My office without walls

I’ve worked in an office without walls for years now, high in Santa Cruz. And the solitude made me well aware of the need to be able to reach out, share and collaborate. (Albeit without many of you knowing.) Seems to me, everyone wants to collaborate, but nobody is really sure how to set about doing it. What’s your experience of that?

Here in Franksville, I think it’s all about creating collaborative software that doesn’t get in the way. A long time ago I wrote a little thing called Sidekick that allowed instantaneous task switching. It was a big hit back then, simply because it helped people do the jobs they were meant to be doing without distraction.

It should be just like that with collaborative tools. Sure, they need to support the need for aggregated management information, but who wants them to get in the way of what you want to do? Their adoption should be easy. In the old days I taught an entire programming language, Turbo Pascal, in a mere 300 pages. I’ve seen far bigger instruction manuals out there for collaborative software that does much less. Or probably doesn’t get used.

Put bluntly, it doesn’t matter how many features your software has if people are confused by its complexity. To work as a true team we need tools that are ‘desirable’ enough for strong adoption at grass roots level. Have you/we got them? And does your office truly work without walls? Let me know what you think.

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