Post 82: I’m now a believer in collaboration, but how?

I’ve just finished a project involving two other small businesses and one multi-headed large business.

Things got a bit messy towards the end as multiple versions of documents started to become a problem. E-mail and marked-up documents more or less got the job done, but were very labor-intensive. A lot of phone calls asked whether someone was on the right version and a lot of worry was worried about whether or not the right person was reading the right version.

It all got me thinking about collaboration tools and why we were not using them.

I’m going to try to start a conversation among all the parties to set something up.

But the challenge is substantial. Document management, project management and shared markup all need to be a part of a solution.

I suspect none of the four parties involved particularly wants to make an infrastructure investment. Security is a real issue. Learning curves will need to be negligible. And the idea of a software development process is simply not on the table. Web-based is a must, given one of the parties has a pretty locked down environment.
So how can we get this done? Any ideas, anyone?

One thing I will be doing is some work with VNC clients. I think they could be a big help when liaising with graphic artists. A long skype session and the ability to look at an artist’s work without being in the studio seems like one easy-to-establish collaboration mechanism.

Other than that I am open to ideas!


4 thoughts on “Post 82: I’m now a believer in collaboration, but how?

  1. Steve,
    I think you are right – it could be a more than useful way to start. I need to investigate its ‘take an email and turn it into a document’ powers and also the ‘when a new document arrives alert various people’ features.
    That would be a very useful start.

  2. Cvs works a treat for text, but what you need is probably a wiki set up somewhere that publishes all changes via RSS, so interested parties can set up watchlists locally in their RSS clients.

    Also, VNC may not be such a good idea, not only because it requires that you be granted rights on the host machine (which I understand is not a given), but also because all the graphic artists I know prefer to work in publish-review cycles rather than in “client glancing over my shoulder every two minutes or so” mode – not to mention that VNC+Skype=very heavy bandwidth consumption.

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