More on using e-mail for collaboration.


The Good and the Bad in Email:

“The bad in email notes that — despite all our praise of it as collaboration tool — email is deeply flawed.

The data in people’s inboxes is ‘silo’ed’, stored in invisible, unsearchable mailboxes where collaborators can’t collaborate with it. That’s the worst thing about email:

What I mean by silo’ed is that email traps information into personalized, unsharable, unsearchable vacuums where no one else can access it – the Email Inbox…. For many folks, the Email Inbox contains their most intimate secrets all mashed together into a single location: business correspondences, contracts, proposals, reminders, tasks, love letters, indiscreet online purchases, dirty jokes, pictures of your spouse (and kids), time-wasting games, inappropriate messages from co-workers and friends and lets not forget spam. I think its obvious that silo’ed data is devastating to team productivity. The snowballing effects of silo’ed data can debilitate even the strongest of project managers.

Email is also bad because it perpetuates ‘walled gardens’, is not secure and is not permissions-based (i.e. no scalable participation), because group emailing is complicated and difficult and because it just simply makes us lazy.”

Here’s a follow up to an article I posted a little while ago about how e-mail was the best collaboration tool available right now. Given that statement, e-mail is not without its shortcomings. The article referenced above on Hawkwings has more information and details about the “pinch points” that arise from trying to manage a large project solely through email.

A number of the points made in the article are things that we found in trying to do our work on the Standing Commission on Episcopal Church Communication over the past three years. Perhaps someone will yet come up with a tool that manages to address these shortcomings yet leaves the advantages of e-mail intact.

(Via Hawk Wings.)

The Author

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...