Where’s the real value in using collaborative software?

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I love software. I’m particularly fond of tools that aim to support teamwork, e.g. managing projects. Still, every now and then I ask myself: “Where’s the real value in using collaborative software?” — bearing in mind that geographically dispersed teams aren’t the most popular form of teamwork. Questions that come to mind:

  • Is software an excuse not to move people to a common location?
  • Are the business benefits related to buying the new tool sufficient?
  • Can my team do with a whiteboard and a good idea instead?
  • Is everyone ready to jump on the e-bandwagon?
  • What are the entry barriers for new users?
  • What if we decided to ditch the tool after some time?

Before getting too excited, it’s good to have the following in mind:

“To a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail.” (Mark Twain)