I’m a big wiki fan. Some might call me a wiki fanatic, and they’d be right. In our web 2.0 electronic world the reasons for documenting in archaic non-collaborative applications without revision history functionality are dwindling. This statement is especially true when you’re talking about project management/requirement documentation. I’ve now lead/managed a number of large HIT projects that required either cross-institutional collaboration, or simple workplace collaboration. Both types of project extremes benefited from collaborative development tools, and many of my projects would not have been completed if it weren’t for collaborative development tools.
If you’re a software engineer you may be thinking about source control or bug tracking applications, but this post is more about high level tools. For some reason a large number of project managers still think it’s acceptable to specify projects, their requirements, and their ongoing progress using applications like word, excel, and email. For those skydrive fans out there who are up in arms, I’d have to say learn something new. Everyone has to know how to use the MS office suite (or perhaps the open/libre office suite), but as of this posting Microsoft hasn’t done a great job moving their desktop based applications to the cloud based format needed for true collaborative development. I can say this because I use skydrive frequently for person documentation, and I’ve found a lot of limitations when trying to use if for non-personal reasons (i.e. collaborative development).
So what collaborative development tools do I recommend/use, and why? The answer to this question will have to encompass a few separate posts, with each unique post discussing a particular application category. These categories will be:
2. Collaborative project specification/requirement tools
3. Collaborative project documentation tools
4. Collaborative project management tools
5. Personal and small group collaborative documentation tools
If you haven’t noticed yet, the keyword is “Collaborative.” In this day in age, if you’re trying to do it by yourself, you’ll either fail, or no one will use/maintain what you’ve created (trust me on this one). Either way, you’ve wasted your time and someone’s resources.