Collaboration takes work. Sometimes too much work for the value added.

Even in a small non-profit organization, posting the right versions of a file on the right section of the website takes a lot of collaboration. Some of the information is open and can be shared with the world. Other information is only for members. So it needs to be placed in the section of the website that requires a member log-in.

This seems like a relatively simple thing to do, but there really are a lot steps.

The creation of the file in the first place is a multi week effort with most of the volunteers submitting their contributions at the last possible moment or beyond.

Important changes come in from important committee members document even after it has been posted. This requires that a new version of the document be posted. However, since the email announcing that the document is available has been created and approved we have to make sure that the link for the download remains the same. This is not hard to do, but it is not the default behavior.

Changing the link in the announcement email isn’t hard to do either but there are more chances for mistakes, so trying to keep the link the same seemed like the better solution.

There were 4 people involved in this process. There were probably more than 20 emails in the course of a few hours to make the changes to the documents and get them posted in the right place.

Things ended up OK in the end and the several people that care about the information will be able to access it online.

It is true that the effort was worth it due to the number of trees that were saved in lieu of printing these documents and getting them distributed.

The sad downside is that a version of the document will still be created and handed out. But be that as it may.

There are still a lot of interesting human behaviors in this whole process. The first is the value of the document being created. It feels like it is the transparent thing to do…so even if no one reads it value is created.

The last minute nature of people submitting their information for the document. The decision of what can posted in the open and what needed to be restricted.

And finally getting the right people together to post the information on the website and then test everything to make sure it works.

The actual publishing time of this didn’t take that long, but the process of getting this posted across the different collaborators took a lot of mental energy and elapsed time.

This is what collaboration looks like in the information age.