Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Pathfinder Approach

This is the start of my pathfinder blog. It will be used to test a new approach to working collaboratively on a project with tight timeframes and people from various locations throughout the organization. We have committed to starting this initiative with one meeting. The rest of this project will be done entirely through collaborative technology. Wish us luck!


Chris Taylor said...

There are a number of cllaboration tools that should be considered. Each has strengths and weaknesses.

1 - Blogs. I think they are great for either pure giving of information as well as (through comments like this) providing feedback to the blog owner so they can take things further.

2 - Wikis. Great for multiple people to work on a single document. Wonderful for things like minutes and agendas as others can come in and make corrections or add agenda items, etc. A nice ting about Wikis is think of them sort of like turning on document tracking in Word and then distributing the document around and letting each person make their edits. You can see the final version of the document and you can also see what changes were made by who. Then cut out the serialized nature of circulating the document. And the time involved in doing that.

3 - Instant messaging. Allows people to publishj "presence information" so others know if you are around and available to be contacted. Can make it very easy for the "quick and dirty" answers, like if Marj needs to know the date a presentation was given to EIC on a particular topic, as she is creating a deck for DMC. Very easy to verify that Gail is in her office and available for IM and since she was the one who did the presentation, she would know off the top of her head when the presentation was done. Answer in 15 seconds.

4 - Podcasts - great to publish out audio from meetings, lunch & learns, etc. for others to take in at their convenience.

5 - Conferencing - great for a variety of functions but not "out-of-band", in other words everyone needs to be present. Works well for meetings with geographically dispersed groups. Can share desktops so people can see (for example) a PowerPoint deck you are presenting. Can even allow multiple people to annotate things, so a participant cold mark right on slides a comment or add a diagram that will clarify things, etc. Can be combined with audio and video to make it seem more like full participation by all involved.

6 - Then there are technologies like Sharepoint that allow a blend of most of the above and throw in things like document repositories, threaded discussions and more.

Gail Eagen said...

This is my first Blog entry. I think that this approach to this demo exercise was wonderful. We showed the power of the tools and we achieved success quickly.

As you know, I think we also have to track the issues relating to the tools such as information management issues (life cylce, official record, ..........), ensuring an authoritative source, etc.

With all pathfinders, we need to have a goal and indicate how the pathfinder contributes to the IM and IT goals.

We also have to track issues of sustainability and we need to manage expectations.