This just doesn’t make sense. I know what is written down but it isn’t clear. I wish someone within that meeting had captured more information. I’m just not sure what it is they were actually looking to achieve…”

If you’ve ever worked on document driven projects then you will almost certainly have heard that comment, or perhaps even uttered similar yourself. It’s amazing how important context is and how easily it’s lost in the process of converting thoughts and ideas into a set of requirements.

This is where Agile methodologies shine and rightly claim to provide a richer information environment than the traditional more formalized delivery approaches. Context is maintained through constant interaction and dialogue within the team and with the customer/product owner who can confirm and clarify their intent as knowledge and understanding of the team increases.

This close collaboration benefits from co-located teams and rich visualization of information being radiated from Kan-Ban boards to maintain that common understanding of the team goals. Context is further maintained through the verbalization at the daily pull-ups with the whole team re-syncing every 24 hours ensuring that common understanding is maintained.

But what happens when the team cannot be co-located and are unable to convene around that whiteboard? Distributed teams who wish to collaborate need to do so leveraging digital toolsets. But sadly this is where the issue of context dilution creeps in.

When teams are given disparate tools to collaborate with the result is a narrowing of the communication bandwidth with information being condensed and aggregated to fit into the confines of the user interface. This information is also dispersed across the different toolsets which adds to the abstraction of context leading to disconnects and ultimately slowing the team in their progress.

Those of us at IdeasCast have experienced this first hand and so when we set out to develop OpusView, our Enterprise Social Software flagship platform, we knew that capturing and maintaining context was a core requirement.

Rich visualization features such as Mind Mapper and Sketcher enable the teams to share and convey their ideas effortlessly. Blogs and Wiki components are complemented further by voting and feedback features supporting real-time collaborative decision-making. These all combine to build the momentum that is characteristic of high performing teams.

So if you’re tired of staring at digital whiteboards trying to decipher context and meaning from a 3 line user story come and talk to us here at IdeasCast and ask for a demo of OpusView. We guarantee you have nothing to lose!