Tools for communication within the team

Some years ago, I tried something with a project team that could never be in the office at the same time. 

Each lunchtime, I’d check my notes of the last day or so and make notes about the decisions made and events of the day.  I had just learnt html (the first time round) and this daily log became a web page on our server.  It was a way of making sure people knew what was happening across time zones and work patterns.  It worked but I began to feel frustrated that it was only my voice. 

By getting others to do the same, we did away with a lot of the narrative reporting in to team meeting and started to use the time more creatively.  However, we needed to remember not to use the log as a rewrite of minutes of meetings but link to them with a summary.

That was how it was then: the team leader was the filter for the official news.  Today, we all have many communication channels and while there are risks in getting information from trusted but slightly disconnected sources, the benefits of collaboration means everyone can give their best.  There used to be a management buzz word for it (synergy) but now it is part of working in the Facebook and  Twitter age the word is less often used.

I’ve been surprised to see some teams have very public meetings using Twitter (http://twitter.com/) I’m not sure I’d have a team meeting through loudspeakers in a shopping mall, but they felt comfortable to do the equivalent online. However, I have been part of a public meeting discussing professional topics on Twitter (thanks to #hashtag searches). I have had  discussions in blogs and social networking sites (http://wordpress.com or http://www.blogspot.com or http://www.linkedin.com ) – some public and sometimes using the licensed software as engines for in-house systems.

I’ve also been part of private collaborations creating media or documents in Huddle (http://www.huddle.net/) and project place ( http://www.projectplace.com/). Some organisations I work with have all their knowledge collected together in a wiki or Drupal site.   I have colleagues who use Chatter (http://www.Salesforce.com) or IBM Lotus tools (http://www.ibm.com).

There is a list and comparison of collaboration software on Wikipedia that is far from complete but a useful place to start: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_collaborative_software

What tools to you use to communicate with your team and how do you get collaboration working?

About 3triangles
Helping organisations make change happen in 3 key areas: strategic change, deliver tactical impacts, efficient and effective processes. All blog content (c) 2009 - 2012 Carol Long and Three Triangles Performance Ltd

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