5

In my job people engaged in projects often work in separate departments. It means that they work in separate (1-2 person) rooms on different floors. Moreover project members differ greatly in experience.

This results in communication barriers. People with little experience do their parts alone, which results in poor quality.

How this can be overcome?

5

Sometimes it's helpful to create a "war room" and have everyone work in a single large space for a set period of time. It's especially useful on projects with short timelines and large communications requirements such as proposal development, but I've used it on software projects as well.

Edit:

In fact, the Crystal Clear software development methodology emphasizes the idea of Osmotic Communication - the importance of having your developers all in the same room, or very close to each other. His entire method can be summed up in one sentence:

The lead designer and two to seven other developers ... in a large room or adjacent rooms, ... using such as whiteboards and flip charts, ... having easy access to expert users, ... distractions kept away, deliver running, tested, usable code to the users … every month or two (quarterly at worst), ... reflecting and adjusting their working conventions periodically.

  • An occasional "Off Site" day can be really helpful, too. – SBWorks Feb 16 '11 at 8:47
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In my experience the best way would be by using common forms of technology. My entire work team is overseas. Skype screen sharing and face to face calls will usually overcome most of those obstacles. Their also has to be expectations set for senior level employees to facilitate growth and an understanding with new people of how the current organization accomplishes tasks - methodologies, communication channels, key stakeholders etc.

3

As above, Skype is vital for working in distributed teams.

In addition we use Mikogo a lot for screen sharing - being able to see what each other is working on is also vital and this allows remote control, easy switching of presenters and pointers etc. Best of all is it is free

Beyond that, some kind of project space is probably a good idea. We use Jira and Greenhopper for agile project planning but even things like a wiki also work really well.

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DaveParillo answert is right to me but with a couple of exceptions.

War rooms works ok on short periods of time, or in a specific task that requires collaboration. I have had experiences where a whole project is developed in war rooms, in the mid of the project (about 2 or 3 months for a small project) the environment will create a destructive behavior, more if the project team members are seniors. Everything in excess is bad. War rooms work fine in my experience only for 1.5 to 2 months, or for critical phases or when you want to junior team members acquire more experience, requirents definition, some modeling, early stages of programming.

Other option for the question is do pair programming, where a senior staff member is assigned with a jr staff member for an specific time and target.

  • +1 for pair programming. Also thing about codereviews to train unexperienced developpers – k3b Feb 23 '11 at 6:14
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Scrum method can help you, especially the daily scrum meeting. IT's a daily meeting of 15 minuntes max where the team is sharing info about the situation of the project. Speaking in turn, each member of the team explains what (s)he has done the day before, what (s)he will do today and are the problems (s)he meets. Purpose is to keep the schedule up to date and to struggle with problems together.

Another idea is to use a chat software to help the team to communicate. But for a developer team, it can be distracting, so it has to kept under control...

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