Wednesday, February 24, 2010

The principles of on-line collaboration

The Internet has made it far easier to collaborate with others - your clients, suppliers, colleagues and even competitors. Here's how to start thinking about creating effective collaborations.

Listen to this episode of the Focal Point podcast, with me and Chris Pudney:

MP3 File

Broadly, there are four groups of people we could collaborate with:
  • Customers and clients: The people you work for.
  • Suppliers: The people who work for you.
  • Colleagues and team members: The people you work with.
  • Competitors: The people you work "against".
This is not just for on-line collaboration, of course; these people are equally valid collaboration partners in "real life". It's just that the Internet has made it easier to work with them.

Guidelines for on-line collaboration:
  • Use the cloud: Work on one shared document rather than multiple copies
  • Show your face: Allow people to be human and show their personality
  • Let go of perfection: Aim for "80% right, 100% complete" - i.e. It's better to release a product that's not perfect than to never release it at all.
  • Work to a plan: Be clear about milestones, deliverables and deadlines.
  • Set the ground rules: Be clear about rules and parameters for executing the plan.
  • Think Global: Take into account the different locales inherent in collaborating with international partners - such as differences in language, time-zones, currency and customs.

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