Instantly Connecting Developers Across The Miles


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This new white paper examines the key challenges remote developers and teams face while exploring the advantages of leveraging an online collaboration solution to instantly connect, eliminate travel and expedite projects.

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Instantly Connecting Developers Across The Miles

  1. 1. White paper Instantly connecting developers across the miles How new technology accelerates the success of development teams
  2. 2. Like a team of star football players, software developers need to keep the communication lines open and work rapidly to move projects toward the goal line. However, the growing reliance on remote programmers means team players are not all on the same playing field, making it much harder to score. Shrinking travel budgets mean remote programmers won’t be able to physically come together, increasing pressure on development directors. When the team is distributed, developers often leverage instant messaging, email and conference calls to move projects along. If programmers are not able to rapidly share their ideas and concerns, production schedules move in slow motion. What can be done to speed the efficiency of remote programmers? Is there an easy way to empower When programmers are in programmers to collaborate, regardless of their physical locations? remote locations, they are forced to employ time- To meet these challenges, many software development teams are turning to real-time online consuming processes that collaboration solutions. Designed to provide all the advantages of physically being in a single location, take them away from their these solutions allow remote developers to share their screens and interact live with their peers from core responsibilities any location. This white paper will examine key developer challenges and reveal the many advantages of real-time online collaboration solutions. Challenges facing remote developers Nothing beats face-to-face communication. However, booking flights to bring the team together is no longer an option for most developers. “People continue to go through tough times and cut back in travel. We are seeing some businesses that have a mandate to cut travel 30 to 50 percent,” said Frost & Sullivan analyst Roopam Jain.1 The ability to grab a programmer’s eye is much more difficult when that person is outside the office. The benefits of white boarding a concept or reviewing code with peers are replaced by time-consuming documentation, tedious screen captures, detailed markups and endless phone calls. Managing remote programmers can also be challenging. As one development director explained, “I have to make extra effort to maintain the quality of interactions and beware of how I say things, as my body language is not communicated via a telephone call.”2 Morale challenges also emerge. One remote programmer described, “I’ve learned to cope with a lot, and adapted my work habits. It has forced me to become much better at communication, and describing the what, why and how of my programming. I believe that remote pairing is physically, emotionally and intellectually taxing. If I was 100% remote, I don’t think I could handle it long-term.”3 When programmers are physically separated, a lot more time is needed for explaining and documenting rather than brainstorming and coding. For example, regular conference calls are often necessary to keep everyone on task and ensure issues are discussed in a public forum. When programmers are not physically there, they might be tempted to mute their phone, leave the room or perform some other activities, fully disengaging from the meeting. A lack of visual communication also makes it hard for people to convey their ideas. 1 Boulton, C. (December 12, 2008). eWEEK. Web conferencing fills void in tight times. 2 Sepulveda, C. (July 2003). IEEE. Agile development and remote teams: Learning to love the phone. 3 Wooley, C. (December 18, 2008). Pivotal Labs Blog. Best remote pairing settings 2008. 2
  3. 3. These issues reduce the overall productivity of development teams, creating significant opportunity costs as the team struggles to meet shrinking development windows. Fortunately, new technology is changing the way remote programmers communicate. Greater pressure to do more When the team is The sluggish economy puts more pressure on developers to release new software to spur sales and expected to produce retain existing clients. Add competitive pressures by more nimble competitors and the development more within shrinking time manager faces major challenges. As more progress must be made more quickly, having an efficient and budget windows, the development team is essential. communication limits of When programmers are expected to do more, yet they cannot adequately share ideas and issues, remote programmers deter quality often suffers. The result can be a lack of thorough testing or proper oversight that creates a progress never-ending cycle of developers reacting to problems, instead of moving forward on their projects. A brief examination of the history of collaboration technology provides further insight. Brief history of remote collaboration As email became commonplace in the early 1990s, developers began analyzing the benefits of hiring Over the last 20 years, remote talent. Email made it very easy for remote programmers to document their thoughts and technology has evolved transmit them to others. However, email always needed to be augmented by regular phone calls. to allow programmers to By the late 1990s, shared file spaces allowed programmers to store documents in a central working easily collaborate over hub. However, the general mindset at the time was still to keep most programmers in a single room, long distances enabling white boarding and team collaboration. As instant messaging grew in popularity around 2000, remote programmers were able to keep a constant line of communication open, easily sending code back and forth. These one-to-one communications reduced phone calls and helped keep remote developers engaged, but did not replace regular group meetings or the need to visually present ideas. Around 2002, Microsoft® SharePoint® grew in popularity, allowing developers to work collaboratively on a document. This did allow remote programmers to work in concert, but did not replace the need for regular conference calls. Around 2004, early Web conferencing solutions allowed development directors to show what was on their screens to their remote teams, allowing everyone to see the same thing. However, the technology was sometimes difficult to set up and required high bandwidth connectivity, often resulting in serious lag times. Web conferencing was more viable for presenting PowerPoint® presentations than for actually examining any dynamic content or real code. By 2006, improved bandwidth allowed more developers to go remote. Many of the kinks had been worked out of early Web conferencing solutions. By 2008, the transmission of Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) became mainstream. New solutions began integrating voice, chat and collaboration into a single application, bringing a new level of communication to remote developers. 3
  4. 4. The next step: real-time online collaboration Real-time online Designed to empower remote programmers to effortlessly communicate with each other, real-time collaboration allows online collaboration solutions are providing significant competitive advantages to development programmers to talk, teams. Now, anything that can be displayed on a monitor can be shared simultaneously with anyone, text chat and show anywhere, eliminating the communication challenges faced by remote programmers. Adding real-time remote peers anything voice communication, these solutions provide all the audio and visual elements of in-person meetings. that’s on their screen, greatly enhancing Running as Software as a Service (SaaS), these solutions provide real-time connections among two or communication more programmers. Not only can they share code, spreadsheets and presentations, programmers can also remotely operate and demonstrate live running applications. Combining screen sharing, remote control, text messaging, and VoIP-based and traditional telephony into a single fully integrated Web-based application, real-time online collaboration provides all the benefits of physically being in the same room. Now, remote developers can effortlessly come together to talk, show and document their ideas. All that’s needed is a Web connection. With real-time online collaboration, remote programmers can collaborate on software code, enable anyone to control any machine and dynamically show what is on any programmer’s screen. Figure 1: A remote programmer can immediately launch a live session and review code with a group of remote peers. 4
  5. 5. The benefits of real-time online collaboration Real-time online collaboration provides many benefits to remote programmers and development directors, including: • Speeds development time by allowing programmers to work more closely together, regardless of physical location • Reduces the need for travel by allowing remote programmers to immediately collaborate via the Web • Speeds decision making and project schedules by allowing developers to visually convey anything • Allows spontaneous collaboration for easy troubleshooting • Reduces the barriers of communication, allowing developers to work together more efficiently • Provides a dynamic visual component to conference calls, improving participant engagement • Ensures voice and visuals work with a single solution, eliminating logistics of working with different systems • Eliminates per-minute fees • Drives innovation by reducing resistance to communicate among team members • Accomplishes everything achievable in a face-to-face meeting without time-consuming and expensive travel • Allows other people within the company to quickly join a session and share their screens to help troubleshoot issues • Optimizes programmers’ time by allowing them to communicate with their peers remotely at any time • Allows worldwide voice communication without a telephone, eliminating long-distance bills What to look for in a real-time online collaboration solution When seeking a real-time online collaboration solution to assist remote programmers, consider the following important requirements: One-click meetings: Seek a solution that makes it easy to instantly begin an impromptu session with a single click from within Outlook, an instant-messaging application or from the desktop. Optimized for screen sharing: Make sure the technology was built specifically for screen sharing, eliminating the need to upload documents to a central server and ensuring fast transmission of what is displayed on the session leader’s screen. Instantly change control: The ideal solution should enable any participant to immediately take control of a remote programmer’s screen or show something on his or her local screen. Redundant global data centers: Work with a company that has redundant data centers located around the globe, ensuring that the system will always be operational, regardless of regional usage spikes. Push-button recording: Look for the ability to record and play back meetings without special plug-ins. This allows developers to easily share recorded meetings with peers. Integrated audio conferencing: The solution should include an audio conferencing bridge at no extra cost that also features VoIP-based audio. Make sure the solution can effortlessly combine the recording of VoIP-based audio, telephone-based audio and the visuals for easy playback. Real-time refresh rates: Make sure participants can see exactly what the session leader sees—when he or she sees it—ensuring what is said tracks with what is shown. Easy and expandable chat: Look for a solution that allows the chat window to be easily expanded, allowing others joining a meeting to easily catch up on any prior messages. Flat-rate pricing: Choose a solution that offers flat-rate pricing for Web conferencing, VoIP and teleconferencing, regardless of use. This helps in establishing budgets and eliminating unexpected costs. 5
  6. 6. Operates transparently in the background: Look for a solution that operates transparently to users and does not take over the entire screen for presenters and participants. Automatically scales large displays: Seek a solution that will dynamically scale larger screens to fit the screens of other participants, and includes the ability to zoom in to view larger displays. Identifies the active speaking participant: To help everyone know who is speaking, look for a solution that displays the name of the speaking party to improve communications. The GoToMeeting Corporate advantage Citrix® GoToMeeting® Corporate empowers remote programmers to greatly improve their communication by remotely sharing anything on their computer desktop. The award-winning solution is helping developers around the globe improve their efficiency. Recent awards include Frost & Sullivan’s 2008 Web Conferencing Company of the Year and Small Business Computing’s 2008 Excellence in Technology award. Designed to meet all the requirements outlined in this paper, GoToMeeting Corporate also offers the following advantages: • Easy to use, GoToMeeting Corporate enables programmers to begin collaborating right away, without any training. • Patented bandwidth-adaptive compression technology ensures exceptional performance and successful sessions over any Internet connection. • All You Can Meet® pricing eliminates meeting duration limits, per-minute telephone fees and overage charges, encouraging programmers to use the service as often as they’d like, which increases their productivity. • Industry-standard security features are built in to ensure that confidential meeting information remains private. GoToMeeting Corporate also includes a full array of functionality, including: • Fully integrated audio, text messaging and screen sharing: VoIP, a traditional bridge line, onscreen chat and screen sharing are fully integrated into a single Web-based application. • One-click meetings: By simply clicking an icon, a programmer can begin a meeting. • Instant leader change: Participants can pass control among themselves, allowing anyone to control a remote desktop or display what is on his or her screen. • Easy integration: Meetings can be initiated, scheduled or joined through Microsoft® Outlook®, Microsoft Office®, IBM® Lotus Notes® or from various instant-messaging applications. • Full or partial desktop viewing: Eliminating the need to upload content, the solution allows a programmer to show an entire desktop or a specific application. • Cross-platform compatible: Supports Windows and Mac® operating systems to ensure all programmers can meet together. • Toll-free support: Live support technicians are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist in any way. GoToMeeting Corporate in action SolidWorks Corporation has more than 200 programmers working from five different research and development locations around the world. As the leading supplier of 3D mechanical design software, the company develops products that help businesses create everything from motorcycles to medical devices. “Our developers don’t want to just talk about ideas—they want to see them and point to them,” said Brian Harrison, SolidWorks’ director of platform development. They employed GoToMeeting to help their programmers better collaborate. “We present an idea and then pass around the presentation baton so different people can show their desktops,” said Harrison. 6
  7. 7. GoToMeeting not only helps SolidWorks save time, it increases innovation. “The ‘eureka’ moments Citrix Online happen more frequently because everyone can see an accurate visual,” explained Harrison. Citrix Online division Harrison, who uses a 30-inch monitor, likes the automatic scaling capabilities. “That’s important in our development environment because we don’t have to change the resolution of our monitors so Product information: everyone matches up. There’s no need to use scroll bars,” said Harrison. Able to start a meeting in seconds, GoToMeeting is helping SolidWorks improve the productivity of its Sales inquiries: entire team. And Harrison added, “On a personal level, the Citrix product saves me at least four weeks Phone: 1-800-372-6207 of travel a year, and my family appreciates it.” +1-805-690-2340 Take your development team’s performance to the next level with GoToMeeting Corporate. Media inquiries: For a free evaluation of GoToMeeting Corporate or to learn more about real-time online collaboration, Phone: +1-805-690-2969 please call 1-800-372-6207 or visit If you’re calling from outside the United States, please call +1-805-690-2340. For more information on Citrix GoToMeeting Corporate, visit About Citrix Online Citrix Online provides secure, easy-to-use online solutions that enable people to work from anywhere with anyone. Whether using GoToMyPC® to access and work on a remote PC, GoToAssist® to support customers or GoToMeeting® to hold online meetings and Webinars, our customers – more than 35,000 businesses and hundreds of thousands of individuals – are increasing productivity, A Division of Citrix Systems, Inc. decreasing travel costs and improving sales, training and service on a global basis. A division of Citrix Systems, Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS), Citrix Online is based in Santa Barbara, California. For more information, visit or call +1-805-690-6400. © 2009 Citrix Online, LLC. All rights reserved. Citrix® is a registered trademark of Citrix Systems, Inc., in the United States and other countries. GoToMyPC®, GoToAssist® and GoToMeeting® are trademarks or registered trademarks of Citrix Online, LLC, in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 19328/3.6.09/PDF 7