Re: Managing writers in other cities

Subject: Re: Managing writers in other cities
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 1998 09:46:59 -0800


> Has anyone else out there managed people and teams that were across
> the country? What have been your experiences?

We've been managing virtual teams for years now. Instead of relying on
face-to-face communications, I've found that phone, fax, and email (in
no particular order) do just as good a job, and in some cases better. It
really depends on what you're trying to do.

For instance, if I need weekly status reports (and I need those anyway,
regardless of location), I can just as easily get those via email as in
person. If I need to see the current state of a document, I can see an
electronically marked-up version (thanks to the revision control
features in Word and Frame) sent to me via ftp, or if I need to inspect
and decipher someone's handwriting I can get a pretty good idea from a
faxed copy of the questionable page(s). If someone really needs to
talk, the phone works really well. If we need to collaborate, there are
all sorts of desktop conferencing tools that let you hold virtual
meetings and even mark up drawings or documents in cyberspace. We've
used all of these tools and more to work with team members at different
locations, and never really had a problem. Most recently Cub Lea (in
Vancouver, B.C.) and I (in Silicon Valley) worked as a virtual team to
produce some docs needed for a December 31 release.

One of the best examples I've heard of in this vein has been the way a
group of Texas Instruments engineers in Austin have been working with
another TI group of engineers in India. The Austin engineers get 12
hours on the project, then hand it over for the next 12 hours to their
counterparts in India, who then hand it back to Texas, etc. Apparently
this arrangement is helping TI boost productivity by quite a bit.

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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