Virtual project development (was: Extropians Ltd.)

James Rogers (
Mon, 02 Jun 1997 18:40:59 -0700

At 07:29 AM 6/2/97 -0700, Chris Thompson wrote:
>There are many many things at which you could do as a nomad. Freelance
>writing, programming, system administration, web authoring. You could
>set up a web page which generates revenue, either from Advertisments
>or merchandise sales. And if you set yourself up with the right
>structure, you could live on considerably less than you think.
>I am Internet Administrator for a major US VAR. My only need for
>actually being here at my desk is twofold. A) On rare occasions I need
>physical access to our machines to reboot them. This is being migrated
>to our 24 hour operations staff. B) To make my boss feel like he's in
>control. The main barrier to working from home is political.

I can give a very concrete example of mobile working. I recently finished
a software development project where the members of the development team (
10-15 developers over the life of the project ) were not physically
co-located at all. The job was in Los Angeles, but most of the work was
done in Silicon Valley, Washington D.C., and Germany by individual
developers on their own time schedule. The project and code management
made heavy use of the Internet and telephone.

This is not only a cheaper way to work ( low overhead ), but is in many
ways more efficient as well. We created a virtual development team to
suit the particular project. Due to the difficulty of getting everyone
into one location, meetings were only held when absolutely necessary ( a
major efficiency multiplier! ).

I normally work from home, but a couple of the developers were literally
travelling through various parts of the world as they worked on this (have
modem, will travel!).

Some stats on the type and size of this project for those interested:

750,000 lines of code, $1.5M total cost, and 10 months of development effort.
The project involved the development of the core business app for France
Telecomm's GlobeCast conglomerate.
It is believed to be the world's largest and most sophisticated
Oracle-based Intranet application and involved the development of many
tools and techniques which I still haven't seen developed anywhere else.

-James Rogers