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shared workspace fail November 21, 2008

Posted by That Guy in Inexplicable Memos From Above, Observations, Technology Trouble.
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The concept of a shared workspace is something that companies have kicked around for a long time. Tech guys do it with code repositories; people who play role-playing games on their LiveJournals do it; even corporations are trying to do it by putting files on sharepoint sites (which, by the way, isn’t really doing it).

But there’s nothing worse than seeing a shared workspace used so poorly that your head actually aches from comprehending it.

Witness this e-mail I received from our Third Shift supervisor (it was sent to everyone, because she’s not technically-minded enough to make a distribution list just for her employees):

Goto calendar.google.com or gmail.com for access to Google Calendar

username: [corporatespeakthirdshift]@gmail.com
password: [thirdshift]

top of page click on “calendar”

This has been reproduced exactly as I saw it, except for changing some of the identifying characteristics of the person who sent it. And yes, the password is that simple.

Okay, here’s the thing:

  1. You can share a Google Calendar. Anyone — even people without Google accounts — can do it.
  2. The password is extremely un-secure. (It’s even simpler than the one I put there.)
  3. (and this is the one that bugs me the most) Our company’s Outlook e-mail system provides a way to do fully-featured shared calendars, and to notify everyone in a certain group when they are changed.

#3 would just make too much sense to a department that actually threw a fit when our IT guys removed the old intranet site and replaced it with the new sharepoint.

Anyway, we experienced a shared workspace FAIL at CorporateSpeak this week. I’m sure we’re not the only ones, but I’m surprised this is our first one.

I’ve considered adding a category called “FAIL”, but really, that’s what this blog is all about. So no “FAIL” category.

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