Industry Updates

Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Report (April 3, 2008)

The People Part of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • John has been reading a new book for lawyers on Collaboration Tools and Technologies. The point he really likes: “The book is a goldmine of concrete suggestions – many of which don’t involve a lot of investment, but making the most of the tools you already have. In fact, that’s one of the main lessons of the book, in my view. People already have a number of collaboration tools which most often are either not used or poorly used. By putting some thought into your workflow, you can make collaboration dramatically more efficient with the tools you already have.
  • Three ways to build better engagement within a team: (a) define the external contest / threat / challenge, (b) get team members to pledge their commitment, and (c) provide engrossing challenges.
  • Shawn shares insightful comments on fostering a culture of collaboration: the technology is well and fine, but “At the heart of the problem is collaboration culture. Does the organisation have a culture that supports collaboration? And if not, how do you change your culture to be more supportive?” Shawn gives some pointers: (1) appoint a collaboration co-ordinator, (2) create a network of collaboration supporters, (3) help people understanding the process of collaboration, (4) ensure the collaboration co-ordinator reports regularly to senior leaders, (5) get the most from your collaboration tools, (6) start communities of practice, (7) promote good collaborators and hold back bad ones, and (8) practice collaborating for when a crisis occurs. Apparently there’s a white paper coming out on all of this.

The Technology Trends of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • Microsoft announced a new partnership with Telligent, for integrating the Tellgient Community Server with SharePoint. Key capabilities: single sign-on and Web part integration, enterprise grade blogging tools, discussion forums, social streams for updates, and reporting tools for social networking and collaboration. Beta available mid-April.

Insights on Being Productive and Effective as an Individual

  • Three reasons why we think we don’t have enough time: (a) we can’t concentrate, (b) we have an overwhelming feeling of stress, and (c) we have a lack of motivation. “The inability to concentrate, he says, is exacerbated in modern humans by the number of distractions we face. When our attention is caught, three things happen: a heightened sense of alertness, a focus on one thing to the exclusion of others, and a concentration of mental energy on the thing we’re focused on. This 3-part instinctive reaction to stimulus is addictive; we like the feeling. The more stimuli that are available, the more we end up distracted from giving sufficient attention on anything to be productive. The process of learning to concentrate therefore requires us to practice giving our attention to one thing, and avoiding distraction.
  • Three keys to completing a large project: (1) know the hard deadline, (2) set intermediate soft deadlines, and (3) employ the “Martini Method”. “What I call the Martini Method is named after an anecdote I once read about the novelist Anthony Burgess (of Clockwork Orange fame). Burgess was a very productive writer, which is attributed to a system where he would force himself to write a 1000 words a day, 365 days a year. When he had completed his word count, he would relax with a dry martini, and enjoy the rest of the day with an easy conscience, and normally in bar.
  • Tim says the four-hour work week isn’t for him. He likes his work too much.

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