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The Design of Design

May 14, 2010 9:16:56.864

I haven't finished reading Fred Brooks' latest: "The Design of Design: Essays from a Computer Scientist" yet, but I really like what I've read. It's easy to read and quite pleasant; Brooks lets you know what he's thinking without a ton of jargon, and uses examples (the design of a beach house he was involved in) that are easy to grasp and make sense.

This bit, from a section on "telecollaboration" really struck true for me, based on the geographically dispersed team I work with at Cincom:

The most successful telecollaborations I have known have been built on extensive face-time histories, and even those have required some face time during ongoing telecollaboration. Absent such histories, travel is worth what it costs in money and time

A lot of people discount that, but I think it's very, very true. The less well people know each other, the easier it is to misconstrue an email, or the tone of voice in a skype chat. Face time isn't a cure all; you'll still have personality conflicts to deal with - but it will get people to know each other's quirks, and make allowances for them.

Anyway, there's a lot more in that book - it's just that what I posted above really hit home for me. Once I finish the book, I'll post more thoughts on it.

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posted by James Robertson

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