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Quantifying Business Benefit of Collaboration Tools (or, What Is This Meeting Costing Me?)

This post started off as an excuse to experiment with Google Docs, and this really neat feature I discovered - embedding a spreadsheet in a web page as a sharing method. However, it struck me as a potential way to cost justify the time, effort, and expense of implementing collaboration systems with the Most Cynical Among Us. We've all been in large meetings, with tens of people from the project team, along with the expensive consultants, sitting around a table…

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Collaboration “in the Wild”: Some Observations

An Enterprise 2.0 dream scenario: implementing a complex project across multiple sites, in two different time zones, with a large team (well over 100). The team was reasonably savvy with collaboration tools; core team members were quite comfortable with Instant Messaging, and we have been relying on SharePoint for many months. A centralized, coordinated document repository; a single source, very public bugs/issues list - the foundation was in place for some time, so our "go-live weekend" experience was pleasantly predictable.…

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Training and Learning: A Different POV

The topic was training users for an upcoming project rollout, and the debate (as always) roamed back and forth between "traditional" (classroom training, scripts & workbooks) versus "experiential", pairing existing users with their counterparts (who are new to the system), walking through the basics (screen navigation, terminology, and step-by-step instructions for the most common required tasks). Training methods are a common area of debate and discussion with system implementation folks, and I can make a great case for any and…

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Technical Debt and the Cost/Benefit of Knowledge Retention

A rather rigorous, Financial-sounding title for a high-concept line of thought ... Thanks to Jeff Atwood at Coding Horror, for calling my attention to this article by Martin Fowler on Technical Debt: Technical Debt is a wonderful metaphor developed by Ward Cunningham¬†to help us think about this problem. In this metaphor, doing things the quick and dirty way sets us up with a technical debt, which is similar to a financial debt. Like a financial debt, the technical debt incurs…

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Real Business Users and SharePoint

Introducing buzzword-compliant technology like a wiki, or integrated collaboration spaces like SharePoint, will typically go well with a motivated audience like your internal IT department. But if you really want to understand how this stuff works, try it with "real people" - line employees in sales and marketing, operations, and finance. Sure, you've heard complaints from these folks (they have better PCs at home, the SAP/Oracle UI is brutal compared to Amazon and AT&T U-Verse, and why can't they just…

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Wikis in High School

Last month, Vinson wrote about the use of wikis in school projects, and it reminded me to dust off some notes I took from a conversation with my daughter Sean MacLennan, late last year. It was a history project about World War II, and the class was asked to compose their reports on a wiki. Sean is a pretty good writer, and she likes to write, so I was interested in her thoughts on the wiki as a medium, and…

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