Friday, July 27, 2007

Muireann's time with the socGSD team coming to an end...

Today was Muireann's last day with us. We enjoyed a lot having her around this summer as a STARs teacher, and in a short time she has become part of our team.

She sat in most our team meetings during this period, joined us in attending talks and presentations, gave her moral support to our OSS conference presentation and participated as an observer in our recent meeting with the advisory group. She spent time with each of us, getting acquainted with our specific research interests, career trajectories and work.

She was also given the chance to meet with some of our colleagues in Lero: Ita Richardson, Brian Fitzgerald, Irene Caulfield, Val Casey, Sadhana Deshpande.

Pamela O'Shea gave her a Linux crash course. Gabriela tried to pass her the social software bug;-)

Our colleagues in the IDC adopted her as well, and she had the chance to find out about the other ongoing projects.
We were more than happy to have Muireann here with us for the summer, and she's more than welcome to visit the IDC in the future! We hope to keep in touch with her and her school in Carrigaline in the future...

Goodbye, Muireann, and thank you!

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Getting feedback on our work to date...

On Wednesday, July 17, our team had the chance to meet with our advisory group again (last meeting was in September last year).

James Wickham (from Trinity College Dublin), Seamas Kelly and Pamela Abbott (from University College Dublin) visited us for a day to discuss our research to date.

The whole team was present (Prof.Liam Bannon, Gabriela Avram, Anders Sigfridsson, Daniel Sullivan, Anne Sheehan and Michael Cooke). Muireann O'Brien, our STARs guest for the summer, joined us as well.
The morning was dedicated to presentations. Liam opened the meeting, presenting the current status of our research.
  • Anne came next, speaking about her work together with Anders on positioning our own work in the landscape of Global Software Development;
  • Anders spoke about our approach in studying the PyPy Open Source community using situated learning as lens; in connection with this, he commented on his intentions to focus his PhD thesis on learning in the workplace;
  • Daniel made an introduction in the topic of his master thesis (Defect Tracking Systems) and presented his latest observations from recent fieldwork.
  • Gabriela spoke about her field observations on collaborative work practices in GSD and the major topics she sees evolving: tools adoption, e-meetings, social networking in the corporate environment.
The ideas in each presentation were commented in detail both by our guests and by the other participants.

The afternoon was dedicated to discussing the current stage of our research and the future plans.

We all found the discussions extremely useful for our work. It was a real work meeting, in which we put into light both the strengths and the weaknesses we could see in our work and got useful feedback from the members of the advisory group (and Liam!). They confirmed the value of our approach and encouraged us to continue on the same lines.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

IBM innovation Centre opening July 11th 2007 at Damastown

Daniel attended this recent IBM event and is sharing his notes here:

As was previously announced by the former future leader of the main party in government and minister for Enterprise IBM have this past week opened what they describe as an Innovation Centre. It is very nice facility in part of building 6

I missed the introduction from Hans Ulrich Maerkl, Chairman of IBM EMEA as I had some other matters to attend to.

I came in just as the talk from Jim Corgel was hitting its stride it was primarily aimed at Venture Capitalists and companies that are thinking of partnering with IBM and he spoke of the ongoing roll out of Innovation centres or similar type facilities around Europe and he also spoke of the types of virtual supports that there will be.

Next up, we saw a video from Porto Media which was quite twee (as the owner himself admitted but the idea is very good - essentially you can download media such as movies in less than 20 secs to a USB stick from a Kiosk that can be placed anywhere. The kiosk takes up a sq metre of floor space and compared to say Blockbuster which has 8/900 moives per store, this device can have 4/5,000 movies. After the video we heard from the company’s owner Chris Armstrong who spoke about the problems of being taken seriously by the Venture Capital community in Ireland.

Next was BiancaMed, who are in the medical devices area. This may perhaps be more interesting from an wider IDC perspective. They is involved in proactive, non invasive monitoring of sleep, diet and exercise as part of its efforts in enhancing well-being. (I know it sounds a little too like a line from Lenina Husley in Demolition Man- " Enhance your calm, John Spartan") That said, I'd be curious about the technology, they use audio that gets analysed to monitor heart rate breathing and so on.

Next, Deborah Magid from IBM then spoke more about what IBM gives for Partner organisations. This presentation was a bit more buzzwordy. I'm pretty sure I heard synergy being used at least once. That said, IBM are really pushing that they are interested in partnering with companies and that they are interested in VCs funding some of those companies.

We broke for coffee at this point and there was some mingling.

Sandra Kearney - spoke at length about Web 2.0 and how Internet 3D is what IBM believes is the next stage in the web. She uses it herself to manage her teams who are distributed across Australia, the US and SE Asia. A ex-military person and pilot with 1500 hours flight time, I recall she mentioned 130s so I'm guess it was C130s.

Msoft spoke about how they use 2nd life for demoing what their product is all about. Their product is for tracking blood product in a hospital/clinical environment.

Nic Brisbourne spoke again about the VC environment and the opportunities involved. Only tangential about virtual worlds and 3D internet. If you click the link on his name you can read his perspective on the opening.

Ham Rambler or John Mahon (who is a pilot) spoke about Dublin in 2nd Life which he created and how that has been going. Talked about audio streaming and live music being played within 2nd life and how money can be made by the players of the music.

Then we had lunch - sandwiches on the go - and a tour of the new area. I spoke with Alexander Troussov about their work on Galaxy, it is quite intriguing and also the Lotus Connections work is interesting. Overall there was a pretty heavy business emphasis to the day and a considerable media in attendance. There were well over 200 people in all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Checking notes with an Indian software developer:-)

Today, Gabriela and Muireann had Sadhana Deshpande as guest in the IDC, a wonderful opportunity to discuss about cultural differences, entrepreneurship and gender in software development.

Sadhana recently joined Ita Richardson's research group as a research assistant, and we also explored possible collaboration directions together. She, together with her younger sister, started a software development company in India in the 90's and her portfolio includes some very important projects undertaken for the local government.

Gabriela brought into discussion some of the assertions encountered in interviews and publications regarding the collaboration with Indian software engineers, and it was extremely interesting to hear that things are not what they seem to be when we look at them through the lenses of Western culture!
Just a few examples:
  • Female Indian managers don't use their first names on business cards not because they are women, but because it's impolite to address any superior there on the first name!!
  • Indians are very adaptive when it comes to learning a foreign language other than English; they do this naturally, as India is a huge country and there are lots of languages spoken only in specific regions.
  • Indian developers who spent time working abroad are not rejected by their teams when returning to India; on the contrary, this is considered the norm - people should spend time abroad in order to refine their education and get acquainted to different cultures;
  • The high turnover in software development personnel the big multinational companies complain about is part of the Indian software development culture; changing jobs every 1-2 years is a way of advancing in their careers and learning about different technologies. This trend is manifested only in software development and associated industries.