Hein (fub) wrote,

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Using physical devices for team-building for geographically separated teams

I have been made the manager of a team that is going to build the document models for a client of ours. Six people will build the models, distributed across two, perhaps three, physical locations, hundred kilometers apart.

Building team spirit may be a challenge.

When I visited TOJ last tuesday (I had a lunch date with my former room mates), they told me of a bug-hunt that was organised to iron out the bugs of the product. They had placed a laptop with a large red button in the public room, with the buglist projected on the screen with a beamer. If you fixed a bug, you could press the large red button and a (very loud!) siren would sound to signal your accomplishment.
Brilliant idea -- one that I am going to steal wholeheartedly.

Last year, I made buttons for coronanl's anime music quiz during the Abunai anime convention. Quite similar to the Winamp Control Box, simple buttons connected to a serial port, with a small VB program to read out the lines and to trigger some action when the button is pressed.
So I am going to make two buttons. I have a colleague who has the right accent and voice to shout "Another model made!", and he has agreed to lend his cooperation. Add a small PHP script so that the VB programs can check the progress at the other locations, and you can hear whenever someone finishes a model at one of the other locations!

Unfortunately, the model builders from the client work on 'Network Computers', which are basically dumb terminals running a Citrix client. The software on the Citrix server doesn't have access to the USB or sound of the NC, so I can't give them a physical button. I can modify the VB program to react to a button click, and simply convey the information visually -- but it won't have the same 'feel', I'm afraid.
Still, we'll have that button in the project room in Nijmegen. The higher-ups loved the idea, and it's a fun project to do in a weekend.
Tags: electronics project, work

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