The Pain of Collaboration Software – Solved

Last weekend, TechCrunch (@TechCrunch) posted an article from Jason Green (@jasongreen) titled “The Promise, Progress, And Pain Of Collaboration Software” to which I replied “Spot on.” The number one pain comes from information overload (“noise”). Noise is comprised of those messages, or information, that are not relevant or important to you. The “Signal” are those relevant and important messages. In any collaboration system, Noise tends to become the vast majority of messages that tend to block out, or obscure, the Signal as communication friction decreases. This results in a very low Signal-to-noise ratio.

In a low signal-to-noise environment, what makes the collaboration software value proposition worse for the user is that they have expend the effort to read – and understand – every message to determine if it was a signal, i.e. relevant or important, or noise. If the message was noise, then the user incurred the cost of effort to understand the message without any value gain – a waste of effort.

If the signal-to-noise ratio where high, then the user would be gaining value by reading every message most of the time, so they are likely to continue to invest in doing so.

What if we could create a collaboration environment whereby we could create a high Effective Signal-to-Noise ratio that remains constant no matter the communication friction or volume? You would end up with a collaboration environment where each user has access to all communication, but easily identifies those messages that are relevant and important without having to read every message (a very high value proposition). What we would ideally like to have the situation in the Upper-Left of the chart, low communication friction, high communication volume, and high signal-to-noise ratio (actually 100% signal, no noise).

This is what the patent pending Rofori framework for Team Collaboration enables. By appropriately categorizing messages with an associated visual icon, a user can obtain activity status at a glance, without having to read any messages. In addition, a user may use the console monitor feature to identify what is relevant and important to them, and Rofori will alert them to those conditions. The message categorization also guides users in writing their message posts by reminding them of the relevant purpose of the micro-blog status message.

As a manager, and Project Manager, I am mainly interested in Issues, which are barriers to completion or a risk event where there is a possibility of not meeting expectations, and Completions (Deliverables, tasks, resolved issues, etc.). In addition, I want to know anything any of my customers say. So I configured my Rofori console to alert me to these conditions:

Rofori is gaining interest because it is the first collaboration environment that fulfills the expectations for collaboration: The entire team has a common situational awareness, it is a continuous virtual status meeting that you don’t have to attend. It is easy to use and comprehend. Noise is easily filtered out, and you are alerted to what you are interested in. Rofori focuses the team on the accomplishment of their objectives. Rofori eliminates context changes by keeping communications and information together in Team Activity Streams – where work is actually accomplished. Knowledge is created and metrics are automatically derived and are easily accessible. Document artifacts are incorporated as part of the message stream, thus retaining the dialog surrounding it and putting it in context.

Please contact us for more information or give us feedback from our new feedback link which uses the Rofori API to post your feedback into our rofori activity stream.


Identifying and managing troubled projects

The “Identifying and managing troubled projects” article from Federal Computer Week is accurate. I became known for a time as the “failing project rescue specialist”.  I go into more detail in my presentation “Rescuing Failing Projects“.  The key is truly managing stake holder expectations.

We have found that using Rofori for project team communications inherently keeps the project team members  informed enabling the Project Manager to effectively communicate with the stake holders.

Please let me know what you think.

– David