1. Alibaba's teamwork app, Dingtalk, crashed around 9AM due to too many concurrent video conference saturate the server and bandwitdh
2. Tencent's for enterprise messaging app, Wechat for Business, crashed. Connection is extremely unstable
3. Baidu's office VPN was busy and employees are asked to stay disconnected to leave bandwith for sysadmins
4. Huawei's WeLink was unavailable for a while
5. Bytedance (company behind TikTok)'s Lark, an online office suite like GApps was the biggest winner, only had some minor issues.
6. Zoom offered a free version to mainland users and it's extremely popular. But it lacks non-video-conf features. e.g. simple daily poll to see if your colleagues were healthy or not.
I work for a big (300k+ ) company with some tens of thousand office workers in CN
We are preparing since about 2 weeks to upgrade our remote access infra in China with partial success as something which would be a soft upgrade everywhere else needs to go through various levels of local subcontractors and partners of our provider
On top of that because of the Internet situation in CN it is not practically easy to use remote access via another location with higher capacity - the performance gets degraded very quickly - or use resources directly over the internet eg. RTC which is not hosted locally
I doubt that local authorities will change something in the future because of this example but one can only hope
Try use MPLS. It's expensive but the latency and bandwidth is guaranteed.
....so get those requisitions in boys.
Source Dr John Campbell. https://youtu.be/z05ZrMfKUDc
Regarding the Chinese figure of 14k - it is only for "laboratory confirmed" cases. Given that Chinese hospitals are refusing any patients that aren't in serious distress, the "real" number of cases is likely already much much more than 14k.
There are also reports of death certificates being issued for "unknown viral pneumonia", because they don't have the time to test the dead.
This would explain why there are sooo many cases abroad - despite "only" a few thousand cases in China.
One virologist tweeted (can't find it now), that he believes 95% of cases are unreported in China.
We also have to bare in mind that most non-western countries do not have DNA test kits for this virus. When we look at the updated map of infections, there are glaring gaps in countries like Laos and Myanmar with ALL of their neighbors reporting infections. Those countries are, of course, not immune to the virus - they simply don't have the facilities to confirm cases, and have gov'ts that would rather hide the evidence so as not to disrupt travel/create panic.
I don't think we should OVER-react, but also we shouldn't UNDER react.
Official numbers in China right now are 17k infections plus 21k estimated unreported cases. Let's assume their numbers are a little too optimistic and there you go, 75k by tomorrow.
After all, practically everyone is behind NAT these days, and it's so rare for an application to ask you to open a port in your firewall, most users probably don't know how to do it.
And early videoconferencing was famous for its unreliability - even simple things like people being able to join calls. Particularly as users might be behind restrictive firewalls on corporate networks or cell phone connections. Video calling that only works 95% of the time isn't good enough for things like job interviews :)
And users don't only expect one-to-one calls - everyone offers multi-party calls. If eight people want to watch Bob while he's talking, you've got to find eight videos' worth of upload bandwidth from somewhere.
And there are far more people trying to video call from battery-powered devices and metered connections than there were 15 years ago. If your competitors' apps uploads one video stream and yours uploads eight at once, users are going to notice the battery and data consumption.
And if you only have to test compatibility between your server and every version of your software, that's a much simpler task than testing compatibility of every possible n-way call between different versions of your software. Especially as you'll have to support Windows, OS X, Android and iPhone at the very least.
To me, those are fun things to solve.
The answer is to still have clients and servers, just that the servers deal with the grunt work of routing traffic and the clients just stream the data through a server.
Push vs pull, depending if you can get upnp to open a port to the client.
Skype was originally a peer to peer application, seemed pretty popular and while it still was p2p? It was written by the people who wrote Kazaa, remember that?
Sure, but Skype adopted a peer-to-peer design back in 2005 or so when expectations were a lot lower - no smartphones, no group calls, no 1080p, no cross-platform, and if it's unreliable or needs some fiddling around to get it to work properly, such is life - because the competition was paying $$$ for an international phone call that wouldn't have any video.
These days if you want to compete with Skype and Google Hangouts and Discord, I expect my regular four-way video call between people using Windows, OS X, Ubuntu and ChromeOS to establish first-time with clear audio and video to all users.
Hence why VoIP like WebRTC encourages direct media rather than wasting a trip to a server, the server's peering can often be much worse than a path between two users on residential ISPs.
All of the performance improvements could have been done while maintaining the core of P2P, the ONLY reason to centralize it is to make it easy to tap, and harvest data from
>If eight people want to watch Bob while he's talking, you've got to find eight videos' worth of upload bandwidth from somewhere.
With p2p you may stream parts of the video from multiple clients
in home settings this step has been automated for something like a decade or more. One of UPnP or NAT-PMP are available on basically every router
Really we just need IPv6 where one app binds to one IP.
Meanwhile Zoom and Discord (who use servers) can achieve much greater so YMMV
That said p2p definitely has its advantages
Most people can’t work from home because of local tradition not because it doesn’t work.
Many homes aren’t really suited to WFH, especially regular WFH. They might be noisy during the day, lack space, lack decent network connections, etc...you also can’t really WFH from a quiet public space like a library (not that HK really has those).
Also it was nothing fancy. Just recorded video lectures, and an online forum.
They did that 20 years ago during SARS, too.
It's not going that well: from my subjective point of view, people seem to treat it as an extra vacation. They are often not online and will only complete a few small tasks per day, because there is no threat from the boss who sees that you are browsing facebook instead of working.
Even government employees are at home. Many people didn't get their tax bill so they don't need to pay tax for now. Sweet!
That experiment makes me think that perhaps work from home is optimal mostly for a small pool of highly motivated and talented individuals, such as the average person on HN who actually does feel more productive working from home. Outside of HN, work ethic could be different.
Also if there is the threat of an incoming pandemic, then my priorities would be elsewhere than work. I.e. securing family, provisions, medicines, etc. And checking news sources about the epidemic every 5 minutes is not good for efficiency...
Plus until corps can fire and replace the slackers, they are not in danger. (Because it's unlikely to hire someone while the quarantine is in effect.)
But simply tying pay to daily performance usually works.
Working remotely both incentives and sort of mandates better visibility into one's working/thinking processes.
Writing, explaining, documenting, committing, pushing, testing one's work is important. It helps others know what you are up to, and helps you to be able to better show your work.
That said, people constantly measuring performance should be replaced by productive people. It is always a management failure if your people are slacking off. Otherwise I would just do something that makes me look good on daily reports. That can have massive negative implications for general business interest. That creates the typical blinders that make large corps unproductive.
Daily targets make sense in production, but not for evaluating employees, but because you need it for other business processes to allow supply and demand fit the productivity.
The current trend for more employee surveillance is mostly a scam and doesn't even help productivity. On the contrary it tends to create unnecessary overhead, like daily meetings. It is one of the most non-creative employment of information technology.
That said, daily meetings can be extremely important for remote teams. But those are mostly about other topics anyway.
Of course the implementation of hire/fire does not mean that the first line manager does the interview alone, without any help, supervision, oversight and support from middle management and HR. But if you have no say in who you manage, who you work with, it'll be very hard to get work done.
And in my experience this usually already happens informally anyway.
(We are a full remote dev shop.)
These types of work have the added risk of unauthorized people, such as the employee’s kids or friends, snooping in on sensitive information.
That might be helped by the employer providing a dedicated computer for remote work, with screen-recording and facial recognition that locks the system if you’re not (the only person) in view.
Perhaps having always-on video and voice surveillance on that computer, and announcing that fact, would force employees to create a dedicated distraction-free work environment in their homes.
If you're requiring someone pay attention to a monitor you can do the same thing - for example put a square on the image and require the employee to click it. Obviously though, this requires someone to actually critically think about protocols for ensuring work is done to a standard.
If touching points is all that's required, then that's all that will get done. The neural nets of all employees will eventually become trained to touch the points and not do the actual work you desire.
In the case of a security guard the 'real' job is to catalogue all things 'out of place' and then react if necessary.
“Why Japan’s Rail Workers Can’t Stop Pointing at Things”
You might want to think about how this effects the housing market if this take off long term.
This would have the added benefit of reclaiming the space currently taken up by many office towers, reducing traffic and the associated stress from daily commutes, improving overall health, increasing leisure time, which in turn improves the economy, and so on.
All homes - should - begin to have offices anyway as people realize that physically going in to work isn't necessary to be productive.
Laptops can go anywhere, and my living room is empty until ~4pm when my kids get home. I've been remote for going on 5 years now and routinely take my work laptop to the kitchen or living room (though I'll concede I need a quiet room for some calls/tasks that involve PII).
You can breath down people's neck just as well over a video link, and there are multiple apps to help scale that.
Whether that's desirable or not is another topic, but why not solve one problem at a time?
It's probably that people are not accustomed to this flow
All jobs I can think of involve some sort of outcome that is desired by the one purchasing the work. Furthermore, that outcome can be of insufficient quality and therefore rejected by the purchaser, or at least not fulfilling the needs they were expecting to have fulfilled.
My personal estimations -- it takes 18 month to work out an established routine, so any RW "decreed" on the worker before that time, is indeed effectively vacations.
The worst scheme is working from home 1-2 days a week, and coming to office for the rest. Beside the established routine it also requires adapting the sleep schedule (which is twice as hard if the RW days are floating, not fixed).
There were plenty of other reasons why it didn't work out as well.
And I'm sure they're worried about their friends, family and relatives that might be sick (and they can't get to). That worry will cause a productivity drop BECAUSE WE'RE ALL HUMAN.
If I were an employer, I think I'd probably give folks a bit of slack for the next several weeks.
I have seen this time and again as a Norwegian, when living abroad. I come from a culture where power hierarchies are quite flat and there is a very high trust level between people. Bosses don't breath down your neck.
I remember an Indian manager who had worked long in Norway remarked on the difficulty of going back to India. People there are used to be bossed around and micromanaged all the time. The result is that it is difficult for them to manage themselves when the boss is gone. He remarked on the frustration of having to be present all the time for work to get done. I had gotten accustomed to not needing that in Norway.
But you don't have to go as far as India to see it. I got family and friends who observed the same in the UK. As soon as the boss left everybody started chatting and chilling.
I could see similar things when I studied in the US. American teenagers were often quite bad at managing themselves away from home. When I stayed over at people's places I realized why. Their parents where far stricter and far more micromanaging than I was used to. Even on campus there was far more rules and control than what would be normal in Northern Europe.
Stuff like that gives short term benefits of people behaving. The long term problem is that people get little to no training in managing themselves and setting their own boundaries. Autonomy and self control is not something you are born with. You have to train on it and learn it.
I find Scandinavian parents are far more tolerant towards kids screwing up and wasting their time. Part of that I think is they know kids must learn to handle situations themselves.
My wife is Asian-American and I know from all the stories she tells me that in Asia where it is even more control oriented and more ambitious it becomes even harder. Parents and teachers make all the "optimal" choices for you all the time, to push for success. She has family members who never chose even what clothes they wore all through childhood. Parents made all the choices.
I had a friend from Singapore. She remarked on how difficult it was coming to the US as a teenager. Suddenly teachers wanted to know her opinion on a variety of issues and subjects. But nobody had ever asked her opinion on anything before.
So I can imagine that remote working in Asia is going to be a lot harder than for many western countries. Even within the West there will be big differences in how well it can work.
But just so it is clear. I don't think the ability to work remote is inherent in people. I think with training Asian societies and workers can develop a culture for more independent working and working from home.
People who slack instantly when the boss leaves, are only working because they're being driven before the whip. It's not lack of self management. It's being dragged unwillingly into a tedious hell. Refusing "autonomy" in the circumstances, is a form of soft sabotage protest.
Serious question ^^
I personally find it rewarding to finish tasks & make things... being employed to do so is a luxury, but i still don't want to have a job.
Least-bad capitalist employment piggybacks off that. You get paid for stuff you mostly like.
An awful lot of employment just gets in the way.
Yeah... so, I'm coming to think of the difference as:
having a job = getting paid for spinning wheels you wouldn't other wise spin
working = doing things you enjoy, for a payoff.
By that metric... i guess i'd rather work, than have a job.
On the upside, my commute to work has been quiet, and there’s no distractions in the office.
Every middle level managers job is depending on this belief. Once they accept people can work from home,their job becomes extinct its understandable but not true.
The world needs less authoritarianism and more compassion right now. We're all human.
We also had to enforce starting hours, otherwise some developers would show up by 11:30 yet they will still leave work sharp on time.
Should I switch to high-touch performance management all the time for all employees, just because of the 1% of one person's time spent working from home?
I'm a strong proponent of allowing people to work from home, but I have also had conversations with people in the past about whether its appropriate for them. Ultimately it needs to come down to the question of whether people are getting the work they need to be doing done, and if not whether that's for reasons outside of their control. If people are delivering what they need to be delivering (whether that's in the way you'd typically expect or not), there isn't a problem. If they aren't delivering, that's the problem to solve, not the nuances of a work from home policy.
You think if someone is a good employee 99% of the time I should fire them on the spot?
If you know whether people actually delivers or not, this is an easy discipline issue: point out that you know, and that working from home is a privilege that will be withdrawn if performance slips.
What I tend to find is that managers often believe productivity is higher in the office because they see people engrossed in their computers, without seeing what people are actually doing, and believe they're in control.
If you think you need a high touch system to handle this, then it suggest you doubt your current systems ability to pick up actual performance vs. whether they look busy.
Here in Hong Kong we have quite a few 3-day or 4-day working weeks (due to public holidays) and I have never once seen more work being done on those weeks.
So I have seen it in practice, as a counterpoint to your anecdote with another anecdote.
Now,if that's generally achievable is up for debate. I think most would agree 8 hours a day, 5 days a week is likely better than 10 hours a say, 7 days a week. But it's not obvious if a 30 hour week is better or worse than a 40 hour week.
After I took a solid break from work for 3 months, doing a full 5-day work week was torture. I am still not used to it, and I don't think I ever will be agin.
It all comes down to scarcity. Scarcity of time. Give me five 10-hour days and I will stretch them out by hanging out on Hacker News. Give me less time to accomplish my tasks, and I will be much better at managing a scarce resource. AND I will have a 3-day weekend to check out from work completely.
In the past it sounded very "socialist" and lazy to me, but I have come around to believe that, in the language of Mandalorians, THIS IS THE WAY.
I worked a 32 hour week for some time and was nearly as productive (if not more) than working fulltime. The reality is after about 4 hours of flow, I'm pretty worn out. After 6 hours, I'm pretty much ineffective.
A full 8+ hour day is really only useful if I need to spend time in lots of meetings.
> It's not just about traveling. It's just one of the components. This guy was a teacher, musician, maker and now DL expert. And it doesn't seem like he is settled on that yet. He is still exploring what he wants to do. Changes his life to match his interests. I lived some of my life like that. Took some non standard paths. But it is getting increasingly hard for me to do this. Not because there aren't opportunities for me, but because it's getting unjustifiable to "society".
> And I know the usual line about "who cares what others think" in the west. Although it's logical in the west its not so in South Asia. Even if you don't care, your parents will and you will care for your parents. So it's inescapable. By Western standards I should be a totally free person, I am not married, don't have any debt, a high earning job which I'm bored by only 50% of the time. But these same things trap me. Single status leads to public derision in social gatherings (also friends get married and it becomes increasingly hard to be the only single guy in the group), my insistence on not taking on any debt means I live in a small rented apartment which it hard to be accepted in the society around me, a high earning job means I can never just quit because then I will have no social support due to it being a bad decision.
> As I write this, my (admittedly limited) understanding of how Western society works makes me think these would not be problems but my biggest assets.
Let me just say first that your instincts are completely true and correct, and are leading you in the right direction. Trust them. Those peers you reference (the big spenders with credit cards) are going down a path that will end in disaster for them. If only they could be half as wise as you!
Are you tempted to become one of the hikikomori? I read a comment by a young Japanese man the other day which was incredibly insightful. He compared the hikikomori to Buddhist monks who disappear from public view for years, for the purpose of self introspection and refinement of themselves. He felt these two phenomenon are intricately linked. I made the same observation also. He thought that (paraphrasing) 999 out of 1000 of these people maybe weren't much use to anyone, but 1 out of 1000 just may be the savior of the nation. I cannot overemphasize how strongly I agree with this sentiment.
Ask yourself, why is there such a phenomenon of the hikikomori? Why are Japanese businessmen working and drinking themselves to death? What larger purpose does this server? Why is there so much pain and suicide and other terrible things in your nation? Why do you, personally, feel such an urge to roam? What are you searching for, exactly? All of these things have their explanation. It's important to investigate these things and understand them.
Also, what do you think will be the long term effects of things like Fukushima, to name a very large but hardly-acknowledged elephant in the room? Do you know that the radioactive material, with all of that water flowing over it daily, is located directly above a major aquifer that supplies Tokyo with its water? These things need to be studied and fully understood also.
You said you don't understand Western civilization, but you are very fortunate because I understand it better than most. Western "civilization" consists of several hundred million children who play-act that they are adults, when in reality they are children who have absolutely no idea what they're doing, or where they're going, or the total disaster that awaits them.
Western "civilization" for example extracts resources from the ground and wastes them at an appalling rate. Its hunger for resources is enormous and ever-growing.
Western "civilization" is controlled by literal psychopaths, people with no emotion, no heart, no soul; their leader is called Lucifer, "the light bringer" as he sees himself. His system is based on endless war around the world 24/7/365, to support said extreme rate of resource consumption and depletion, with the vast majority of the benefits going to the top echelon while the serfs fight over crumbs.
Western "civilization" conquered your nation, subdued it, redesigned your society according to its own vision--explosive growth and endless resource consumption--and for a few decades you "prospered." But then you ran headlong into the inescapable fact that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible. It's the same wall that the entirety of the West is itself running headlong into, in slow motion; you just ran into it first because you are an island nation with more finite resources than the large continental powers.
This is why in the 1980s your economy crashed and never recovered...while your government continues to everything is OK. In 2008 our economy crashed and never recovered....while our government continues to pretends everything is OK.
I hope you will come to see these "peers" of yours in a new light. They have expensive cars and mortgages, while you live in a humble home and drive a humble vehicle, ride a bike, or walk? You are the true picture of wisdom and humility, and should continue doing exactly as you are doing. You will be rewarded greatly, whereas their lives will end in ruin. You suffer a small amount in the near term, but they will suffer much more in the long term. The truth is they are not your "peers" at all. You were born for higher things.
About your parents, of course their opinion matters, and you are a good son for respecting their opinion. But their knowledge isn't perfect, nor is yours. Here in the USA there are many "baby boomers" (the boom generation after 1945) who just can't understand this mysterious Millenial generation and why they act as they do. They blame the son or daughter, and have no understanding or awareness of larger things. In their mind we are still in the 1960s and they believe everything they see on TV. That's why the real world remains a mystery to them.
Many of that generation are extremely spoiled; I saw a van one time with a vanity license plate on the front, which bragged "I'm spending all my children's inheritance!" Can you imagine a Japanese parent behaving in such a way, selfishly, with no thought to their children's future? Actually the person is spending their children's, grandchildren's, great grandchildren's, etc future, as well as the rest of the world's future, for their own personal self gratification.
What is Western "civilization"? It's extremely sick and corrupt and should not be emulated under any circumstances. That's why your nation desperately needs people such as yourself, such as the hikikomori also, monks, etc who have the personal courage to 'ignore' the demands of society, to remove oneself from its judgment for a time, to devote one's efforts to thought and reflection and learning and wisdom and understanding--all of these things that the masses lack--so that one may become the true leader and instrument of change that your nation so desperately needs.
Your people are counting on you! Don't let them down.
I recommend to study the works of Masanobu Fukuoka, to name an example of one wise Japanese man who had the courage to travel a different road, and was well rewarded for it. His book "One Straw Revolution" is excellent and I feel "The Road Back To Nature" is even better.
There is much more that could be said here, but this post is too long already. I just wanted to reach out to you because nobody really gave you a good answer in that thread, but you deserve one. I hope this post helps you to continue on the right path and not be tempted by the ways of others.
Much love to you and to Japan, my friend, from the land of Dixie!
Duuuude I was just asked to stay at home for 2 weeks because I might have coronavirus (I was in Shanghai "recently"). Sure as heck I'm not going to be productive. (I'm a software engineer in mountain view, and my company has asked me to WFH for 2 weeks)
- Emotionally it's a tiny bit scary. hard to focus.
- I didn't have ANY time to setup -- a lot of my gear is still at work.
- My team didn't have time to prepare -- we still have daily standups which are hard to join from VC.
Please don't do that. People should participate using their own PC (or phone, in a pinch). Meeting rooms make it worse for everyone.
I’m disgusted at myself that I can’t say something similar about my employer.
Not my idea, not my decision, but someone must have weighed the costs of laptop w/docks vs desktops and risk of one site going offline for a few weeks and decided it was worth it. For a finance company, I guess those days could carry a lot of cash flow if not regulatory risks as well which could help push the laptop argument.
I really liked the model laptops we were deploying and how the push allowed us to clear out some real old desktops. It was helpful to be mobile but I did keep an old desktop at my desk with tools and more that I could remote to from another desk or from home to do things on site.
A theft at the office, could result in dozens of computers going missing.
A theft a single employee's home, is likely limited to a very small amount of devices.
If sending your laptop by taxi to your home would mean two weeks of work that seems like a very cheap solution.
This is no different from the office building burning down or having to close for a few weeks for a similar reason resulting in working from home without notice. In that scenario, I'm also not responsible for "fixing" the fact that some of my equipment stayed in the office and is now not accessible to me, preventing me from being able to work.
Meanwhile, you have a duty to be responsible with your employer's data. Your employer can secure its own hardware, but it cannot secure resources you own — which means that if you use your own hardware & software to work with your employer's data that any breach is your fault.
Given those realities, I prefer to use my employer-issued hardware, software & network for my employer's work, and my hardware, software & network for my own purposes. That way my employer is secured from my mistakes, and I am secured from my employer's mistakes (or nefariousness).
This feel like a great way to get some thinking time!
We had some campaign on remote working, actively adjust the toolset/processes/expectations, and we don't usually measure by output so it's a rather interesting experience for now.
These are just excuses. If you were going to get fired for not working or someone gave you a bonus of half a million for two weeks of work you’d sure as hell focus.
Remote work and distributed teams is basically like fate at this point. If our economy is prepared to build a whole car in different parts of the world and then ship it to the US, you better believe your little job tasks that can easily be sent in email is going to have to reckon with that.
For example, if you are designing a very complex system requiring multiple participants then it's very very hard to communicate your ideas over video conferences - even when tech worked flawlessly. It's not because people are not able to articulate the ideas but there is a lot goes on in body language, facial expressions and quick back-and-forth exchanges over whiteboard. The high bandwidth of occupying same physical 3D space permits speedy iterations while low bandwidth constraints what you must express in given slot you are expected to express.
So, remote work doesn't work for all scenarios. It works well when everyone knows things fair bit, number of iterations during communications needed are small and number of ideas don't need huge bandwidth. It doesn't work as well otherwise. For example, early days of startup where the product is in embryonic state, everybody working remotely would not work out well. However, if product is mature and roadmap is well under control then remote team might work great.
I supervised an entire PhD remotely many years back. We made it work, and learned as we went. Over time we got better as expressing confusion, double checking understanding, and all those sort of things where we use non-verbal clues in face-to-face meetings. It worked, but it wasn't an easy path at first. But there was an unexpected plus side - I'd learned to vocalize my doubts and confusion better, and to double-check we're on the same page. And so ever since I've found I'm more effective in face-to-face meetings.
That's funny but it reminds me of my relationship in the beginning. We didn't speak each other's native language fluently. Unexpectedly, harder communication had the effect of being clearer when expressing ourselves, and double-checking assumptions before reacting. It ended up very healthy.
Personally, while I agree that the bandwidth is higher locally, I don't agree you are prevented from expressing what you wish by communicating remotely; it just takes a bit longer, which is more than compensated by the time saved on other things.
Having an easily accessibly video conference software, committing to getting employees good headsets, and enforcing videos on/1 person per screen makes collaboration very easy.
The only thing that's missing is whiteboarding sessions (which seem to be more about fun than actual productivity). Instead, we typically ask a single engineer to write up a proposal doc then have everybody comment on that.
It requires a bit more lead time - write up, feedback, then finalization. However, the actual developer time is significantly less. One developer doing most of the work, with others chiming in periodically.
But I'm not a huge fan of whiteboards in general. Of course one problem with offline whiteboards is that the information tends to get wiped away (unless someone's snapping and uploading photos), the other is that they tend to be messy and unsearchable and hard to edit & update afterwards.
IMO it's generally better to flesh out ideas in text. It's just that sometimes a figure or two, maybe a flow chart, would get the point across quicker. I haven't found software I like enough to consider it better than hand, but hand sucks too. I often brainstorm on paper, and run out of paper or end up having to squeeze stuff because I didn't start with things in the right place. A software solution would help.
The main problem is the price, we can hardly afford one for each person, especially since it's not exactly something we use daily. Plus, even if we did, I'm not sure there's anyway to sync them in real-time.
IME unless your a particularly good teacher then your whiteboard isn't as high bandwidth as you think anyway. In face to face meetings everyone will just smile and nod because you have to go away and dig into the details to find issues. Put it in a graphviz drawing with the accompanying text and you'll get better results.
There’s stuff we outsource (easy to describe tasks), but the stuff that needs tight iteration loops is so much easier when you can just get up, walk a few meters, and talk about it.
That, by itself, isn't an argument that remote work for a given company will work.
I'm not saying it's not a good idea to have competing delivery teams. But it's quite expensive.
* Individual parts of the Linux kernel are often developed by people who do work together in an office (e.g. I used to sit with a bunch at Red Hat).
* Top-level Linux folks do meet in person fairly regularly, especially at LF events.
* Collaboration via email etc. is the primary workflow for the kernel, so there's no in-office cabal that has to learn new habits (and likely will resist doing so).
I'm also tired of hearing how silly startups can't do remote, but I don't think I'd hold up the kernel as an example that they could/should emulate.
It’s just poor quality planning and execution.
Your team is just improvising, figuring out as you go, what is exactly that you need to build.
It’s not even Agile. Agile is about tight loop upfront planning, and avoiding last-minute distruttive changes and meetings...
That's an abomination definition of agile, probably influenced by scrum. In the agile manifesto it says nothing about "tight loop upfront planing", however it does explicitly say:
> Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
> Responding to change over following a plan
While that doesn't mean all planning is bad (it isn't and the manifesto acknowledges that), the planning is not the agile part, it's the leftover of the original traditional management, because it is necessary to a certain degree (e.g. for alignment but also for a lot of other business related tasks).
If you're running a pure kanban approach, you don't even plan in tight loops and I had much better experience with that (and a single team lead with a good strategic vision) than I had with Scrum. Scrum is just easier to handle for big (old) organizations and gives developers some protection from bad management.
Sure it might be an abomination, but if we set the rhetoric aside for a minute we should consider the option that the context where Agile is applied isn't just RoR rockin' startups in the Bay. Lets call it dilution perhaps?
Besides, there's context. The Manifesto was drafted in a world still reeling in RUP and floor-wide teams marching towards quarterly releases.
That wasn't sustainable, but neither is "responding to change over following a plan" if that means moving targets every other day. That's a recipe for burn-out, and sprint commitments are sacred.
So yeah, context: respond to change means reassess every some sprint, not pivot 3 times a week.
/s (tongue in cheek people, life's too short for zealotry)
Potato potato. If you can get away with "poor quality planning" in person but not in remote, it doesn't matter what you call it.
If that's the case, you shouldn't be in the business unless you're in a junior/apprentice position (which is fine, one has to start somewhere.)
That doesn't mean I'm against remote work, by the way, we do a lot of it. But we need to be realistic about its limitations.
I'm convinced that remote work is something that works only for some people and some kinds of tasks. Anything that requires a lot of coordination sucks doing remote.
Our startup has gone through distinct phases -- It took us years to find product-market-fit and with that our ability to work remotely has gone through distinct phases that were obvious to the whole team.
At certain points it worked great, but once we moved from the idea testing phase to execution, we wanted to be face to face much more so that we could coordinate our work. Also since new hiring ramped, we have to prioritize face-to-face training.
We have a liberal remote working policy to the point where one of our team works from home almost all the time, whilst at the other end of the spectrum there are people who prefer to be in the office almost all the time, and then everything in between.
I fall somewhere in the middle. A day a week from home, particularly one with few or no meetings, can enable me to get a huge amount done. But I live alone so, whilst I am an introvert, I am not a misanthrope and need to ensure I get enough social contact.
Multiple consecutive days working from home can leave me feeling quite depressed and demotivated. I certainly wouldn't want to do it all the time.
I've had to do remote probably half dozen days in past couple of years. Here are some things I've observed:
1) As someone who do not regularly work from home, simply I'm not equipped well enough. I don't have extra monitors sitting around at home to hook up my laptop to give myself multiple monitors, for example, so I'm forced to work in a suboptimal setting.
2) Meetings can get tricky (Note: I also do language interpretation) I have mitigated this by hooking up my recording gear, which actually worked pretty decent.
3) Where there are clear objective for the day, it is relatively easy to handle. For anything other like supporting people who managed to show up at work remotely, was certainly harder part.
4) Everything becomes distractions. Something as simple as getting a cup of coffee. In other word I have to make one myself (or go out and get one myself) where at office I would have access to one close by or walk short distance to buy one.
I would probably sustain... maybe a week of remote at the most. Maybe regular remote workers have designed their life to work with it but certainly not for me. (Again, this also depending on the nature of tasks I need to get done.)
Most importantly, distractions from family members and lack of a boss looking over your shoulder means most people's productivity will be perhaps 20% of normal.
I felt this way for a very long time. Then I switched jobs and realized (1) there are some very good video conferencing tools that work even on 1 bar of LTE (2) a small investment in a camera/headset/microphone goes a long ways.
Call quality is easy to solve with decent hardware, a quiet office and proper muting (I see this work all the time with 10 to 100 person meetings.)
But I agree, better tools that integrate communication with project management is going to be a good space to try to build something in.
I'd need my employer to cover the bill because I'd need to bypass my IPS's 1tb cap and bump my upload speeds a bit to keep things working well. I do a lot of data transfers and archive management.
I don't know what kind of fairy tale world you're from, but you need actual human on site to fix and mend broken machines AND broken operation processes, and also need managers to manage those men.
Also, employees are stakeholders, too, and it's often important to gather various information to gain insights into the operations of the company, so that they can speak up before it's too late. Being able to observe actual processes also helps managers to more precisely understand and analyze operations. (Not that these work as intended in real world, tho.)
Otherwise i agree. Having just spent a week on-site at a client, you just notice a lot more problems (or start to understand the details of previously identified problems) that are in your capacity to fix.
Offset by a huge fall in depression by those who are introverts and don't function well in open floor plan office environments. Workspace happiness isn't universal.
Living in quarantine is ok so far. I am in a room with my wife and we are urged to keep contact with other people as small as possible. But in principle you can talk to others.
It is assumed that we can leave after 14 days, but in case there is a new positive case within the group they might to decide to reset the timer.