I work with a lot of foreign developers. For the most part I really enjoy it. I love talking to people around the world, and I love getting to know about them, and their lives.
But it can be difficult to get your point across on technical details of a minute failure on a complex piece of software.
I have a defect tracking system set up (Mantis, which I really like). I use spreadsheets, and PowerPoint. I’ve tried a lot of things to make communication easier.
Today I downloaded CamStudio and did a few screencasts of a couple errors I had been seeing. I sent the video to my Project Manager in Jordan and he loved it.
This is the same guy that wanted everything in detail in writing.
But a video changed his mind. The video (with my voice-over explaining the nature of the bug) was so much more helpful. The first video he saw was only 2 minutes long – but I had already spend 25 minutes trying to describe the error in text. A two minute video did a MUCH better job.
So I spent the rest of my day making 24 more videos – each just 1-3 minutes long. Each demonstrating and narrating a specific bug,
I think I”ll be doing this a lot more – in fact, I think ALL of the defects I enter will be at least accompanied with a video. Video just contains too much useful information for it not to be included!