Do you have a Collaboration Contract with your team?

When establishing a new team or starting on a new project, people acknowledge that they will collaborate; but often they don’t discuss¬†how they’re going to collaborate.

This can sometimes lead to disconnection and even frustration between team members, as not everyone is on the same page. For some this might be due to a lack of familiarity with the tools chosen, or for others it may be due to different working styles.

The reality is that we are all different, and have different ways of working.

To help with this, fellow MVP Sue Hanley and I put together the guidelines for establishing a ‘collaboration contract‘, which is not just about tools – it’s about people and how they work together, as well as tools. Tools won’t fix problems created by people, and so a ‘collaboration contract’ focuses on connecting the people to each other as well as the tools; so that everyone is more successful when working together.

(And while we’re both Office Servers and Services MVPs, it isn’t restricted to just users of Office 365.)



Mimecast: a case study in how NOT to write ads

For the past few weeks myself and a number of colleagues who work with Microsoft products have seen our Facebook feed continually lit up with ads like this from Mimecast:

Before I go any further let me apply a disclaimer: I have no beef with Mimecast. I am not on the payroll of a competing vendor. I do not think Microsoft security is perfect. In fact I think that Mimecast make some good products.

So why am I writing this post and why do I care? Because apart from continually hiding these ads, they continue to appear and assault my senses with their poor messaging. I have attempted to post a comment on the ads but it appears the “social engagement” here is only one way.

What is wrong with these ads you ask? Two main things:

  • Calling out “numerous security gaps”
  • Incorrectly stating that Office 365 only has a “single security layer”

I work with a number of vendors that build solutions to enhance and extend Office 365 functionality, ranging from end user widgets through to corporate governance solutions. Notice how I didn’t say Office 365 has gaps in its functionality?

It’s not a case of being right or wrong This comes down to marketing messaging and copywriting. Vendors who buddy up to other vendors and offer complimentary solutions should not be calling out where the other is deficient, and that they have the fix. Calling out limitations and where a product ends is one thing, because no product can do everything for everyone. Language is everything in today’s ever-social online world. Trash-talking is what vendors do when they compete with another vendor, and even then, it doesn’t come off as a positive representation. Trash-talking a vendor you compliment, well that’s just stupid.

So, Mimecast: please take down your ads from Facebook and replace them with something that does not prey on fear, but instead refers to where your fantastic solutions go above and beyond what Office 365 offers.