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Cooperation in the framework of projects has become more complex in recent years, especially by the transfer of work to other countries like India, China and Poland. Many international companies have moved operations from a cost point of view from relatively expensive countries like the Netherlands to countries where the hourly rates are considerably lower. The consequence is that cooperation between people follows a completely different model. Problems arising from language, time zone and cultural differences. I can say from personal experience that it can be significant! 

Cooperation in this context between people from different countries requires solutions other than when people are physically together. Communication between people is different and this is often the most crucial component, the non-verbal communication, often missing or present to a limited extent. Conference calls are a way to speak to each other. Video conferencing is yet another step further in terms of communication, and it shows non-verbal communication, but there is nevertheless still a missing a part of this important non-verbal communication because people can behave differently when a camera is located on them. Secondly, it is often only the face in an image that reveals part of what this person actually feels. Thirdly, the images are often relatively small soit is not easy to see the image details of facial expressions.

A cheap solution is to use Skype with a webcam (often built standard in laptops) so everyone can be a part of a group subscription. Only the president has to have a subscription and the number of participants should be limited (more than 7 to be really practical). It should be noted that sufficient bandwidth is required for such facilities so simple telephone connections in this case will not usable. Once registered once can also share screens together so, for example, someone can give a presentation and then the others can watch.

I went out in the above video conferencing on a small scale and not to big and professional video conferencing with whole groups of people can be seen on the big screen.

A Project Manager, besides aforementioned cooperation, should also be accessible. It should be noted that people have project information only on their local computers to make sure only and correct source information is on all project documentation. Microsoft SharePoint, for this example, is a standard product available. There are also many other parties with a variety of products for electronic collaboration. It should always be kept in mind what is actually intended and the size and duration of a project. Do not shoot with a gun on a mosquito.

The term 'cloud computing' should by now be assumed to be known. In short, this means that it is transparent to the user, for example where his / her data is stored or where the software is actually situated that he / she uses. This can be in a completely different country. The term 'SaaS' (Software as a Service) is an implementation of cloud computing with the supplier application software available, paid of course, in an environment which is managed by the supplier. These are, however, to make some comments and ask questions.

  1. A reliable and fast Internet connection are crucial. No connection in this context can not access data or application software and therefore can not possibly work.
  2. If the connection is properly secured in accordance with the requirements of the client?
  3. How good is the environment protected from the supplier (including access to the data center)?
  4. How are the backups regularly (frequency, mechanism (full, incrementals, ...)?
  5. Where the data is physically stored and especially in what country? It is not legally permitted to store just outside the country of origin. Notably personal data. A special note should be when the cloud is made in the US. In this case, various U.S. Government organizations (such as intelligence) have legal access to the data in the "cloud" in the context of anti-terrorism (Patriot Act).