The case for asynchronous collaboration

January 4, 2018
There's a hype around collaboration tools: not only when it comes to building the best one but also getting your team to use the best one. There are so many yet still so much inefficiency. This is especially true in the startup ecosystem and in SMBs where it's not so difficult to change tools so you're constantly bombarded with many new options.

Have we reached collaborative overload?
 
Aka having notifications constantly blasted in your teams screens and a thousand different sources of information, resulting in an overall inefficient way of working? Judging from how reticent teams are to introducing new tools in their workflows and the number of articles that have been written in the past year about this topic, it seems that, indeed, we have reached collaborative overload.
 
The proof? Teams are still dissatisfied with many of the collaboration tools they're using and new products still come out every year offering new solutions to age old problems. While now it's clear that there exist affordable and accessible collaboration tools, the next challenge is making sure that your team is using the magic of collaboration in the most efficient way possible.
 
With this crazy amount of collaboration apps, it's easy to feel lost: what to use for what? Will my content collaboration tool intersect with my communications tool? What about my project management tool? And can I integrate this tool with this one? You get the point...
 
That's why you'll find a billion articles about how xxx renown company uses xxx renown product. Also why websites like StartupStack are so popular.
 
Rethinking team collaboration
 
Today tools send notifications, and comments, and chats, and our team members can be notified instantly of the work that we do. We save a tremendous amount of time. It's also allowing endless possibilities for the future of work: if it weren't for collaboration tools, the idea of remote teams would be impossible.
 
But just as too many meetings are inefficient, so are too many collaboration apps. These tools leave people longing for the days where you could concentrate on one task without interruption. It seems that the rise of collaboration tools has gotten people confusing what deserves to be treated as synchronous (instant) collaboration and what should be asynchronous.
 
A good example is collaborating on content: you finished an article and you need your team member to read it so you message them on Slack with the link. You've just interrupted your team member's workflow with not a quick question or instant request but with a task that takes time out of their day. That's when synchronous collaboration starts to show drawbacks: if everything can be instantly shared or requested at any moment, where do you draw the line?
  
Solution to collaborative overload? Not necessarily the right tools but the right process around all the tools you use. It's crucial to choose collaborative products that combat collaborative overload. Mmhm isn't that a paradox? Not if you know when to choose tools that value asynchronous collaboration and give clear purposes to every single app your team works with. 
 
This is how we do
 
That's why we're building Slite: to push teams to use asynchronous collaboration for writing, sharing and working on content. We believe every team in their workflow should have a place that allows them to centralize team content, enrich it and improve overall team collaboration. One place where information is never lost and where asynchronisity is the rhythm of content collaboration and synchronisity the rhythm of team communication.
 
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