Bicoastal Approach to Engineering

March 20th, 2012 § 2 comments

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this is incredibly important – how to keep two parts of remote organization connected:

Foursquare Tries a Bicoastal Approach to Engineering

Some companies are almost entirely virtual, like blog host Automattic. Others grow through acquisitions, like what Groupon is doing in the Bay Area – piecing together a tech team thousands of miles from its Chicago headquarters. Another strategy is to build strategic outposts, like Facebook’s new engineering office in New York.

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via: allthingsd.com

we are doing many things in a similar way over at Zemanta.

Since our Ljubljana office is much larger than NY one, we only have a big screen in Ljubljana, but as soon as we set that up, everybody started using it for cross-ocean meeting. I’m actually thinking we will need a second one soon. we’ve learned that sound quality is much more important than anything though.

ever since our NY office was just one person, I insisted on making weekly check-in meetings with everyone. it has grown to be a well-self-moderated debrief from both sides. it turned out that on every meeting several people are dialing in, because they are traveling, sick, or just work remotely. point being: don’t make it an excuse for not having a meeting, embrace the remoteness.

and travel – we realized that US and EU cultures are so much different, that it’s essential for everyone to get to know the other. so we do 1 or 2 all-company weeks per year, where everyone from US comes to work from Ljubljana (and more than just work of course). at the same time, there is almost always someone of the developers working from NY office, just for the kicks of it.

and despite all these efforts, quite often a mediation is required, because people assume the other person is thinking about something else.

you might recall the Sunscreen verse: “Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle” – well, it’s true for the people you work with, not just friends.

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