Wednesday 19 September 2007

Google Docs in plain english

Another great video from the guys over at CommonCraft. This time they are showing the collaborative benefits of Google Docs.

We have all experienced difficulty when mailing multiple colleagues attaching documents. Who has what version?, who is working on what part?, how many copies are there? Which one is the right version?

They put it simply:

Instead of attaching a document to an email......attach an email address to a document.

A great application of this scenario behind the firewall would be for document review and sign-off. As a software engineer in an organisation governed by SOX, we regularly have to review Technical Spec, Functional Spec, Test Plan reviews etc. However, the situation becomes a nightmare.

Consider this timeline:
  • Day 1: I mail colleagues A, B, C, & D with the document (version 1)asking them to review it and provide feedback.
  • Day 2: Person A has a comment, so I update the document and re-send (version 2). Later that day, B & C mail me with comments on version 1!
  • Day 3: D asks me to re-send the mail with version 2 attached as they have accidentally deleted it!

Frustrating? - Collaboration is not facilitated by simply using email with attached documents. As the video points out, why should we ever have a situation where there are 4 copies stored of the same document?

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