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My Neighbor and The Value of Project Weblogs

Yesterday I met my neighbor, Josh Peterson, for the first time. Josh lives around the corner, but we hadn’t taken the time to meet in person. However, I know Josh pretty well. I knew when his new baby was born; I know about his favorite web sites, his work projects and life in general. Josh and I go back a few months now.

What made this meeting interesting is the level of knowledge we had about one another’s thoughts going into the meeting. He knew me too, though we had never spoken and only shared 2 emails.

We could do this because we both use weblogs. Thanks to our weblogs, we could meet and already feel like we’re on the same page. We knew each other’s backstory. Our meeting was productive because we could cut the crap and get to the real “us�?.

Now, let’s switch gears completely. Let’s pretend I was working in a big company and meeting with a team I didn’t know instead of my neighbor. Ordinarily, I would have to walk into the meeting cold and ask questions to understand the team, the goals, the people, the accomplishments, the culture. Most of our first meeting would be devoted to understanding the team and allowing them to understand me- or making uninformed assumptions about one another. Does it have to be this way?

I don’t think it does. If the team used a simple weblog or journal on an Intranet page, they could tell their story on a day-to-day basis, in minutes. They could post what they’ve accomplished, what they’re doing, who they are, why they matter. This information would allow me and countless others in the company to be informed about them and ready to work with the context of their team culture. Much like my meeting with Josh, the weblog would make our time together more productive.

As I left Josh’s house, we agreed to be in touch. It went unsaid, but we both knew that we would be reading each other’s weblogs in the future. Just like the weblog informed me for the first meeting, our weblogs enable us to passively be aware of one another’s thoughts and observations into the future.

Does this make sense for meetings in corporations? Is there an opportunity here to make meetings between colleagues more productive by helping them be more informed prior to the meeting ? I think there could be.