Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Power of Collaboration

For better or worse, you likely can't count all of the times in an average work day that you collaborate with your coworkers.
If you work in an open office setting you are unwittingly in cahoots on everything from work tasks to what music to listen to, and the longer the distance between you and your coworkers the more essential it is to find tools that make the collaboration painless.

When you don't get the casual face time that a lot of people take for granted, it shines a spotlight on how many decisions get made in those dismissible few seconds throughout the day. As e-commuting and super-computing become more of a norm though, how are you collaborating? Chat and email are handy, but when you need to group edit a document, are you each saving your own copy then tasking one person with merging them at the end (then doing it all over again on the next revision)?
I sat in on a conference call with an area business the other day to review a proof of a proposal from a "team" of businesses. The heads of each business huddled around their respective speaker phones and stared at their respective screens to page through the preliminary pdf proposal. They discussed the changes that needed to be made and divvied up the list of who would complete each task. How could this have been simpler?
These are the key workflow issues that Google Apps embraces. Collaboration is powerful. I'll say that again: Collaboration is POWERFUL. The sum of the team's experience, knowledge, and savvy is the force a company has to leverage over its competition. If the ability to collaborate and contribute to that sum has become so cumbersome and anti-intuitive that the product suffers, so will your success.
Linux is a brilliant example of what will happen when talent joins forces and works together toward a common goal, while still letting each person work in his or her specialty.