Monday, April 30, 2007

Culture of Collaboration

Collaboration, collaboration, collaboration... how high do Eclipse committers value it? Is Eclipse missing something to help us as committers collaborate better amongst each other? I personally think so, especially after talking to some committers at Eclipse Forum Europe last week. Let me use an example from the field, there's a nameless independent committer on the Modeling project who has to use Skype, MSN, AIM, IRC and Yahoo just to communicate with his teammates (in real-time). From my point of view, that's kind of painful. For people who work in large companies where the committers on the project are mostly from the same company, it's not a problem since you have your own internal messaging system (I personally take this convenience for granted).

In my opinion, in order for Eclipse build diversity in the future, we need to create a culture of collaboration. To put it simply, we just need an easy way to talk to each other in real-time :)

I opened bug 126089 awhile ago with a proposed solution. The solution in its simplest form is an Eclipse Foundation XMPP server where all committers have accounts on (this would be part of getting your accounts provisioned when becoming a committer). If we really wanted to eat our own dog food, committers could use ECF to connect to this server (or their favorite messaging client).

What do committers think? Is this important? Do we really need yet another messaging system? If committers support this, I and the other committer representatives will do our best to make it happen.


Eugene Kuleshov said...

Collaboration is probably bad word. Well-organized team may really need very little if at all real-time online presence. In my experience, dev mailing list, personal emails, wiki and issue tracking system when actively used can practically negate the need urge to some person for technical details, so one short weekly conference call (even on Skype) for all team members can be sufficient.

Scott Lewis said...

Eugene's comment is one of the silliest and naive things I've ever read.

Of course real people need synchronous communication to work effectively and collaboratively. Any attempts to completely remove/eliminate synchronous communication/collaboration are fools errands. If you want research evidence of this just see
Can Absence Make a Team Grow Stronger