Can We Make “Distance Matter” Less?

  • Gina Venolia

This is a presentation that I gave at UC Irvine summarizing the research my group has done that relates to distributed development.


Geographically distributed teams are increasingly common, yet present several challenges when compared to collocated teams – or as Judy and Gary Olson famously observed, “distance matters.” Our studies of collocated and distributed software development teams have revealed challenges in four key activities: communication in planned meetings, ad-hoc conversations, staying aware of teammates and their work, and building trust relationships between teammates. I will present observations of how collocated teammates do each of these activities, the special problems faced by remote teammates, and how remote teammates mitigate these challenges. I will identify several opportunities where new tools could make the remote experience more like – or even better than – the collocated experience, and go into detail on one potential design.