Getting the Word Out to Your Collaborators

AuthorDennis Kennedy - Tom Mighell
Getting the Word Out
to Your Collaborators
Here’s a question for you: what happens if you make a change
to a document in a collaboration tool and no one knows you
made the change? More simply put, what is the sound of one
collaborator collaborating?
A collaboration tool works only if your collaborators actu-
ally use it, either routinely or as it is needed. The simple failure
of people to use those tools is what dooms most collaborative
projects. For example, in our experience the messaging tools
of Internet social networking sites began to take the place of
scattered email discussions as people migrated to those ser-
vices. Slack or other services also help people move out of
email. However, when there is “leakage” from the tool back to
email, people eventually abandon the social networking tools
and revert to their earlier emailing habits. Understanding the
reasons for this phenomenon and designing and building strat-
egies that address these issues will help to ensure that your
collaborative technologies are properly utilized.
The main villain causing people to abandon collaboration
tools is something we discussed in Chapter 25: the multiplica-
tion of information silos. We keep our information in various
locations—email, document management tools, and financial
systems, for example—that we must visit separately to use.
A collaboration tool that either reduces (or at least does not
increase) the number of information silos, offers a bridge
between them, or provides an entry point to several different
silos will have a greater chance for success than a tool that
creates an additional silo you and your collaborators must
remember to visit.

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