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

Changes, New Behaviors

As shown in the diagram, a digital group memory will change the pattern of communication from member-to-leader to member-to-member, including the leader. In the current environment, the team leader is a bottleneck where all information is collected, combined, stored, filtered and redistributed. Team members update the team leader via Email and meetings. The team leader combines the status updates from each individual and re-enters the updates into a plan file on his or her PC.

With the digital group memory, team members update the plan and provide other information directly. The team leader as well as other members can view the information directly. As a result, team members can view interim updates as they are written rather than waiting on a meeting or a report produced by the team leader. The concept of this shift is shown in Figure 4.

Figure 4: Transfer team to team 
Figure 4: Transfer team to team

The following are changes or new behaviors required by team members:

  1. Shift from reply (Email) to contributing (digital group memory)
  2. Shift from viewing a myriad of messages in chronological order to scanning for new information organized by team objectives (e.g., prospect, legal matter, project goal, etc.)
  3. Shift from one central coordinator, such as the team leader, to empowered team members who actively participate in planning and management
  4. Shift from being action and documentation centric to team members themselves identifying and documenting what they are doing and by when
  5. Introduce headlining, i.e. when making replies create short, crisp headlines (unlike Email replies such as "Re: conversation thread" or even drift off the subject line altogether!). An example of a meaningful headline: "Great meeting. The Snr. VP wants to proceed with a pilot." Example of a non-informative title: "Re: Meeting with Snr. VP" (the typical Email response format).

A significant change in communication is the visibility of work amongst the entire team because team members share information, files, updates, thoughts, ideas, and feedback in a shared, common area.

Creative Work Redesign and Prototyping  Creative Work Redesign and Prototyping

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