I've often wondered about the logistics of placing a couple of small video cameras in the room so that you can record the whole meeting. Then you'd make this available via the office network to the participants' computers --RogerLipscombe
The problem with video recordings is that they don't work as a summary of the meeting. Reviewing the meeting "notes" in video takes as long as the original meeting. Result: no one ever refers to the video. -- PaulHudson
At SD99West, AlistairCockburn
recommended creating a written INDEX of the video, listing topics and where they are. He reported a conversation with someone who had done this and found it to be much more useful. Alistair?
When I was taking my SmalltalkApprenticeProgram
back in 1989-1990 we captured a "day's end wrap-up" on video every day. It was about 15 minutes of video that would pan over CRC cards, whiteboard diagrams, and demos, with accompanying verbiage. Reviewing those sure made it easier to write up the documentation later.
(There was a side-effect to this, though. Both CharleneBenson
and I are natural hams. By the end of our six week apprentice program we were doing "themes", like the "Siskel and Ebert" review, the "Star Trek" review, etc.) I still pull out those video tapes every couple of years for a laugh.
From my Non Linear People paper available on my home site or www.crystalmethodologies.org (no longer working -- try http://alistair.cockburn.us/crystal
"The above model also allows us to make a recommendation for archival documentation:
"Have the designer give a short (5-20 minute) description of the design to one or two colleagues who are not familiar with the work. They will act as ombudsmen for the viewers of the videotape. Let the people simply have a discussion of the design, with the colleagues asking questions as they need. Video the discussion. At the end, produce drawings of the examples used in the discussion, or the design drawings used, to act as mnemonic anchors of the discussion.
"I was pleased to hear from Lizette Velasquez of Lucent Technologies that not only had she profitably already used that technique, but that I had forgotten to mention something important. She said it is also important to mark and index places where "something interesting happened". While much of the discussion proceeds at a relatively slow pace, occasionally a question triggers a flurry of significant discussion, and the viewers will want to refer back to those sections.
"These days, it is possible to put the talk online with hyperlinked media.
For those who still think a book is best, consider the excellent but difficult book Design Patterns. Imagine that instead of trying to extract the meaning of the "Decorator" pattern from the paper, you could click on the page and see one of the authors explaining the pattern in a video clip. They would, of course, rely on tonal inflections, gestures, and timing to get the idea across.
"The lesson of this human characteristic is that we should try to move team communications up the curve as far as possible, given the situation at hand."
Use Technology to Break Videos Into Clips
Video takes too long to watch.
Break the video into clips and put it on to a CD or a web page, instead of putting it on to a VHS tape. Once you break the video into clips, you can refactor the video documentation more easily.
Editing video is time consuming.
Defer the editing process until some one else views the video. That way, the editing of the video becomes a learning process. The new programmer will help you identify where to break up the video, and that gives both parties new insight about the design.
We hire a secretary and do minutes. Graphics/photographs may be embedded, though notations need to be converted into text. Videos are extraordinarily inefficient, and tends to leave open questions unanswered. Furthermore they are difficult to link into compound documents and not portable. I'm sure Lucent likes the idea (maybe they'll avoid going bust if people use enough bandwidth :)). So, video meetings, sure, but archive as real text. Otherwise style becomes an issue, and it should not be.
It all depends on how you define "efficiency":
- no information lost (including a lot of nuanced non-verbal communication)
- no time wasted transcribing and filtering
- no secretaries to hire
- quicker to read minutes than watch video
- don't have to store tape
- don't have to set up camera on tripod
See also DigitalCamera