Making collaboration work

Catching up on my web-browsing over the weekend, I came across an August 2005 Cadalyst article by Michael Dakan describing lessons learned on implementing collaboration systems on US projects. Some key points:

  • Many of the problems are not technology issues at all, but rather basic people issues and human relations management problems.
  • For … collaboration systems to be effective, they must achieve universal participation. If people can bypass the system and fall back on old paper document management techniques … the system will lose much of its usability and effectiveness.
  • An effort must be made to eliminate paper documents ….
  • … with collaboration systems, every effort needs to be made to achieve 100% utilization as quickly as possible.
  • the elimination of “wet signature” approvals and documentation of legal requirements
  • … include adequate training prior to implementation and the inclusion of requirements for use within contract documents.
  • The one overriding ingredient … is achieving good “buy-in” by the users of the system.

To reiterate the opening point, "as is often the case with technology, successful implementation comes down to basic management issues rather than actual technology difficulties."

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