Email as a collaboration tool
Despite having access to a wide variety of collaboration tools, email and IM continue to be the tools I use most often, in particular I struggle to use collaborative workspaces efficiently. Why do I keep using email?
- It works great offline
- I can keep an offline replica on all of my PCs and devices and they all sync up nicely so I don’t need to worry about which machine I use.
- It is well integrated with my calendar and contacts
- It handles attachments well
- It works well in the background, it’s very rare I have to wait for it to do something
- I know that everyone I work with will have access to it and know how to use it
- Every email has its own initial access control list
- Good support for groups (distribution lists)
I use Lotus Notes so there are some downsides:
- No RSS support yet
- Personal information management workflows are not well supported, for example there is currently no equivalent to the GTD add-in for outlook
However in both of these cases I believe that IBM really understand what’s needed, its just a case of waiting for the next release.
There are many things about wikis, blogs and team spaces that I really like, but none of them offers all the advantages of email, so right now they all are useful complements to my collaboration system, rather than at the core of it.
For more interesting posts on this topic, check out these posts: