Things have changed, the tools of web 2.0 make collaboration, at least theoretically, really easy, so why it is so hard to get done?

    Outside the web, where Wikipedia, Linux, Ideo  and a few others have rewritten the rules, and boomed as a result, the output from new collaboration tools appears far more limited. Most businesses I deal with are struggling with co-ordinating a video conference, and that is about the end of the tools that they are using.

    In a fundamental way, they need to consider the architecture of their collaborative efforts. What works for a co-located team, even if it has a few “fly-ins” will not work for a truly distributed team, or one that is working on a complex development, even when co-located.  It seems a few rusted on practices need to be revisited:

  1. Responsibility for the outcome should be clear, along with budgets and timelines. It is the group that holds responsibility collectively, not individuals, and individual performance is measured by their contribution to the groups achievement of the outcome.
  2. The “how to” get the job done is left to the team.
  3. The team should be able to co-opt and manage outside skills as necessary to get the job done with relative freedom.