Lars Plougmann started a discussion last August of the role of email in project management that triggered a post on my part back in October. Lars has posted a nice summary of the discussion that flowed from his original post with links to many interesting posts on the topic. His conclusion:
Email is about messages and messages have proven useful for thousands of years. (Part of the reason that RSS is successful is that a feed can be presented as messages). Email software takes the strong conventions pertaining to messages and integrates them with the centuries old inbox paradigm – which itself was a way to transition from an industrial society to the information processing organisation by mimicking a conveyor belt. Altogether a very powerful concept which is the reason that email is how work gets done in today’s businesses.
It is only for a decade or so that we have achieved the ability to work together in the new ways that we have started to call collaboration. Our challenge is to explore what we can do with collaboration while weaving into it the message style of communication. Messages and inboxes (a.k.a. email) are an undeniable part of the future, but as concepts they will be fused with transparent, discoverable, content-persistent, workflow-enhancing, buddy-list-integrated, taggable and action-supporting collaboration tools.
Worth your time to explore, both for the discussion and some other voices examining the changing nature of work.