Johanna Rothman is a management consultant for software managers and leaders. She is also the author of many books. She started working with geographically distributed teams in 1988. The breadth of communication tools was very limited in that time, so resolving conflicts had to be done mainly through coming to an understanding through conversations and trying to see each other points of view.
Geographically distributed teams were originally set up for saving money. And the teams were usually set up from West to East meaning the testers were East, and the developers were West, which is the wrong way for "follow the sun", especially if you are doing product development. It's not about the money you save, it's about the speed of the throughput of the features. Teams are now experimenting with organizing themselves more from North to South which gives more opportunities for collaborative team building. For more stories, visit CollaborationSuperpowers.com.