Michael Sampson pointed me to an excellent post by Brett Young where Brett shares his personal collaboration rules. After reading them, I must say that I agree 100% with all of them. And although I have never written these rules down myself, I recognize that I am trying to live by these rules myself everyday. Now that I see the rules in writing, I must say that it is very valuable to have them written down in this simple and straightforward format.
If we all help tp convince more people to live by these rules, our personal and corporate information management environments will be much more manageable.
Here are the rules (in a slightly shortened version):
- Capture once - There's nothing more wasteful than capturing the same information multiple times
- Process once - How many times have I looked at an email just to defer action a little longer. Each time I have to reread it, I'm wasting time.
- Resist printing. There are really very few instances when printing to paper is a good idea. Resist printing an agenda or other meeting materials that end up in the trash within minutes of being created.
- Don't use email to collaborate, use it to communicate - Email is a terrible collaboration tool, but an excellent communication tool. When it comes to collaboration, email tends to create more work, and lacks critical context.
- Send links, not attachments - Nothing eats up disk space on email servers faster than attachments, especially if you're not sharing a single-copy message store.
- Store in a searchable, linkable repository - Unfortunately, most people use email as their personal content store. The problem is that I may have some content that someone else could really use. However, if they don't know me, they will never find it.
- Be a sharer, not a hoarder. As we share what we know, others can become co-contributers. This results in a product that is better than any individual could have accomplished on their own.
- Use real-time communication, instead of email and voice mail, to reduce cycle time - Voice mail and e-mail are slow. It usually takes at least 24 hours to hear back from someone. If you end up going back and forth for several cycles, you could waste days or weeks.