Press Release 2020 May 5
Colorado Springs, CO — Release: May 5, 2020. For immediate release.
Langr Software Solutions is re-releasing itself as a distributed company focused on helping software development teams deliver high-quality software, no matter where they are in the world–co-located and/or distributed. This relaunch represents a major version increment: We are unofficially, and geekily, Langr Software Solutions v3.0.
Version 1.0 was a sole proprietorship started by Jeff Langr in 2003, to provide general consulting services around XP, TDD, and agile practices. Version 2.0 represented the incorporation into Langr Software Solutions, Inc. in 2013. The incorporation came with a primary focus on team-level coaching, consulting, and training, with a core emphasis on technical excellence.
Challenges & version 3.0
In order to collaborate daily to develop software, physically co-located development teams are challenged with:
Long commute times due to the norm of heavy traffic in most major metropolitan areas
The health and environmental effects of increased pollution due to increased commute times
A drop in quality of life due to increased commute times
The high cost of metropolitan office space, which reduces profits and the ability for companies to offer competitive wages
Difficulty finding the right candidates in our area
Add to that the real risk of transmitting or contracting a disease, and we have many compelling reasons for seeking a better mode of working. Langr Software Solutions 3.0 is poised to help you transition to that better way: distributed software development.
How are we qualified to help?
Jeff Langr worked in centrally-located software development teams–located in places he had to commute to–for nearly three decades before spending a year as part of a distributed team in 2010. Even after that shared experience–or maybe partly as a result–Jeff and Tim Ottinger wrote “Rules for Distributed Teams” in 2011, an Agile in a Flash card in which the first rule was… Don’t.
As in, don’t be remote… unless you must.
Further interactions with customers, however, broadened Langr’s experience with distributed development. From 2013 to 2016, he worked in a completely flat, completely distributed organization, where he helped deliver software every few days to a Fortune 500 customer. During this time, Jeff paired and mobbed regularly with developers working throughout North America.
Subsequently, Jeff has provided remote services to numerous customers, some for extended periods of time.
Our team of highly-experienced partners and contractors similarly have considerable experience in software development, both co-located and remote.
“Is it still possible to be agile when we’re distributed?”
We believe that the values and principles outlined in the agile software development manifesto provide the best foundation for continually delivering to the changing demands of customers and market forces. (Note that we are not otherwise strong adherents to any particular agile methodogy such as Scrum or SAFe, though we have considerable expertise with them.)
We definitely agree with the agile principle that face-to-face communication is “the most efficient and effective method of conveing information and within a development team.” While the principles don’t explicitly say so, physically face-to-face communication is superior to virtually face-to-face. Distributed conversations, with faces linked only through cameras, result in information loss due to things like hallway conversations, unseen body language, and audio clarity.
Still, the benefits of virtual communication are significant and represent a legitimate tradeoff for co-located teams. Better quality of life, lower cost of overhead / ownership, the right people for the job, a better environment, and physical safety are all significant gains. The tools have also gotten better over the years, and so have we.
You recognize the many challenges of distributed development
With your team working from home or remote offices, you will need to compensate in many areas. Some of the numerous challenges:
Coordination. When you don’t see everyone, it’s hard to get their attention. You’d like to just walk around for 30 seconds to round everyone up for a quick meeting, but it’s not so easy.
Distractions. People working alone tend to drift off at times. Email, slack, and cell notifications are hard enough to deal with in the office place. Add to that family members, doorbells, house phones, and dogs, all demanding attention.
Interpersonal issues. Even in a co-located space where team members sit in cubes near each other, problems like personality clashes tend to fester. Remotely, you might never have a clue there’s a problem. Left unchecked, inter- or intra-team conflict can sabotage your efforts.
Social considerations. Human contact and social interaction is an important part of building healthy and successful teams. What happens when that’s no longer physically occurring?
Technical issues. What happens if a team member goes offline because their network’s down? How do you keep remote coding from being frustrating for developers?
Based on all these challenges and more, you might quickly think succeeding with distributed teams entails a lot more careful management and control. That’s not necessarily true. A hint: You know that team members who actively collaborate produce better results.
You need a team that thrives with remote development.
We’ve been there. We’ve worked through all these challenges, and we know how to begin to address them all. We would love to help you. PLEASE REACH OUT.
Curious about the site’s new look?
The theme of the site has been updated to reflect the new focus on distributed teams. (The prior site had a more provincial feel.)
The new site uses Jekyll to help simplify content maintenance; it also provides an improvement in the area of responsive design.
The website was redesigned by Smarty Pixels. I enjoyed working with John Ernsthausen, the online marketer and web developer at Smarty Pixels. John professionally handled every step of the process. I highly recommend Smarty Pixels for anything online. VISIT.
Let us know what you think of the new site!
Name: Jeff Langr
Organization: Langr Software Solutions