Monday, October 20, 2008

Cross-Location Teams: Stay Connected Via Co-Op

If you're anything like me, RSS feeds have significantly altered your reading habits.

So many options, so little time.

I skim, glance, peek, and ponder (alliteration, +2 blogging points) through countless options that are surface-level unique only through the negligible details.

Although the sophomoric tendencies of limiting my reading/downloading habits to items that immediately appeal to my interests is mindless at best, I've learned to appreciate 'simple' in addition to 'functionality'.

One such item I encountered over the weekend is the "Co-Op" web application.

Think Ace iteration planning...mixed with online to-do managers such as "Remember The Milk"...mixed with Twitter.

Co-Op is completely web-based, completely free, and completely simple. Yet, it encourages structure and organization across a group of people that are working tasks in parallel.

While morning stand-ups and the tight environments of a localized agile team can probably accomplish most of Co-Ops online features on its own, don't write off it's usefulness just yet.

As Asynchrony continues work in corporations with existing IT shops, off-site employees communicating with on-site employees is a growing concern. The need for a cross-location communication tool external to email is evident, and essential, to daily team performance.

Furthermore, although the Asynchrony sales team attempts to stay connected with daily standups, any number of individuals could be out of town or away from the office. And yet, there are proposals and projects that depend on the entire group.

Co-Op serves as a central meeting place for general team notes, important to-dos, and team member status updates. It's worth taking a brief look. I promise.

And yes, each team member can upload their own avatar.

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