As with simple application sharing, your solution should be affordable enough that all project team members can use it. And it should stay affordable after deployment, with no hidden consulting fees.
Project collaboration is an area where the individual parts do not necessarily add up to the whole. It's true that you could patch together a set of isolated technologies that each address a specific communication need. But it won't provide cohesive support. Inevitably, you'll hit speed bumps such as incompatible tools and the inability to comprehensively track and organize information.
Tailored to the Project Design Team
Your project collaboration solution needs to support all of the ways that project teams work, as previously discussed. But take care to ensure that each component of your solution can support the specialized needs of a project design team.
For instance, many project team members today use instant messaging. Many of these tools are available for free. However, they can carry security risks, endangering your company's intellectual property.
Also consider the capabilities of your solution's application sharing. Generic application-sharing technology does not address certain critical needs for product development teams.
As an example, generic application sharing technology often has difficulties displaying true color or OpenGL accelerated graphics applications such as computer aided design (CAD) or analysis (FEA, CFD). These difficulties usually manifest themselves visibly as poor performance, with team members in a shared application session falling behind in the discussion. Project team members lose patience quickly when they cannot communicate in real time around these critical applications. Application sharing that is quick to deploy and easy to use but delivers below optimal performance will be abandoned and teams will resort to old methods and tools.
While it is clear that application sharing is an important component of any project team collaborative solution, it is equally clear that it cannot carry the burden of project collaboration on its own. Most collaboration takes place either offline or in an ad-hoc fashion. To bring your projects maximum benefit, application-sharing technology must be embedded in the context of the project team tool set and integrated with the full suite of necessary technologies.
About the Author: John Alpine is chief technology officer at CoCreate Software.