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Observations On A Trans-Oceanic Collaboration: Anecdotes From An HP Labs Initiative

Dinkelacker, Jamie; Hirsh, Sandra


Keyword(s): collaboration; distributed teams; videoconferencing; information usage; work practices

Abstract: Over the Spring and Summer, 2001, groups of researchers from HP Labs in Palo Alto, California and another from HP Labs in Bristol, England engaged in a collaborative project to develop a fresh and forward- looking strategy for their Research Center. The overall experience indicated that three general areas presented significant challenges for effective progress: meeting management, communications technology, and document management. Other such elements as: time-zone differences (8 hrs.), working at home vs. the labs, and size of a sub-team were also factors, although these were of lesser importance. The primary observation was that the technologies, as used in this context, were as much hindrances as they were advantages. Distributing documents via email was used most frequently, whereas shared drives and the Center website were considered least useful. In terms of information sources, collaborators relied foremost on their own personal collections, followed by items located on the Web, and from colleagues outside of HP. Recommendations and areas for additional research are identified.

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