I’ve been lucky enough to meet Jean Tabaka before I’d read her book, Collaboration Explained. She’s a very humble and knowledgeable lady, and you can see both of those attributes in her book about effective collaboration. It’s probably heavy reading for some people. For the right kind of people, I imagine it’s very easy to digest. If you’re working on projects in a team, especially as a team leader or a project manager, it’s a great book that equips you with lots of practices and tools that come in handy every single day. Even if you’re not working in any of aforementioned roles, as a member of any team, it offers lots of gems worth digging for.
Don’t be daunted by the book’s thickness – Tabaka’s laid the four hundred or so pages well with a decent index and table of contents, making it easy to jump around to topics that interest you. I fortunately had a few hours in the airport and the plane to give me a good chance of reading the detail of the sections that interested me.
A lot of the topics that Takaba covers are very relevant to any environment in which you’re working and even more so in agile development teams where collaboration is key. I definitely relate to many of the stories that she talks about, littering the book and giving real examples of the tools in practice. It’s well written and many of the models are useful straight away.
There’s a little bit of repetition – some of it probably because it’s written in a way that allows you to digest chapters on their own, and maybe so that it really lets the lessons sink in. It also talks about a number of topics that aren’t directly related to facilitation though are still useful in their own way for setting a better context such as leadership and specific agile methodologies. In a way, a lot of the practices draw from many other disciplines and although not necessarily completely new, are presented in a very easy to digest manner.
I’d definitely add this to my recommended reading list, especially for people who want to improve the effectiveness of their teams.