PLM Wave Or “Good Enough” Collaboration

Six months ago, I posted “Collaboration Trends or Why I Stopped Using Google Wave?“. After Google’s announcement about Google Wave termination yesterday, I read it again. Actually, I found it very consistent to my feeling back in January 2010. Here is my top 4 list of Google Wave problems:  (1) Isolation. (2) Another application to run. (3) Documents and other Google App integration. (4) Inbox management.

In all streams of information related to Google’s decision about the wave, the following tweet got my top score. If you remember, Google Wave supposed to re-invent email. During all of my experiments with Google Wave, I wanted to bring it back to my email. Does it mean email is so good?

Email and “Good Enough” Principle

How many times when you asked a developer about a particular feature, you’ve heard the following answer – “but, this is cool…”? I agree, coolness is a definitely important factor. However, when it comes to some zones in our life, coolness is not what we expect. There is something I call – mainstream communication. Email is part of this. You want to have a predictable result from sending email. Email works in a seamless way. Email is the one, I need. Yes, it is 20 years old with almost no change. But sometimes, it is simply “good enough”.

“False Start” and Collaboration Demands

I’m sure you are familiar with the term – “false start“. I think we have a sort of false start in many efforts related to collaboration. When it comes to phone calls, chat, video, screen sharing it seems to me reasonable. However, sometime, we need to take a breath and… think. Not to collaborate, but think. Therefore, one of the Google Wave features, such as, “typing together” – a cool Google Wave feature, can be considered as a ‘false start’. And this is not the only one…

PLM Collaboration

Some of  my initial thoughts about PLM collaboration in the context of what happened with Google Wave. I see lots of them are ‘false starts’. It is related to multiple situations when “collaborate” is a goal in products we are making. However, don’t forget – collaboration is just a tool to get results. So, to have it email like, maybe not a bad idea at all.

What is my conclusion? One of Google’s principles of “good enough” solution worked against Google with Wave. Email is good enough. There is no need for Wave. Despite the face, people hate email, I think, most of the people are feeling very comfortable with an email solution and new “sparkling” Google Wave innovation was only a new toy to play with. Users voted for proven old fashioned email to stay in their comfort zone. I think, there are some lessons learned to all PLM innovators in the “social collaboration” space. I will come with some of my thoughts about that later.

Best, Oleg

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  • Hi,

    I run a group of cartoon artists. I wanted to discuss a list of 10 ideas we’d had with key artists.

    It gets messy sending emails on multiple topics to multiple people: some people don’t hit ‘reply to all’; some people aren’t interested in reading a long discussion about all the ideas but want to discuss one.

    So I had a wave about 10 ideas for many key people. Then I started a wave for each idea with a few of the key people.

    Meantime, I email individuals small details such as meeting times between us which aren’t interesting as core points of discussion.

    I kept the Waves fairly short and on topic then just invited new people to relevant waves without having to explain things all over again or collate chunks of info which ended up in different email threads.

    So I found it rather useful and annoying that it’s ending!

    Where else can I do all this with all the features?

    Regards,
    Frankie

    note I found a link to this post under the Google blog post!

  • Frankie, Thanks for sharing this comment and your experience. The functionality you explain is similar to what is known as workflow or process management. You can find some of this stuff as part of Microsoft SharePoint, for example. You can organize a similar process using Google Apps and Google docs, in my view, since Google Docs can be edited online by multiple people. There are more specialized software packages focused on BPM (business process management). I hope it helps. Best, Oleg