I suspect that many SharePoint implementations are justified on the basis of improving collaboration, even though there is usually only at best anecdotal information about poor outcomes of collaborative working. Anecdotes usually form the basis of most books offering advice on collaboration, and the result that it is difficult to take advantage of the advice in your own organisation. This excellent book takes a different perspective. Michael Sampson’s latest book,  Collaboration Roadmap,  comes with the strap line “You’ve got the technology – now what?” and is full of practical advice and (just as important) encouragement to do collaboration better. Michael has been studying the technology, business implications and cultural aspects of collaboration for nearly two decades, integrating information, experience and knowledge about effective collaboration into a book full of wisdom. Collaboration Roadmap will tell you all you need to know about how to get the best from the technology.

The sections of this 320 page book are

  • Really understand the technology
  • Outline the vision
  • Accept technology is a small factor in success
  • Determine your governance approach
  • Make every effort to engage the business
  • Apply intentional energy to adoption
  • Pursue increasing value

Although there is a substantial chapter of over 60 pages on technology the emphasis is on understanding what features are needed to support collaboration and how to evaluate the extent to which your current technology platform is able to deliver these features.  Michael has a great deal of experience of Microsoft and IBM collaboration technologies but the book is absolutely vendor neutral, and there is an emphasis on recognising and working within the capabilities of your current technology platform before making any arbitrary decision to change. I especially liked Chapter 6 on how to engage with the business, in which Michael sets out five hallmarks of engagement and then follows with seven engagement strategies, of which the first is lunch! I also like the way that Michael brings a large number of frameworks and models into play to help readers understand the fundamental principles of effective collaboration, and that he is very open about presenting the ideas of others who have looked in detail at the processes and problems of collaboration.

Michael has self-published this book but the production quality is higher than many commercial publishers achieve. The cover artwork alone will make you want to have this book on your desk to show that you (thanks to Michael) really do know how to get the best out of the teams you work on, or work with.  The book is full of charts and diagrams that will soon find their way onto a whiteboard in your office. At just $39 it is excellent value for money. Why not buy one for each of your team leaders and one for your CIO?

Michael runs superb workshops, so if you want to have a personal guide through the book why not come to his Collaboration Master Class in London on 15 March?

Martin White