Just ahead of the latest typhoon I escaped from Japan, where I also survived a 5.7 earthquake as well as my keynote for the first IBM Rational Software Development Conference which drew around 1,500 attendees. I always enjoy my time in Tokyo: the city is quite electric (literally and figuratively), I can find the best uni, the Park Hyatt Tokyo is one of the classiest hotels in the world, and there are some very cool projects with which to work. Alas, at the moment, I'm attached to the web via a supremely inferior connection which makes it painful to even type, so I'll have to defer the juicy details until I find a fatter pipe.
I was asked a most interesting question by one of the Japanese press: do I see any differences in development styles around the world? Warning lights flashed in my head, telling me that this was a classic black hole and that crossing its Schwarzschild radius would permit me to offer a really stupid answer that in turn would shower me with hate mail and proffer a visit to the principal's office. Emboldened by terminal jet lag, I gave a politically correct response (i.e. one void of any identifiable useful information). In retrospect, however, I can make the following observations (which, I must add, are my own and not representative of any other person, living or dead, or of any large, multinational corporations whose intials are each one off that of HAL): moving from east to west, I find - very much on average - European developers to be more formal, US East coast developers to be more conservative, US West coast developers to be greater risk-takers, and Asian developers to be more methodical.
Please please PLEASE don't read too much into these broad generalizations, for the microclimate of each individual team is unique, and I mean nothing pejorative by any of these terms. In the end, software development has been, is, and will remain fundamentally hard, and each team has to face its own demons, wrestling them to the ground with all the best moves and practices and tools that they have at their disposal.