Automattic’s Prologue looks to be a nice solution to a team “war room” for distributed teams.
A frequently-underestimated benefit of the team “war room” is how it enables emergent knowledge. If I mumble to myself (as I frequently do) “now why is Apache redirecting us there…?” someone is likely to mumble back “checked the root htaccess lately?” and perhaps my problem is solved. Great fun. Great help. But hard to achieve on a distributed/virtual team.
I’ve enabled this sort of behavior in virtual teams via wiki, and also via Twitter (thanks to Chris Spagnuolo for the idea). But Twitter doesn’t have the concept of a “room,” so setting one up for everyone on your team — and keeping it private — is a bit of a pain. And Twitter’s one-username-per-email means some annoying collisions.
Campfire and IRC also have their uses, but cost and security respectively might be a blocker for you. Skype’s “conference” is nice, with the added benefit that you can start a voice call/conference whenever you want. But everyone’s updates live in the Skype app, not on a web page. So if someone new joins the team, they don’t get benefit of reading the team’s history.
I think Prologue is just what I’ve been looking for:
- installable on your own server
- your updates to your team are saved on a web page (you could even incorporate the RSS into your team wiki somewhere)
- flexible permission controls
- familiar blogging-style interface
Check out the live demo or have a download.