I’ve been in Newcastle all this week, visiting my company’s other main office in the UK. It’s been great trip — I’d not been this far north before and it’s beautiful! The only downside is that I’ve realised how insanely annoying the touchpad on my laptop is. I keep brushing it with my thumbs as I type and ending up typing in a completely different place to where I want to type!

Irritations aside, the reason I had to come up here was because a number of my projects have key users and influencers up here. In order to discuss things properly and to keep people up-to-date on project events, a lot of travel is necessary. As I was on the way up on the train, however, I was thinking about how project blogs might be able to solve some of this.

The number of times that people have to fly just to get a project update is rather silly. Equally, however, there doesn’t seem to be much option. With a number of people working on a project, over a period of a fortnight or so enough small developments (and large!) stack up that everyone needs to know about that you end up with a 2 hour long status meeting by the end of it. Then you have the follow-up afterwards as well, to catch up with all the people who couldn’t make the status meeting.

This all sounds a little silly and I’m going to propose a pilot project blog to see if it can make things work better. That way we can move from a “push” information model (where people are put together in a room once in a while and updated) to a “pull” model — everyone involved in the project puts updates on the project blog and people can read about what’s going on whenever it suits them.

I see that this has a number of benefits, if it works. Less travel, more time spent discussing & deciding than updating, development of a sense of community online that possibly the real-world meetings don’t foster quite as well. The issue will be getting the corporation to decide that it’s alright from a security point of view and getting those involved in the project to realise that although they might think they “don’t have time” to write updates, they will actually save time and be more effective in the longer run.

I wonder how this sort of thing works in companies. Although I’ve found loads of info about individual blogs, because I suppose most project blogs will be within the realms of the company firewall it is harder to find information, experiences and best practice.