Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Why do I collaborate?

Over the years, I've wondered why I get involved in projects with technologies like SharePoint. Is it just because of the technology? Do I like a challenge? Do I actually feel that collaboration is worthwhile?

Rob Preston from InformationWeek recently posted an article titled Why Some People 'Dread' Collaboration, which got me thinking: Are the SharePoint projects I've helped implement used effectively, or are they forced upon their audiences?

The answer is, of course, a little of Column A and a little of Column B.

Often we get so worked up in working with the technology that we forget why we're doing it in the first place. Often it's management forcing "collaboration" down their organization's throats because they read about it in a trade magazine. Or it's a business interest insisting that their extra services will solve all of the organizations problems. Or it's just a techie guy like myself wanting to do something way cool, well, just because.

Remember the "why." Why are we doing this?

Also, remember that these sorts of things don't get adopted overnight. It takes time. People need to learn the new systems. They need to realize why they are important. They need to have a real reason to use them, not a mandate to meet a quota. They need to share their enthusiasm with their peers. This is not something fabricated in a jiffy.

To end this thought for the night, here's a quote from Rob's article:
There are two kinds of collaboration: the kind that stimulates new ideas, solves problems, enhances teamwork, and distributes expertise; and the kind people use to cover their butts and show off in front of their peers and bosses. The first kind tends to propagate naturally, feeding off the culture of an organization; the second kind happens when the methods and tools are force fit, rendering collaboration an exercise unto itself.