Michael's Books

Positioning Seamless Teamwork: It's Not a Matter of Being "Mild"

As I wrote yesterday, Seamless Teamwork is now available at Amazon. But I learned earlier today that it’s actually more widely available, since Alex from the Netherlands said by email that he was able to purchase a copy in a bookstore in Amsterdam on Monday. So … It’s out there. Apparently my copy will come in the next couple of weeks. I doubt it’s hit the New Zealand bookstores yet.

Seamless Teamwork is different to much of my previous writings on SharePoint, at least what I’ve blogged. After reading it, you may have the same reaction that James did a couple of months ago (after scanning an early edition): “I didn’t realize that you were writing a practical book”. And so with Peter writing today, “I do hope he’s mild on Microsoft’s solutions in this space :-)” , I want to explain that Seamless Teamwork isn’t even written in that vein. It’s not about being “mild”, because Seamless Teamwork is not the book that an industry analyst would write with an industry analyst’s hat on.

Here’s why. In my work, I have come to the realization that the “line of decision” is critically important in the life of collaboration technology in the enterprise. Take a sheet of paper, draw a line down the middle, and label it the “line of decision”. Before the line, that is, before a decision about the technology has been made, business and IT leaders are interested in what’s available, how good it is, how one product compares with another product, the general trends that are shaping product offerings, and a whole host of other matters that lead up to the making of a decision about which collaboration technology to embrace. For example, before the line, business and IT leaders are interested in evaluations of the capabilities of SharePoint, and for that I have the SharePoint 7 Pillars analysis.

But once they’ve made the decision to go with SharePoint (for example), that is — once they’ve crossed the line of decision — they don’t care about such evaluations any more*. This is true for any product … IBM, Cisco, CentralDesktop, whatever. The decision about “what?” has been made, and after the line the focus becomes “how?”. How do we make it work? How do we make the best of it? How do we implement this and get the business benefits we thought we would get (before the line)? And it’s in this after the line space that Seamless Teamwork is designed to fit (as is SharePoint for Business, and as is How to Make the Most of Lotus Notes/Domino). Therefore in the after the line space, the focus of my work is to be “helpful” to my organizational clients, not “mild” or “non-mild” about specific products.

So that’s the secret to unlocking Seamless Teamwork: It’s an after the line book, written for business teams, designed to help them make the most of what is available in SharePoint. It doesn’t talk about before the line issues, because after the line business people don’t care about those.

* I said above that “once they’ve crossed the line of decision — they don’t care about such evaluations any more”. That’s a generalization that has a specific exception. The exception is that after some time has passed — at least 2 years — people start to get interested in “what’s new” that may lead them to a new decision. Depending on how entrenched the current collaboration technology has become, and depending on the scale of improvement in product offerings during the elapsed time, dictates whether this stays as an “interesting project” or alternatively leads to serious consideration of making a new decision.