|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Groove needs external interfaces
Enigmativity Blog had an entry about Groove that matched my experience: "One guy I had using Groove on a particular project has ceased using it when the project finished. That is despite his enthusiasm to buy Groove for his department. He saw the value, raved about it, used it, and then stopped. Maybe because our joint project finished he just wasn't "in there" everyday and the magic wore off. I would really love to know why Groove doesn't get the following that it deserves." I made this comment in response.
I've noticed the same effect - a few enthusiastic users, plus many who are happy for one project and then forget about it. It seems each project needs (1) an appropriate focus and/or (2) an evangelist. Certain projects were slam-dunks, I did very little evangelizing. One example: A group needed to write a lot of documentation and place on a website on a tight schedule. One member of the group was the webmaster, another the visio master, another keeps the client informed of progress, and three are content experts. Of the six, 2 are almost always off-site. Groove was perfect, allowing each person to do their part in a common space, regardless of location or other commitments, and never out of step with the others. Once the project was done and the output online, there was no more need for groove, and email became the preferred comms tool. Without the tight deadline and the ongoing swarm of activity, there was no drive to use the groove.
I keep a couple back-burner projects going on in Groove. I'm the customer of the projects with off-site contractors, and I want the common organization and isolation of the Groove space, so the project stays in Groove. Even so, I have to remind some people to visit the space from time to time (by sending them an email reminder!) The project doesn't demand groove, but I'm an evangelist, so that's where it lives.
Groove thinks too simply about group membership - you're either inside the group or you're outside. Most real-world groups have a fuzzier boundary, with an inner group that's committed and working hard, surrounded by other interested parties that want to be informed or have input on a more casual basis.
If Groove had some integration with email, RSS, and websites like wiki or drupal, it'd be a lot more useful. If there were file and discussion and announcement tools that duplicated some Groove info via email, RSS or web pages, the space would allow other interested parties to interact without converting to Groove.
(btw, Groove has a Sharepoint connector that I tested, but it's not helpful for this purpose. It works for extending Sharepoint to offline users or across firewalls, by duplicating info into a specially-structured Groove space. But its structure reproduces Sharepoint without many good features of Groove, and it still considers all users to be "insiders".)