This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is Copyright B.M. Jackson (2005).
Published here September 2005.

Abstract | Introduction | Why Email Won't Work
Why Collaborative Technologies Haven't Worked | Technology Requirements
The New Team Heart Beat | Meeting Process Redesign | Creative Work Redesign and Prototyping
Changes, New Behaviors | Training | The Virtual Organization | Conclusion

Brad Jackson is a co-founder and CEO of, software to manage ideas, portfolios and project teams. Brad has had a long-time interest in the intersection of distributed computing systems and distributed human systems. He has spent over twenty years researching and consulting both small and large businesses in the use of technology to support teams. Brad can be reached at


Email seems to have become the de facto communication vehicle of choice for communication between and within project teams. Certainly it is an improvement on pencil and paper, copying machines and faxes, but is it sufficient? Or more importantly, do we have the technology to improve on this vehicle? The answer, of course, is yes - but how? The author postulates a new class of software that he calls Digital Group Memory (DGM) to which all team members and stakeholders can have access.

This paper outlines why Email won't work for teams and why collaborative technologies to date haven't worked. The author then describes the technology requirements of DGM, including real-time storage and retrieval of information and project documents, and business processes generally, and how a dispersed team environment and the needs of external parties impact these requirements.

On the other side of the coin, the author suggests how new behaviors are required on the part of team members. This includes how team and business processes should be redefined and the type of training outline required to develop a new strategic competency in the use of DGM. All of this would represent a major step forward in the concept and utilization of virtual teams


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