[Techtalk] collaboration...

Terri Oda terri at zone12.com
Thu May 29 16:27:37 EST 2003

On Thu, May 29, 2003 at 03:45:13PM -0400, Walt wrote:
> Any ideas/suggestions on how to go about this?

Mailing lists:

I'm a big fan of using mailing lists for communication on projects.  (Well,
Okay, I'm just a huge fan of mailing lists, but that's another story.) For
projects, it saves people from making sure they cc everyone who needs to
know.  People may end up with a few more messages than they really need, but
it's easy enough to set up a filter and drop those messages into a special
folder where they won't bother anyone.  The most important thing, though, is
that all the messages can be archived by the list management software (and
can be backed up easily!) which means that when you add someone new to the
project, she or he can just look at the archives to see what's already been

Web discussion boards:

A web-board would work very similarly to a list, but it's usually easier for
people to search through their email for something than to search through a
web-board.  So if you prefer the web route, do make sure to have a search
engine that'll work on the text of messages.


Depending on exactly how collaborative the project is, a Wiki may be a useful
tool.  I used one at one of my jobs and it really did turn out to be handy
because it was so easy for people to document what they did, edit other
people's descriptions as the project changed, and add comments. 
Conveniently, wikis keep changes, so if someone messes up, it's relatively
painless to find an old version and restore the bits you need.  Also, all
the wikis I've used have search capabilites, so you wouldn't have to get a
separate package for that.


As for managing all the actual project, source control is your friend. :)
It's definitely worth the trouble to get everyone set up with a client and
show them how to use it, and the sooner you do it, the less trouble you'll
have convincing people that it's a good idea.  I'm also very fond of a
system called Perforce, but it's not free unless you're a bona-fide Open
Source project. 

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