All in a Day's Work - The Magnitude of Collaboration

January 28, 2008 · · Posted by Jordan Frank

Spending just a little time looking at specifics on your own collaboration patterns sheds light on the central role of communication and collaboration in the every day business process of a "knowledge worker."

Taking January 23rd as an example, 10 people were actively publishing in 15 project spaces on our server. Depending on the piece of contributed content, the readership may have been between 20 and 1,000 people.

Because most group members are in active development / testing period - most activity was in project spaces that have to do with Engineering, Help Requests, and CVS check-ins (we post descriptions of all code check-ins to a "CVS Blog" with links to the bug or feature to which the check-in relates). There were also flash-points of communication in a customer space and collaboration on some conference planning material in a partner space.

In a 24 hour period, this group was responsible for:

  • 95 Articles
  • 12 Edits
  • 58 Tag changes
  • 118 Attachments totaling 9.4 MB.

Within that content set, a look at the engineering related tags tells me:

  • Bugs: 9 articles were posted which pointed to potential bugs; of which 2 were fixed already, 2 were duplicates, and 1 could not be reproduced.
  • Feedback: 19 articles were posted with feedback
  • To Do: 39 articles were marked for further action, 26 of which actions were lated revoked.
  • Done: 10 articles (originally published on January 23, January 22, January 21, January 16, and May 14) were marked done.

At this rate, this 10 person group would eventually publish a total of 40,000 articles and comments in a given work year!! And this is only a slice of their daily activity which may occur in other channels and workspsaces such as e-mail or another wiki.

That’s the magnitude of collaboration, and putting it in light of these metrics makes you realize how vital a collaboration platform can be, even for a small team or small business. Taken to Enterprise scale, its something between a collaboration tools wake-up call and a rude awakening with a bucket of ice being thrown over your head!!

The message is clear: Start using a collaboration platform early in a process, and be sure your users can contribute as easily as posting to a blog and explore as easily as using their favorite internet search engine. Otherwise, people wont participate and certaintly wont find and leverage the ever growing mountain of stored knowledge and communication context.

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