Last weekend, I was super-honored to be a guest speaker at the Haas Berkeley MBA program. My session was part of their “Global Teams” module, where they cover the theory and practice of effective teamwork, managing in global companies, and managing in fluid/rapidly changing environments.
My host, Homa Bahrami, invited me to show how Mozilla’s Release Engineering group has pushed the envelope, and had developed a well-tested concrete set of tips+tricks which allow a geo-distributed group to work highly effectively.
People’s attention was caught right at the start by my summary and graphic showing just how distributed Mozilla’s RelEng group actually is:
* 16 people
* 15 locations
* 4 non-adjacent timezones
* 0 in “headquarters”
The fact that any group could work together this effectively while being so geo-distributed was startling to them. Add to that, the fact that this group has been able to create strategic-level improvements to Mozilla’s software development abilities, hence increasing Mozilla’s options in the marketplace, generated even more interest.
Overall, the entire session was lively and interactive, with great questions, and discussions back-forth across the room. Everyone was fully engaged all the way… even after the lunch food arrived, we continued the discussions in the corridor outside the room.
I was delighted by the insightful questions, and very interested to hear the different perspectives that everyone brought from their varied backgrounds outside the MBA program.
For me, personally, I found it re-affirming to hear that the tips+tricks that we’ve built up within RelEng over the years are applicable to other groups, and other organizations.
It was a thoroughly wonderful experience. Big thanks to Homa for the invite, and to everyone for their full-on engagement.
[For a PDF copy of the entire presentation, click here or on the smiley faces! For the sake of my poor blogsite, the much, much, larger keynote files are available on request.]