology Inc
www.highlandtechnology.com jlarkin at highlandtechnology dot com

Precision electronic instrumentation
Picosecond-resolution Digital Delay and Pulse generators
Custom timing and laser controllers
Photonics and fiberoptic TTL data links
VME analog, thermocouple, LVDT, synchro, tachometer
Multichannel arbitrary waveform generators
 
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Grant Edwards
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-12-2012, 02:37 PM
On 2012-05-12, John Larkin <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

> It's amazing how complex, misunderstood, festering technical
> problems, things that have evoked scores of emails and PowerPoints,
> can get resolved by getting people physically together in front of a
> whiteboard.


Or in front of a bench and an oscilloscope or logic analyzer.

I don't know how many times I've seen a technical problem solved by
through the simple act of attempting to demonstrate and explain the
problem to somebody else. You just can't do that via email or even on
the phone.

--
Grant
 
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Paul Hovnanian P.E.
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-12-2012, 03:55 PM
Don Y wrote:

[snip]
>
> Has anyone ever worked in/for such a "decomposed" organization?
> Any insights to share?


Well, without tipping my hand too much, I do. And one of the major issues
I've encountered is that the various regulatory and taxing authorities are
going to **** themselves if there isn't an actual physical site they can
kick the doors in on.

In Washington State, for example, you cannot have a corporation,
partnership, or whatever without a physical address. So I work as
an "employee" of a foreign firm. They haven't gotten around to as asking
for that address. Yet.

--
Paul Hovnanian (E-Mail Removed)
------------------------------------------------------------------
I have a very firm grasp on reality. I can reach out and strangle it any
time!

 
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Don Y
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-12-2012, 06:48 PM
Hi Spehro,

On 5/12/2012 2:11 AM, Spehro Pefhany wrote:
> On Fri, 11 May 2012 23:34:26 -0700, the renowned Don Y<(E-Mail Removed)>
> wrote:


>> What I would like to explore are the issues associated with
>> an entire company built with no real, "physical presence"
>> (other than it's legal point of incorporation).


>> (are there any logistical limitations that I am overlooking
>> or trivializing?)
>>
>> The point that most immediately comes to mind is one of
>> "trust". This is true in all business relationships where
>> a party is "unsupervised" (is that consultant *really*
>> working on my project? or, is he off playing golf?

>
> That can be solved with progress reports and milestones. Maybe better,
> because everyone involved can share the results, and they can be
> archived.


Yes. Though some activities don't really lend themselves
easily to these sorts of mechanisms (imagine the accountant's
role -- aside from things like: have the payroll ready for
deposit to accounts by 11PM thursday).

One thing I thought might help is a whiteboard sort of approach
where everyone's activities are visible to everyone else.
This has some distinct advantages -- if you're not doing your
job, folks will tend to see it sooner; if you take ill, there
is a path that another can try to pick up (hmmm... looks like
he was getting ready to file these license forms...); it let's
folks see how you (mis)*interpreted* past decisions; etc.

>> will
>> he meet his delivery date? will I discover this before its
>> "too late"? etc.). I tend to have a pretty naive/simple
>> way of looking at this sort of thing: if you don't trust
>> your suppliers/clients/customers/etc. then why are you
>> doing *business* with them?
>>
>> What other issues might come up?

>
> Leadership. It's easier to get people fired up about something when
> you can get them together in front of you. Hard, maybe impossible, to
> do remotely. Without excellent leadership, things are going to go to
> pot eventually. If you select for just those folks who can self-lead
> you'll probably filter out a lot of really good people (and perhaps
> end up with more obstreperous curmudgeons that prefer not to work with
> other prople directly). How do you have a heated argument over e-mail
> and come to some kind of resolution that works? (The first part is
> easy, the second, I think less easy).


Video conferencing. Don't restrict yourself to 1960's communication
technology...

I don't see how physical presence makes a difference given what is
now readily affordable in that regard. One "must have" (IMO) is
a shared whiteboard application where each party can have a
tablet and share ink+boardspace. I.e., I can scribble on *my*
"whiteboard" and *you* can augment/modify it concurrently. Prepare
new drawings off-line (before/during/after such a conference)
and "reveal" them as necessary during your discussion.

This gives you the shared workspace that is available in a "conference
room", allows "presentations" to be seemlessly and interactively
shared and documents the entire process (for later playback/review).

I.e., if you come up with an idea *later*, you can amend a
"discussion/presentation" to illustrate how your idea dovetails
with the original concept -- or, takes it in a different
direction.

>> [note that I am deliberately ignoring compensation, business
>> relationships between entities, etc. at this point]

>
> There are a few places where definite physical location is required-
> the gov't will want to know where the books and records for the corp
> are located, as well as the exact location of any 'special' goods they
> deem worth tracking. I can't imagine getting a bank account without an
> address. Those could be a contractor or whatever, I suppose. It would
> complicate payroll functions, for example, if people are in different
> jurisdictions. If different countries are involved, there will be
> duplication involved unless everyone is an independent contractor.


These are "easy" things to address. And, depend a lot on the
actual legal structure of the business. E.g., there are advantages
to 1099-ing everyone. *And* disadvantages! (As I said, I am trying
not to muddy the discussion with those issues)

>> Has anyone ever worked in/for such a "decomposed" organization?
>> Any insights to share?

>
> Pieces of it. My overall impression is that some people seem to be
> happier, but it's not as effective as offices.


<frown> I had exactly one client who *insisted* the entire "team"
be collocated. Some of us lived in hotels for months at a time.
None of *us* (and, by extension, the work we individually performed)
benefitted from this collocation. It boiled down to the client's
insecurity ("How can I be a manager if no one can see the people
that I am managing?").

Since then, every relationship has been usually across state
lines with no physical contact. The UPS guy and I have become
*very* friendly -- due to his frequent visits (often two or three
times a week)!

> I think it can work for
> a time, in some situations. I did an entire mid-sized project with a
> fully distributed company, but we distributed folks all knew and
> trusted each other, and we were all very competent in our
> (well-defined) fields. I don't think we were ever all in the same
> room, and the first time I met a few of the group was on the aircraft
> to meet with the client.


Exactly. I can put together a "perfect" crew, today -- many of which
have never met each other, etc. But, who would all work well with
each other based on the recommendations of their peers ("I can
vouch for Joe...").

The problem I see is dealing with anything beyond "steady state".
I.e., what do you do when you *need* additional staff? How do
you handle a "loss" (illness, death, "moving on", etc.)?

The distance makes it harder for folks to notice *personal*
issues that others may be dealing with -- that could be precursors
to future organizational changes (someone quitting, performance
falling off, etc.). E.g., you're less likely to notice Bob
is having marital problems and headed for a messy divorce if
you're not socializing with him (esp after work).

And, its too easy to become "isolated TOGETHER". If you've
ever worked on a really tight team, its easy to see how you
can all "focus inward" on your common goal -- to the exclusion
of everything around you. You *don't* interact with as many
"outsiders". So, when the need for another engineer/accountant/etc
arises, you're not as likely to have anyone that you are
tight enough with to be able to heartily recommend ("vouch for").
 
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Don Y
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Posts: n/a
 
      05-12-2012, 07:35 PM
Hi John,

On 5/12/2012 7:30 AM, John Larkin wrote:
> On Fri, 11 May 2012 23:34:26 -0700, Don Y<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:


>> What other issues might come up?
>>
>> [note that I am deliberately ignoring compensation, business
>> relationships between entities, etc. at this point]
>>
>> Has anyone ever worked in/for such a "decomposed" organization?
>> Any insights to share?


> It's amazing how complex, misunderstood, festering technical problems,
> things that have evoked scores of emails and PowerPoints, can get
> resolved by getting people physically together in front of a


But you can do that over *distributed* whiteboards. You can
videoconference and simultaneously share "drawing spaces".
Why force people to work at "typing speed" when you can exchange
audio and video imagery in real time?

I snap several dozen digital pix each week. Friends looking at
my "photo collection" never see any *people* in the imagery.
One friend jokingly commented about this. I told him:
"I know what Bob, Jane, Sally, Ted, etc. look like. And,
if I ever have to describe any of them to someone, I just
say something like 'She's a short blond I know from my work
at XXXXXX' or 'He's a bike enthusiast I met while exercising
at the local park'. Unless someone is looking for a 'hookup',
nothing more is usually necessary.

On the other hand, if I am trying to describe the flowers
on the mimosa's or how a PCB fits into an enclosure, it is
impractical (and imprecise) to try to define these things
textually. OTOH, snapping a photo and emailing it off
makes the issue abundantly clear!"

> whiteboard. For something complex like electronic design, the
> distributed model sounds dangerous to me. It's rare to find people who
> work well this way, and tekkies are often not good writers, in that
> they don't always express themselves clearly in emails or even on the
> telephone. We see this all the time.


How does a live video conference *worsen* communication skills
compared to sitting in a room together? The extent of each
participants' vocabulary remains unchanged. Their grammar
doesn't deteriorate.

I find in many "in person" situations there are many folks
who tend to sit quietly and NOT participate. Either because
they aren't aggressive enough to deal with the group dynamics
or aren't quick enough on their feet to fully prepare their
arguments without appearing "incorrect/ill-conceived/etc.".

I can't count the number of project meetings I've been in
where someone approached me afterwards to pitch an idea that
they *could* have pitched 30 seconds earlier, to the group.
I attribute this to them knowing that I am open to all sorts
of ideas -- regardless of how off-the-wall they might sound.
Or, how "unpolished" they might be. *And*, that I am willing
to aggressively back (or *present* on behalf of) someone else's
ideas to the group and defend them without "usurping" authorship.

One of the wins (IMO) of email is that it lets people think
about their comments and organize their thoughts *before*
exchanging them with others. ("Hmmm... no, that doesn't sound
right. It has the following technical problems... Let me
revise it.") A video conference gives folks the ability to
review the "exchanges", try to refine their understanding of
the issues that were *actually* presented, then fit their
argument into the discussion(s) ex post factum. These can
then be shared with The Group in a later "meeting" or
emailed to each party for their own *individual* review
or as preparation for the next meeting.

With conventional "meetings" (not "recorded"), you have none of
these capabilities. Did you take ACCURATE notes? Will the
other parties agree with those notes? Do they have different
memories of what was "decided"/discussed? Did they understand
the subtlety of a particular issue that was presented?

> Outsourcing PCB layout is just one example of how distributed
> engineering can be difficult. Ditto embedded code.


You're assuming old communication mechanisms. I can peer
over your shoulder, remotely, *watching* you route a board
and *drag* the traces that I find fault with to where I
want them -- while *you* watch.

For the past ~25 years, I've never had a problem with this
sort of thing. Either I laid out my own boards or had
someone as technically skilled as myself do it for me
(never a "CAD person").

Embedded code has *never* been a problem "with distance".
It is all a function of how well *specified* the product
is. Lazy bosses/employers need to be able to look over
your shoulders because they were unable to decide what they
actually wanted. Or, didn't trust you to make good decisions
as their proxy. I frequently write code and "introduce it"
to the hardware *after* the code is finished (before the
hardware was stable). If you can't define how the hardware
will behave, then that's not something that proximity is
likely to improve!

> Brainstorming is fundamental to the early stages of product
> development. I think that requires physical presence.
>
> There have been successful companies that had scores of small
> divisions. EG&G, Perkin-Elmer, Vishay, Bruker for example.


I see problems when prototypes are scarce or rapidly evolving.
I.e., you can distribute multiple copies of documents, code,
etc. "for free". You can (usually) fab multiple copies of
a prototype board set "inexpensively". But, if you have some
precision mechanism machined from stainless steel, you are
unlikely to have *two* of them!

Or, if you've hacked some new feature/design aspect onto
a *particular* prototype, you care unlikely to be able to
share it with others. At least not quickly or cheaply.

Many people are "imagination deficient" and *really* need to
touch and feel things to internalize/understand their role
or functionality. ("Hmmm... what causes this thing to pivot
out of place before *that* mechanism slams into it?")

And, for some physical things, it is hard for other "eyes"
to see problems without having the device in front of them
to "exercise" ("Well, the 3D model *seems* to indicate that
these two pieces don't interfere... that there is 0.030
clearance between them. But, is that *really* the case
given all the manufacturing tolerances litering this
drawing set??")

"Restricting" the audience of this (or any other portion
of the design) to those closest to it (i.e., the mechanical
folks to the mechanism; the electrical folks to the electronics;
etc.) silently removes the ability for a cross-discipline
examination to stumble on something that *should* have been
"obvious" ("Um, guys, how do we changed the plugs once the
engine is installed in the engine compartment??")
 
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Don Y
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-12-2012, 07:38 PM
Hi Grant,

On 5/12/2012 7:37 AM, Grant Edwards wrote:
> On 2012-05-12, John Larkin<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:
>
>> It's amazing how complex, misunderstood, festering technical
>> problems, things that have evoked scores of emails and PowerPoints,
>> can get resolved by getting people physically together in front of a
>> whiteboard.

>
> Or in front of a bench and an oscilloscope or logic analyzer.
>
> I don't know how many times I've seen a technical problem solved by
> through the simple act of attempting to demonstrate and explain the
> problem to somebody else. You just can't do that via email or even on
> the phone.


You've never done a dog-and-pony via a webcam? :>

The biggest benefit of "presence" is the other party can
"muck with" your presentation and push it in directions
that you hadn't expected. I have an innate ability to
"break" (cause to misbehave) things by doing the unexpected.
It is a lot harder for me to do that remotely -- and far less
*impressive* if I have to verbally *tell* you: "OK, now
unplug the blue connector and type 'FOO' on the keyboard..."
instead of just letting you *watch* me do it! :>
 
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John Larkin
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-12-2012, 08:12 PM
On Sat, 12 May 2012 12:35:09 -0700, Don Y <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>Hi John,
>
>On 5/12/2012 7:30 AM, John Larkin wrote:
>> On Fri, 11 May 2012 23:34:26 -0700, Don Y<(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>
>>> What other issues might come up?
>>>
>>> [note that I am deliberately ignoring compensation, business
>>> relationships between entities, etc. at this point]
>>>
>>> Has anyone ever worked in/for such a "decomposed" organization?
>>> Any insights to share?

>
>> It's amazing how complex, misunderstood, festering technical problems,
>> things that have evoked scores of emails and PowerPoints, can get
>> resolved by getting people physically together in front of a

>
>But you can do that over *distributed* whiteboards. You can
>videoconference and simultaneously share "drawing spaces".
>Why force people to work at "typing speed" when you can exchange
>audio and video imagery in real time?
>
>I snap several dozen digital pix each week. Friends looking at
>my "photo collection" never see any *people* in the imagery.
>One friend jokingly commented about this. I told him:
> "I know what Bob, Jane, Sally, Ted, etc. look like. And,
> if I ever have to describe any of them to someone, I just
> say something like 'She's a short blond I know from my work
> at XXXXXX' or 'He's a bike enthusiast I met while exercising
> at the local park'. Unless someone is looking for a 'hookup',
> nothing more is usually necessary.
>
> On the other hand, if I am trying to describe the flowers
> on the mimosa's or how a PCB fits into an enclosure, it is
> impractical (and imprecise) to try to define these things
> textually. OTOH, snapping a photo and emailing it off
> makes the issue abundantly clear!"
>
>> whiteboard. For something complex like electronic design, the
>> distributed model sounds dangerous to me. It's rare to find people who
>> work well this way, and tekkies are often not good writers, in that
>> they don't always express themselves clearly in emails or even on the
>> telephone. We see this all the time.

>
>How does a live video conference *worsen* communication skills
>compared to sitting in a room together?


Bad audio, bad video, no shared whiteboard, no body language, and
misses human intangibles that I think are important.


The extent of each
>participants' vocabulary remains unchanged. Their grammar
>doesn't deteriorate.
>
>I find in many "in person" situations there are many folks
>who tend to sit quietly and NOT participate.


Some people can't brainstorm, can't play the game, because they lack
the technical skills or their personality doesn't allow it. Don't
invite them back.

Either because
>they aren't aggressive enough to deal with the group dynamics
>or aren't quick enough on their feet to fully prepare their
>arguments without appearing "incorrect/ill-conceived/etc.".


If the atmosphere is properly managed, nobody should be inhibited by
the fear of being wrong. Wrongness is an asset. And there should be no
difference between a serious idea and a joke. Both jokes and wrong
ideas often evolve into good stuff.





>
>I can't count the number of project meetings I've been in
>where someone approached me afterwards to pitch an idea that
>they *could* have pitched 30 seconds earlier, to the group.
>I attribute this to them knowing that I am open to all sorts
>of ideas -- regardless of how off-the-wall they might sound.
>Or, how "unpolished" they might be. *And*, that I am willing
>to aggressively back (or *present* on behalf of) someone else's
>ideas to the group and defend them without "usurping" authorship.
>
>One of the wins (IMO) of email is that it lets people think
>about their comments and organize their thoughts *before*
>exchanging them with others. ("Hmmm... no, that doesn't sound
>right. It has the following technical problems... Let me
>revise it.") A video conference gives folks the ability to
>review the "exchanges", try to refine their understanding of
>the issues that were *actually* presented, then fit their
>argument into the discussion(s) ex post factum. These can
>then be shared with The Group in a later "meeting" or
>emailed to each party for their own *individual* review
>or as preparation for the next meeting.
>
>With conventional "meetings" (not "recorded"), you have none of
>these capabilities. Did you take ACCURATE notes?



We photograph whiteboards, with titles and names and dates scribbled
in the corners.


Will the
>other parties agree with those notes? Do they have different
>memories of what was "decided"/discussed? Did they understand
>the subtlety of a particular issue that was presented?
>
>> Outsourcing PCB layout is just one example of how distributed
>> engineering can be difficult. Ditto embedded code.

>
>You're assuming old communication mechanisms. I can peer
>over your shoulder, remotely, *watching* you route a board
>and *drag* the traces that I find fault with to where I
>want them -- while *you* watch.


For three weeks solid?


--

John Larkin Highland Technology Inc
www.highlandtechnology.com jlarkin at highlandtechnology dot com

Precision electronic instrumentation
Picosecond-resolution Digital Delay and Pulse generators
Custom timing and laser controllers
Photonics and fiberoptic TTL data links
VME analog, thermocouple, LVDT, synchro, tachometer
Multichannel arbitrary waveform generators
 
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Nico Coesel
Guest
Posts: n/a
 
      05-12-2012, 09:36 PM
Don Y <(E-Mail Removed)> wrote:

>Hi,
>
>I suspect many folks have telecommuted, worked off-site,
>etc. As regular employees, subcontractors, etc. And,
>possibly with many *other* such INDEPENDENT people at
>the same time.
>
>Has anyone ever worked in/for such a "decomposed" organization?
>Any insights to share?


Since I work for myself I do 99.9% of the work from my own office.
Every now and then I meet with other team members. I've been part of
several pretty complex projects and it seems to work very well.

It is very important that management keeps track on what everyone is
doing and sets milestones for all team members. For some projects I
also do a bit of project management. I make spreadsheets which lists
the tasks to be done, remarks about the task, when it should be
finished and who is reponsible. That usually works well as long as you
are aware that no planning is made out of granite :-)

--
Failure does not prove something is impossible, failure simply
indicates you are not using the right tools...
nico@nctdevpuntnl (punt=.)
--------------------------------------------------------------
 
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