Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Creating Teams of "Tyre-kickers"

Collaboration is impossible to fake

One of the problems with evaluating collaboration tools is that they can't be compared on features. One tool's blog can be very different from another tools blog. A small missing feature from a wiki can make it less easy to use.

The only real way to test which collaboration tool will best suit the PRESENTATION layer, the part where any mined data is displayed and used is to use the tool with a number of groups of real, live, collaborating people. With this in mind I have tried to engage a number of teams willing to "throw their all into testing an environment"... their nickname is "Tyre Kickers".

A large component of this projects success will not depend on whether or not the technology works but whether or not people use it.

One of the problems with this Tyre-Kicking approach is that once people have invested time and effort into working with, and more importantly around a tool, they may have grown to like the tool despite its warts and be loathe to move on to another tool because all their content exists somewhere else.

Aware that the different teams will have differing uptakes in terms of engagement, some will want and need to use the tools whereas others will dabble. Some groups will work in the same office whilst others will be dispersed, across and beyond the university.

The Tyre-Kickers I have held meetings with and introduced to up to three tools currently are....

  • Applications Deployment - A Computing Service team
  • Biology - Development Team
  • Collaborative Tools Project
  • Communications - Small departmental team
  • Computing Service - Large departmental team
  • Court, Country, City. British Art 1660 - 1730 - Humanities project team
  • Digital Library - Development team
  • Finance at University of York - Small department
  • Humanities Research Centre - Large cross disciplinary departments
  • IT Support Office - Small team
  • Liaison Librarians - Large dispersed team
  • Marketing Interest Group - Dispersed team
  • Mathematics - Small team
  • Planning at University of York - Small team
  • Research Themes - Small project team looking at strategy
  • Science and Technology Studies Unit
  • Sociology - Small team
  • Stockholm Environment Institute - Large collaboration team
  • Sustainability at University of York - Small evangelisation team
  • Tourism and Topography in Britain - Humanities project team
  • Web Office - Small departmental team
  • Wireless Strategy - Small computing service team
  • York Centre for Complex Systems Analysis - Large cross departmental team
  • YorkShare HQ Revamp - Small development team

In some of the cases above, some have barely used the tools, some already have some systems in place whilst others have if anything being using the tools too much, investing lots of time and effort in adding and linking content.

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

The Tools

List of tools to be used