2008-12-17 07-29 Collaborative collaboration
We ended a bigish project last friday. For some reason I felt especially good about it. I haven't been able to deduct yet what is the main reason for that. But as pondering this publicly is also good marketing, I'll blog about my thoughts. I will catch two birds with one stone.
We were coordinating activities in 3 target countries. We had a project team which consisted collaborators from 5 different countries and 6 different companies. We had 6 different audit tasks that produced results in real-time, allowing co-ordinators and the client to actively participate during the whole project.
With this kind of crew and a number of tasks a project could easily fall into the trap where everyone is fiddling in their own corner, producing mediocre results. Then at the end everyone would provide their results and customer would then start pinpointing the inaccuracies and perhaps commenting that the results were not what they were looking for. As providing the results would be left to the last minute, the project would suffer further delays when we would start to sort them out together.
Yes. There is iterative model where there are milestones/checkpoints and so forth. However, I see a significant benefit when this is done almost in real-time. Everyone have the details fresh in their memory and adjustments to plans can be made before the project crew takes those expensive steps to the wrong direction.
Now the disclamers
I'm not claiming that everything went perfect. We still had to work in some areas to get everyone to the same page and to provide real-time situational awareness. But if I compare this project to the exceptations I have for the project without Collab-ideology - I would say that it would have been close to impossible to manage/coordinate/facilitate this kind of project crew. Thanks to this approach, we can actually bring the best brains (as my friend named it) to the project. We are more free from the constraints that geolocation and organizational borders typically create.
We are the collab in collaboration
Hmm.. now that I reflect these ponderings to the reasons we had to decline from a couple of projecrts in past few days, I notice a common denominator. The main reason for declining from couple of collaborative projects was that we have seen in the history that those projects typically end up to the situation I just described: everybody does their part independently and in the end the results are cut&pasted to the final report. In these cases we wouldn't have the position to dictate the real collaboration.
Thus I would like to end this blog to a corny slogan: we are the collab in collaboration. (Remember the Sun's old: we are the "dot" in ".com"). Collaboration term is over-heating, so this kind of satire would have it's place. Sadly it sounds a bit too corny and arrogant to be used as standalone slogan so I'll probably let it live only in this blog which puts it to a context.
Oh, and we got a nice CollabStats macro to provide real-time statistics about the usage of our Collab environment. Here it goes:
-- jani 2008-12-17 09:31:43
And who is the oration in collaboration? Ke ke ke.
-- jviide 2008-12-17 12:34:42