I've recently had the chance to review several tools that support transparency and collaboration at work for the WebWorkerDaily blog (GigaOM). Quick summary here with highlights around the organizational and human issues the clients manage along with the tool. For each interview, I request that we not just cover features, but also the organizational and people issues that go along with how the tool is used - how the full system is "plugged-in."
What would work be like if our colleagues just knew what we were working on? I expect peers would be better able to coordinate and managers could more easily allocate human and other resources. DoubleDutch HYVE takes us one step closer to automatically letting colleagues know what we’re doing, for whom, and where. The HYVE tap, not type, approach creates a “kind of FitBit for work,” as described by CEO and co-founder Lawrence Coburn.
The key is that DoubleDutch acknowledges that checking-in is extra work (people issue). So they've made the steps as easy as possible while still gathering the information (activity, project, client, location) that makes the check-in valuable. From the organizational side they've enabled some gamification that not only shows a leaderboard, but also lets you self-monitor how you're spending your time.
Project management software Binfire is built on the premise that to make a project team more productive, you need to bring the team together. When projects fail, it’s because of a failure in communication or collaboration. Binfire’s view is that the tighter you can integrate collaboration into the project management, the more likely the project is to be successful.
Binfire co-founder and CEO David Robins told me that he thinks of projects as systems -- which I think leads naturally to people in the system working more symbiotically towards the project's goals. Instead of all the organizational work falling on the shoulders of the project lead, the whole team can use the technology, and the knowledge available through the technology to make updates and set up next steps.
Earlier this month, Teambox, the online collaboration and project management platform, recently added private elements to its feature set. Private elements are like Google+ circles for your work and are another signal that control over transparency and communication is coming of age.
Just like Facebook's struggles with what should and should not be public across layers of relationships, we are all dealing with the needs of transparency for collaboration and how to easily make good choices. Teambox and these other tools are making transparency and collaboration easier, but tools don't lead, leaders lead. Many of our organizations are struggling with how much transparency and how. How have you seen leaders (from the top or from the team) introduce new ideas around transparency? Best approaches? Best responses to resistance? Please share in the comments section here.