Great discoveries and improvements invariably involve the cooperation of many minds. I may be given credit for having blazed the trail, but when I look at the subsequent developments, I feel the credit is due to others rather than to myself.
Back in 1999, when working with an offshore project team, I encountered several common stumbling blocks that are very typical of any project. These challenges encompassed the three aspects of collaboration that every project team encounters.
The version history for our project documentation was poorly maintained. Our tool of choice, just like everyone else’s, was email. We came up with a naming convention for version numbering; however, when it came to reviewing past versions of documents, it was quite cumbersome scouring through all of the email messages. Real-time collaboration entails the concurrent development or use of information by multiple members of a group. How many times have you been working on a project document at the same time that your colleague is editing the same document without your knowledge? This can be anything from updating a project schedule, to revising the requirements document, to finalizing the project charter. Overwriting files and not maintaining a version history is among the common problems.
Our offline communication tools were limited. The project team relied heavily on email and voicemail messages ...