October 18, 2007

Team Communication

Writing about web page http://forums.warwick.ac.uk/

I still think Forum would not be the suitable tools for Team Project. Simply because of the timeframe is restricted, the collaboration community is extremely small, also Internet Forum is just a fancier version of UseNet Newsgroup & nothing more. From a pure functionality point view, neither of them was able to really surpass their predecessor BBS, a Bulletin Board System. Sure GUI & some other functions have improved dramatically, but still an asynchronous system. I think Internet Forum/Usenet Newsgroup/BBS they are more suitable where the collaboration community is large or open, where time is a less concern. Similar to many board systems, they are best at broadcasting information but also enable people to comment.

Where an interactive communication is required, I think the best work environment is still takes the form of meeting. There are many web conference tools on the market place such as WebEx founded by Cisco. Unfortunately, it is not university’s intention to use a commercial product which can be integrated into other products such as Outlook, MSN Messenger, etc.

The intention of using forum is for brain storming, but the design of internet forum is for broadcasting information. The difference is when a Team is trying to solve a problem is, the normal approach is analyzing the problem & brainstorming as a team, then develop a plan or approach solving the problem and divide all the necessary work among team members. During the session analyzing the problem & brainstorming, where are interactive collaboration environment is required. Maybe pre & post to this session, forum is still suitable in most cases, but not for this particular meeting. Unfortunately, the portion of this session for small projects tends to have a high weight in comparison with some medium or large projects.

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