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Montana Programmers Message Board Montana Programmers Discussion Forum › Remote Work Discussion.

Remote Work Discussion.

James H.
fishjd
Kalispell, MT
Post #: 14
This board has been idle for a few weeks so I thought I would try to liven it up with something I have been thinking about.

My question is: Are we headed to a time when a large percentage of the talented programmers will only work remotely? If this is true then it leads to the question: If you require your talent to work on site then, are you limiting your organization to second tier talent? How will this trend in the future?

Please, tell us your thoughts, responses and ideals. Thanks.
Rob L.
roblund
Bozeman, MT
Post #: 38
Working remotely is definitely a lot easier now than it has ever been. There are still a handful of issues that come up. Video conference and screensharing software is still not amazing, but it is workable. If you have a single remote team member where everybody else is in a central location, you have to make a concerted effort to keep that person feeling like they are part of the team. Do I think that offices, water coolers, and Dilbert will go away completely? No, but the office landscape will likely continue to change.
Wes
4thddev
Group Organizer
Bozeman, MT
Post #: 78
Companies are definitely limiting their talent pool by only selecting highly localized candidates. Even if you are located in an area with lots of talent, you still fall short by making location criteria #1.

That being said, certain parts of the dev process are still weak when remote. Mainly around planning phases and UX planning. I haven't seen many remote whiteboard solutions that work well or that don't cost a ton. Google HO has done much to make ad hoc meetings easier at least.

As we head further down the road of increasing demand for talent and a shortage of developers I believe the tech work force will become more remote. Companies won't have a choice if they want their projects to succeed. Some will continue to up salaries and benefits offerings to get people to relocate, but that has limited success and again limits your talent pool. Plus startups and smaller dev shops have a hard time competing on salary and healthcare so recruiting remote workers is a good alternative.

In the near future I see the change still being slow, but see "regional" remote work dominating for smaller companies. You already see the regional thing in hot tech zones where commutes suck (Bay Area I'm looking at you). Being regional but remote allows you to recruit from a larger pool, yet still have in person meetings on a weekly or monthly basis. Montana companies could really benefit from this approach.

+1 on Dilbert reference Rob. I would listen to "Journey to Cubeville" and other Scott Adams on my long commutes in CA to maintain sanity.

Anyone have experience with remote collaborative tools that worked well for team projects?
John S.
user 54060282
Bozeman, MT
Post #: 1
As you point out - Google HO helps for things like team standups.

Past that, for coding remote - ReviewBoard or a similar tool is invaluable. Add IM or IRC + email and Google Docs and that covers things nicely enough.
Rob L.
roblund
Bozeman, MT
Post #: 39
Wes - that is a great point about the UX and design collaboration. I've run into that as well.
Daniel H.
user 64167712
Bozeman, MT
Post #: 2
My recent thinking has been towards remote teams as opposed to individuals (depending on the project/contract).

Having been on both ends of a Google HO in team meetings, it's hard to beat face to face discussion. Psychologically, I've found it takes a lot of discipline to truly engage virtual people in discussions and decisions.
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