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Asynchronous Communication is better sometimes

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Shawn from Anecdote pointed out this cool video of ‘When the collaboration goes wrong’ rather when the conversation leads nowhere!

The Video describs how a collaboration between Rob Fulup and Michael Schrage goes out control and then got back on track with assistance from Bernie DeKoven.

The ability for collaborators to sketch diagrams as a way to create and communicate ideas has considerable advantages over collaborating using a discussion forum approach that relies predominantly on text . The key difference lies in the fact that a diagram is co-created and its meaning is developed through the interchange between the collaborators. The meaning of words, however, are generally predefined and significant effort is required to convey accurately what you mean.

Shawn added

In the case of Rob and Michael they used a software tool that enabled them to capture and prioritise their ideas and project them on a wall. Nothing new there. Mindmanger could be used, for example. I think the real transformation was facilitated by Bernie as he asked questions, rephrased statements and gently guided the conversation.

From my personal experience in project management – sometimes collaboration equals to, really – ‘bouncing the idea’. Group of people sit together and bounce the idea to each other – without reflecting and the conversation goes nowhere! Yes – Mindmaps help. Also – sometimes – using asynchronous tools such as project management blog (PLOG: see here and here) or even version control supported web based word processing applications (like we use Writeboard by 37 Signals as part of Basecamp) . It might sound funny – but we are able to finish offshore projects faster with that kind of virtual, asynchronous project management and discussions, rather than ‘local’ projects – where face-to-face meetings are very easy to schedule!

Written by anol

November 27th, 2006 at 12:23 pm

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