Collaboration Plan

A collaboration plan for successfully working together to set and achieve team objectives.

Contact Information:
Email, Phone
Shared Folder:
.
Mailing List:
.
Project Site:
.

Sharing Files

Is this the newest version of […]

Email attachments can be hard to find.

Versioned shared storage folders are so much easier to work with.

An email with a link to the (updated) files is helpful.

Mailing List

I forgot to CC [..]
I forgot to reply-all
Please sift through these n forwarded messages

For bringing new team members onboard, it’s much easier to archive a mailing list and share links to specific emails and threads than to be forwarding and remembering to CC people.

As team correspondence, the context for a mailing list may be a bit less informal.

One continuous thread may very well be sufficient and easier to scroll through. For this reason it’s helpful to put some forethought into the subject of the initial email message.

Keeping in mind the DRY principle and that it’s possible to cross-post (x-post) a link to another message, some other ways to organize threads:

  • One thread per team (e.g. design, development, marketing)
  • One thread per objective (e.g. objectives, updates, followup)
  • One thread per meeting (e.g. scheduling, planning, minutes, followup)

To keep volume down and everyone on the same page, sometimes it’s easier to address everyone at the same time.

To: mailing-list@groups.google.com
From: wes.turner@gmail.com
Subject: Meeting 1/23/14

Great meeting. Here are a few minutes:

1.
2.
3.

@A
For next week, could you [...]

@B
The [...] look great, thanks.

Project Site

Where was that link to the […]

Not strictly necessary, but helpful as a central collaboration point.

Links to:

  • contact information
  • shared folders
  • mailing lists
  • team calendar
  • works in progress
  • roadmap with dates and links to deliverables

Re: Document-based collaboration

Coming from a software development perspective, where:

  • all changes are stored in version control
  • all changes are tagged with an author
  • everyone has access to central storage of every version
  • each change affects a concrete set of files
  • anyone can create a patch or submit a pull request to share their suggested modifications

Emailing document attachments is a wasteful way to collaborate.

> What version am I working on?

> Who wrote this?

> When was this change proposed?

> What did it look like before the merge?

Online office suites with live collaboration can be much more productive in that it’s possible to review how something developed; but I like my distributed version control for good reason.

Who better to work out effective methods for online collaboration than software developers?

To this end, I propose a few simple processes for avoiding time wastage on document presentation:

  • Contact Information Page (derived from a mailing list thread)
  • Mailing List for archiving and relaying team correspondence
  • Shared Storage with web interface and access control
  • Project Site with WYSIWYG editor (derived from and driving mailing list activity)
    • Contact Information
    • Goals / Objectives / Roadmap
    • Team Policies / Procedures
      • scheduling a meeting
      • sending progress notifications
      • sharing meeting minutes
    • Shared Storage Folder
    • Calendar Widget
      • drawing from a calendaring system with iCal that I can overlay onto my other calendars