Google Docs Improved, Will this Affect Wave?

A new version of Google Documents is now on its transition process and a list of better features are presented to the public for a more developed data management. Here are a few to mention:

Real-time collaboration

In this new addition, users are allowed to see updates from other collaborators as they do changes or editing in a specific document on a real-time basis. This feature is very helpful especially in situations when problems occur.

Higher quality imports

There is a better consistency of importing from a desktop into Google Docs. Scanning through files is no longer a hassle.

Communication through Chat

This is the most exciting part with the new version of Google Docs. As a user makes changes, he or she can communicate with other collaborators through the use of chat within the document itself.

Ruler

Google documents have a ruler for setting margins, indentations, and tab stops.

These improved features above make Google Docs a lot more fun to use, however, many might be asking now if this innovation will affect Wave.

Is this going to be good for wave or will this mean that wave is no longer up for use? Or, does this mean Google Docs will gain better advantage over wave when it comes to collaboration?

Despite of these uncertainties, what’s good about this is that there are still remarkable differences between the two. One to point out is Docs doesn’t have the ability to work with robots which Wave is capable of doing.

Many might suggest that it may possibly be more interesting if Docs becomes a client of Wave. This way, collaborators can edit documents using Wave or vice versa, which really makes integration and work collaboration easier and faster.

Planning meetings with multiply particpants in Wave

For the Google Wave meetup we in Copenhagen today, we did all the planning regarding the meeting in a wave. It did not work out. It was only three participants how showed up to the meetup, and it was all the presenters or organizers. I hope that it is just the weather, but think there could also be some part of the wave usage that could be different.

We did some mistakes that I will probably do again, but at least try to avoid.

  • First we did a survey about when to have the meeting, and we had to change the time because it did not fit with the schedule of university where the event should be held.
  • I also asked people to contribute and participate in create an agenda. Most people are not interested in giving presentations, but instead what to learn. Which is why the meeting is taking place.
  • We did not send out reminder mails. It would probably be a good idea to send out reminder mails to all the involved participants in the wave a day or two before. Many people may have mute the wave so they don’t see it as a reminder that an upcoming event is taking place.
  • Did not have a clear RSVP where people could indicate that they were going to attend.

So next time we are going to plan a meetup. We will create an agenda and a place a head of time and then add people to sign up to the event. I if they want then people can contribute to the agenda if they want more topics.

I will also send an email to all persons how have indicated that they would like to come or are coming. That will for me sometimes make it easier to attend.

Planning meetings might be something that will be much easier to do in 12sprints, since you have a much more controlled environment for creating decisions.

I talked with Jacques Holst about planning, and he said the web never had been a one communication strategy. I think we have to remember that there are many other forms of communication to look for.

Image by Jonas K

Using Wave to help Haiti

I got a tweet from Marilyn Pratt about @CrisisCamp was using Google Wave to aid in their organization with regards to their effort in Haiti.

CrisisCamp is using both Wikis and Google Wave for their effort in collaborating with their support. CrisisCamp is about helping NGOs with supporting their technology needs.

Their main wave can be found on this link. The Goal with the Wave is:

Join camps, activities, people and learning in this effort to support Haiti. And do this synchronously and in real time.

It seems that Google Wave will provide a better helping. But it is fair more accessable than a wiki, and you can start with editing with out the hassle of wikis.

I sure hope their efforts will help save lives in Haiti.

Scrum Task board gadget

There as been a taskboard gadget for Google Wave for a long time that we talked about in the Wave calendars first day.  The idea with this gadget was to make it simple to promote ideas between users and make then able to manage the project.

On MasteringWave we have produced a new Taskboard gadget, created in flex where there is spend some more time on the interface to make it look wave-y. The gadget lets you assign users to tasks and view which tasks are unassigned.

I have created a small video demonstrating how the gadget works.

To get access to the link, join our newsletter on the right menu then you will get a link to the gadget. (I need to make some tweeks before I can send it out but it should happen within a few days).

The taskboard gadget fits very well with our other scrum gadget the Wave Planning poker gadget. Do you think there are any tools missing to create a better scrum experience.

Etiquette on Wave to is too complicated

One of my favorite blogs on Google  Wave (The Shiny Wave)  have picked up a Wave with Etiquette on Google Waves. The interesting aspect is that when you are working with somebody else you can get a lot of noise or disturbance. Many times when you are collaborating with a lot of other people you are missing the rules for the conversation. This etiquette is a way to make some of the rules more global.

With no Access Control Layers (ACL) or rules it is not possible to ban people from editing any part of the Wave. That mean if you have public waves or to a group waves you need to hope your users does not make any changes. So Google Wave is build on trust and you need to trust the people in order to make posts go nuts.

There is a good judgment of people not to mess up any documents. An example is the The Declaration of Independence, where it would look really strange if anyone changed on the wave. It seems like nobody are vandalizing the document. On a side note the document and users seems to originate from thirteencolonies.net, which must be a hosted domain. So you can share from hosted domains to Wave. Can anyone edit in the Wave hire?

The blog on the Shiny Wave mentions a Wave By Elliot Cable, which talks about the different types of moderation. All waves should med have on of the following tags. I would suggest you to go to the wave to get the full idea of each type.

  • tag:moderated: is the mildest form of moderation and therefore give most discussions.
  • tag:edit-moderated: is where only the initial blip should not be changed but the rest are more relaxed.
  • tag:reply-moderated: is where the participants should collaborate in a separate Wave, the Wave owner will then transfer the content to the Wave.
  • tag:locked: is when you don’t anybody to edit in your Wave, so why use Wave?

One problem is that you have to understand the difference between those four levels of interaction. If you have not written the rules or been a part in the generation, you will not know how to see the difference and what you are allowed to to on the current Wave. This could stop people from taking a part in the discussion.

Most if not all of the rules described hire should be possible to implement programmatic. It would make it much easier for users to implement the changes suggested. Then it is just to make the changes a part of the ACL for the Wave protocol, which obvious also needs to support the changes.