How Do You Define Collaboration?

What does collaboration look like in your organization? Depending on your role, your focus on back-end knowledge management systems versus end user productivity solutions, your answer may be different than mine. With the volumes I write on the topic of collaboration, I've noted that a few people step forward from time to time and argue that my definition of collaboration is not consistent with theirs….which got me thinking: Is there a common definition of collaboration that applies? Common sense tells me no, there is not one standard definition – but there are commonalities that we can agree on, right?

CollabTalk March 2016As most of you are aware, we recently launched a community initiative called 'Measuring Collaboration Success' (which you can follow on Twitter at #MeasureCollabSuccess) which includes an anonymous survey that has slowly but surely been gathering steam, and which is already showing some interesting results. (You can take the survey here). This survey focuses largely on the 'definition' question, because its where we need to begin the discussion — because if your organization cannot come together and create a shared understanding of what collaboration looks like, how do you know when you've achieved "success" and how will you measure your progress? It's an interesting topic with many layers, and I'm looking forward to the discussion.

For these tweetjams, I usually reach out to my network and invite 20 to 30 experts, authors, and practitioners to join the discussion. While I'm sure we'll have a number of people joining in, as always, regardless of being part of the panel, this time I've asked members of the 'Measuring Collaboration Success' initiative to join the panel, with most committing to being there. Please join us on Thursday, March 31st at 9am PST as we take an hour to discuss “Defining Collaboration in the Modern Enterprise" and engage with our experts, MVPs, and community members from around the world as we tackle this topic and share our thoughts and experiences.

If you’ve never participated in one of these tweetjams, it's pretty simple: anyone can jump in and share their thoughts, or just lurk in the wings and absorb the wisdom of the crowd. Either way, it’ll be a TON of content to consume in a single hour. You can follow the live session using the Twitter UI of your choice (, Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, Twubs, whatever). How it works is that I’ll post a series of questions every few minutes, and people will respond to Q1, Q2, Q3 and so forth with A1, A2, A3, always including the #CollabTalk hashtag with their answers. Feel free to reply as often (or as little) as you’d like, ask your own follow up questions, share relevant links, retweet others, and engage with the audience.

The questions we will discuss during the session include:

  1. What does "collaboration" mean inside your organization?
  2. Who "owns" collaboration in your organization: Business or IT, and why?
  3. Has collaboration evolved over the past 5 years? If so, how and why?
  4. How much do the technology vendors dictate your collaboration strategy?
  5. In your opinion, what is missing from your organization's collaboration approach?
  6. Do your collaboration efforts drive business value? How, or why not?
  7. Does your company have a formal collaboration strategy?

Of course, there will be side-questions, side-conversations, and wise-cracking throughout. The dialog is usually thought-provoking but also fun. Participating on this panel are a number of MVPs and experts on SharePoint and Office 365. Of course, this is open to the public, so please join in the discussion!

  • Jason Himmelstein (@sharepointlhorn), SharePoint MVP and Office 365 advisory services manager at Rackspace
  • John White (@diverdown1964), SharePoint MVP and cto at UnlimitedViz Inc.
  • Sue Hanley (@susanhanley), SharePoint MVP, portal, KM, and SharePoint consultant
  • Michal Pisarek (@michalpisarek), SharePoint MVP and founder of Bonzai Intranet
  • Benjamin Niaulin (@bniaulin), Office 365 MVP and evangelist at ShareGate
  • Eric Overfield (@ericoverfield), Office Servers and Services MVP, founder of PixelMill
  • Jeff Willinger (@jwillie), director of collaboration and social business at Rightpoint
  • Richard Harbridge (@rharbridge), Office Server and Services MVP, cto of 2toLead
  • Andrew Simmonds (@innovationbrokr), consulting director at Clustre
  • Tamara Bredemus (@tamarabred), director of collaborative services at City of Minneapolis
  • Marc Anderson (@sympmarc), SharePoint MVP and co-founder, president of Sympraxis Consulting
  • Naomi Moneypenny (@nmoneypenny), Office365 MVP and cto at ManyWorlds
  • Adam Levithan (@collabadam), senior product manager at Metalogix
  • Jeff Fried (@jefffried), cto and vp of engineering at BA Insight
  • Eric Riz (@rizinsights), SharePoint MVP and ceo of Empty Cubicle 
  • and your host, Christian Buckley (@buckleyplanet), Office Server and Services MVP and cmo for Beezy

I've already received interest from a dozen or more additional experts from the community — all are welcome, and it should be a fantastic discussions. As always, everyone is invited to participate whether or not you’re part of the panel. Join the conversation using the #CollabTalk hashtag and share your thoughts.

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.