A Test Odyssey: Building a High Performance, Distributed Team

Matthew Heusser, Socialtext

It seemed simple enough-hire the best available technical staff that would work from home to build some great software. Along the way, the team encountered the usual problems: time zone differences, communication headaches, and a surprising regression test monster. Matt Heusser describes how Socialtext built their high-performance development and test team, got the right people on the bus, built a culture of "assume good intent and then just do it," created the infrastructure to enable remote work, and employed a lightweight yet accountable process. Of course, the story has the impossible deadlines, conflicting expectations, unclear roles, and everything you'd get in many development projects. Matt shares how the team cut through the noise, including building a test framework integrated into the product, to achieve their product and quality aims. Take away a list of technologies that make remote work possible, cultural ideas to make it effective, and some things to try on Monday-plus, some apparently good ideas that you definitely want to avoid!

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