Collaborative Strategies

The three most common coordination strategies for collaborative writing are parallel, sequential, and mixed.

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Each methodology is based on how the work is divided among the people and has its own advantages and disadvantages.

 Parallel Collaboration

In this case, the writing effort is divided into sub-tasks which are assigned to different team members. These tasks can be completed simultaneously.

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 Different writers work simultaneously on the different chapters they are assigned or other activities they have to work on. This type of collaborative method is helpful when a project has to be complete in a short time frame.

Sequential Collaboration

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 This involves dividing the writing task in such a way that it happens in a sequential manner, one after the other. One writer completes a task and passes the document to another team member to perform another task. Consider a case wherein:

    1. Writer 1 gathers information, plans the project, and writes some (say, the introductory) part of the document.
    2. Writer 2 then take over and writes about the advanced features.
    3. Writer 3 takes the snapshots and puts them in the appropriate place in the document.
    4. Writer 4 edits the document.
    5. Writer 5 adds the index entries.

In this case, the document is distributed task-wise, not chapter-wise. So, it forms a kind of chain, wherein a person with expertise in a particular area performs the task they are good at and passes it on to another. Sequential collaboration is not the ideal way of creating a document. It takes up extra

time and effort. For example, Writer 3 has to run the software to take the snapshots where as the writers writing the document (Writer 1 and Writer 2) can do it when they run the software to write about it without having to use extra time or effort for that activity.

Mixed Collaboration

 collab-mix

It is a combination of parallel and sequential collaboration methods. Parallel collaboration is adapted and/or used followed for collecting information, writing, updating the document, and self-editing.

 Writers complete certain areas/portions of the document and they are edited by the writers on the other areas of the document. Sequential collaboration comes into picture during the editing and indexing phase.

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