Industry Updates

Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams Report (May 29, 2008)

The People Part of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • If you are going to work from home or be part of a virtual team, have a strategy to deal with loneliness. Some ideas: get the in-person contact from others (eg, not your work colleagues), go into the office now-and-then, and look to your family to provide the balance.
  • Dave says that sharing is for sissies, and collaboration is personal. “What makes the PC successful as a personal productivity tool has also been its biggest obstacle toward better collaboration: the fact that it is personal. And the more powerful PCs become, the more difficult it is to collaborate with them.
  • The work approach of the future is much like the work approach of the past: we want to be together. Jim reflects on a speech from 1999, writing “my main theme was why people come together into teams, workplaces and cities to work. Fundamentally, it is to interact with each other and to gain access to services and goods. It is the bringing together of people in informal and formal regular physical contact that has enabled society to develop to where it is today. Workplaces, cities, and organisation such as companies are the means of doing that. This led me into an attack on a myth popular at the time that cities were inefficient because of traffic, pollution, commuting time, etc.. Telecommuting and teleconferencing from smaller centres was seen as the great future for clerical and knowledge-based workers. It was a naive idea even then.
  • It’s up to the meeting coordinator to draw out the quiet people on a teleconference. “Allow that air time, and ask participants directly if they have questions or if they have anything to add. But don’t spring it on them. As I mentioned, especially depending on the individual or on the culture, you want to give them some notice that you’re going to do that.

The Technology Trends of Enterprise Collaboration and Virtual Teams

  • Microsoft offers numerous collaboration tools, and Ron writes that Meeting Space in Vista is a good one to get to know. “Well one neat tool that I think is widely over looked is one that comes with Windows Vista. Windows Meeting Space is a great tool for creating ad hoc collaborative sessions. One user simply creates a meeting space, names it, and gives it a password. From this point, you can create an invitation file to share out or email the invitation. If you are in the same vicinity, you can simply look for active meetings and join them (if you have the password). Once all the users needed are in the meeting, you can share your desktop or an active program with the group.
  • Mindjet acquired JCVgantt Pro 3, project management software that plugs into MindManager maps. “The combination of MindManager and JCVGantt lowers the expert-only barrier to task management and project planning, giving all professionals the advantage of fundamental project management functions. It gives project managers and teams a way to visually capture information and ideas related to project requirements, identify resources, plan schedules, and manage throughout the project lifecycle. The products instantly synchronize so MindManager brainstorms automatically produce project plans.
  • Zoho added the ability to import documents into Zoho Writer from Google Docs.
  • Thoughtslinger released the beta of Thoughtslinger for Mac OS X, its real-time collaborative word processor. “Everyone sees everyone else’s editing changes as they happen. It’s a faster, simpler way to work together.” A Windows edition is already available.
  • Good Experience released an iPhone edition of Gootodo, its online to do list.

Insights on Being Productive and Effective as an Individual

  • Get out of your natural habitat and go live in the habitat of the people you want to serve. “What would happen if we just hung out with the people we want to serve? By “hang out,” I don’t mean read a study on their behavior or conduct a structured focus group, I mean pull-up a chair, sit with them in their natural habitat, attend their conferences or pick up the phone and talk to them.

Other Noteworthy Insights

  • Build a foundation of regular communication with your virtual team members, and retain the team’s ability to deliver. “How do you regain your focus and get things done? Everyone has their tricks that include everything from giving yourself a break to breaking your tasks into much smaller deliverables to keep your ability to deliver. What about when you are managing a global team with summer fever?

Categories: Industry Updates