Our team had a tight deadline and tons of work to get done. There were dozens of research topics, hours of analysis, and a final presentation due in just a couple of weeks. Each person was responsible for multiple sections along with the supporting documentation. Just a few days into the project, it was obvious our technology was working against us. With several “current” versions of working documents circulating through eight email In-Boxes, the team was paralyzed by revision ambiguity.
This is not a new problem. Every organization that gets things done has some formal way to organize information, collaborate on projects, and move project deliverables toward completion. Or maybe not. Maybe your organization or class is just as disorganized and frustrated as we were.
We found a solution in Huddle.net, a web-based collaboration service from Great Britain. Huddle offers an online space that is powerful and flexible. I originally signed up for a free space, but quickly saw the value for collaborating with other partners on different projects. The free service only allows a single workspace, but all the tools are fully functional. The basic service costs $15/month and is well worth the money. I can manage up to five separate workspaces and invite as many collaborators as needed. There’s a 2.5GB storage limit, but I have two concurrent projects running with hundreds of documents and have never come close to needing more space.
Features that were helpful for my team:
- Online file editing for Microsoft Office files (Office 2003 or earlier)
- Automatic versioning for files uploaded to a workspace
- Online viewer for any graphic file uploaded to a workspace
- RSS or Email notification when files were changed
- Workspace calendar and ToDo list
- Online whiteboard for brainstorming and project links
Once the team started using Huddle, it was much easier to keep track of work needed and milestones accomplished. Project meetings revolved around the files on Huddle, so there was never any fumbling around looking for the most recent versions in email boxes and flash drives. By the time the final presentation was made, even the skeptics were converted.
If you need an agile collaboration tool, consider Huddle.net. If you have a LinkedIn account, you can add a free Huddle workspace from the LinkedIn Applications menu. It was a great solution for my group, and got us moving again!