Rules of collaboration 10:16 on Friday

Whether you’re starting a meeting, a wiki page, a conference call, or a group chat, the same things are required to make the collaboration worthwhile:

  • An agenda of items that will be discussed in this space and time.
  • A list of expected outcomes.
  • A time frame: duration of meeting, virtual or live, or a deadline for edits to a wiki page.
  • A person who is responsible for maintaining that people stick to the agenda, deliver the outcomes, in the given time frame.

Yet, in nine collaborations out of ten, all four are missing.

Am I right or just unlucky?

4 Responses to “Rules of collaboration”


  1. Janne Says:

    I think you’re just unlucky. Or that your co-collaborators need more training ;-).

    Of course, it could also be that I just happen to be extremely lucky, and my co-workers can hit at least three out of four pretty consistently ;-)

  2. Niko Says:

    If I had a way to create a poll now, I would. ;)

  3. Tina Aspiala Says:

    In art school, I set up a student government which had a Moderator position entirely separate from the President position. While the President could make the final decision on controversial issues, the Moderator could tell people when to shut up because of being off topic or repetitive, but had no right to join in discussions. It worked very well all year. Meetings were short but thorough. Meetings in the “real world” usually have me tearing my hair out with their inefficiency. If art school kids can get it together, why can’t the corporate sector? People end up talking too much just to “be involved”, or to show they know something, or to waste time so they don’t have to go back to real work. There has to be a gatekeeper. On the other hand, all the four elements you (very concisely) list are elements that you(or anyone), as part of a collaboration, could personally claim responsibility for and apply. So if your collaborations are inefficient, perhaps the only solution is looking like an uptight bastard for the sake of the productivity of the whole group?

  4. Niko Says:

    Maybe I’m just afraid of looking like that uptight bastard (more than I am by nature, that is ;).