In the beginning, there was email
Web-based collaboration tools and strategies has been one of my professional passions for a decade now. Beyond that I always thought it was cool, I started telecommuting in 2000, so needing easy and complete solutions was high on my priority list.
Over the years, I think I’ve tried nearly all the solutions around with varying degrees of success and failure. Almost always success or failure has been determined by either the willingness of the team to adapt and change or the ease of use of the tool. Even a tool that has the potential to save time, money, even your precious sanity will fail if it isn’t intuitive and easy to use.
Can blog engines provide a solution?
I had played with the original Prologue theme when it was launched about a year ago. It was pretty useful then, but I didn’t have something to apply it to (not that I didn’t try to use it). I had heard and seen demos of the successor P2 and thought that there was some potential, but I didn’t get it until I read Matt’s post about how Automattic uses P2 internally: How P2 Changed Automattic — Matt Mullenweg
The part that brought it all home was the video:
Now that’s when the light came on. I saw a lot of potential there. It would be great to be able to have our team at M2O use it to update projects, scripts and ideas. The problem was that if I wanted it to be most useful it needed to be on the public Internet, but still private to just us. Being able to update/use it from iPhones and Blackberries would be important, and I wanted to add a little twist using Twitter. So here’s how I did it:
- Basic WP 2.7.1 install
- P2 theme
- Registered Users Only plugin
- WordTwit and WPTouch plugins from my friends at Brave New Code
That’s it. Okay there is one more thing. I set up a Twitter account with its updates protected to post updates to from the blog. This way the team can be updated via Twitter, but the tweets aren’t public.
Will it work?
I think P2 is about as easy as it can get. It even highlights for you the new items since your last visit. It can stand alone using Prism or Fluid to make it an “app”. What’s left? What’s missing? Getting the team to accept and use the tool. Since I think there is a lot of potential here for projects, classes, updates, and messaging I’m going to keep at it in hopes that I can get some momentum.
There are some special tweaks I’m going to look into, but that is another story.
Interested in my P2 collaboration solution? How would you improve on it? What’s missing? Would you use it? Ah so many questions, but that’s half the fun isn’t it?