Coordinating Large Scale Global Engineering

My group at Sun is about 200 people spread across 8 global sites.  We have at least 8 people in all the following locations:

  • Menlo Park, CA, USA
  • Santa Clara, CA, USA
  • Broomfield, CO, USA
  • Colorado Springs, CO, USA
  • Grenoble, France
  • Tel Aviv, Israel
  • Bangalore, India
  • Beijing, China

Coordinating a team this large is a big challenge.  That's why I'm in Bangalore this week meeting a team that recently joined the organization.  While there is no substitute for "face time" we've been recently discussing how we can make much better use of technology to promote collaboration.  One things a few of us decided to try was Skype's new video tools.  Sun has a large scale video conferencing system, but getting access to the rooms is a pain, and you can't use them in your PJs in the middle of the night from home.

Kier Gombart is the Director of Platform Engineering and Operations for my team.  He and I decided to try out the Skype tools.  He lives in Oregon and works there out of his home office.  We've been having our one-on-one meetings via skype.  Here's a picture of what it looks like.

 

Kier is in the big window and I'm in the small inset window.  You can even pull it out of the smaller window and get a larger view.  Here's another picture.  The quality is actually quite amazing!  The frame rates are good, and lip movements sync up well -- even over an 802 wireless connection on my side.



Even though it's not face-to-face, it really helps to be able to see people.  As we have people working across all these sites to build Sun Connection 2.0 this might be a tool that could really help people connect.  The service is free, and the hardware is cheap.  Here's the hardware I'm using.  I picked it up at the local Fry's Electronics for about $50.  Try it out.

Hopefully Kier doesn't kill me for posting his picture. :-)

Comments:

At least I was not in my PJs!

Posted by Kier Gombart on January 23, 2007 at 09:41 AM PST #

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Thoughts on cloud computing, virtualization and data center management from Steve Wilson, Oracle engineering VP.

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