In this blog posting from May 2004, Johanna Rothman talks about how easy it is to build a schedule for a small project using just yellow sticky notes. Back in June, I commented on Roy Osherove's whiteboard-based project management, and asked for links to software tools that were as easy to collaborate with. None were forthcoming, but thanks to Michelle Levesque's recent experience at VanPy, I now know where to look.

Michelle saw people in several conference sessions using SubEthaEdit to take notes collaboratively. For those who haven't seen it, SEE allows any number of people to edit a single document simultaneously. It sounds like a recipe for chaos, but if authors are willing to follow a few obvious social rules, it can be tremendously productive. Michelle and Karen Reid are already thinking about having students use it during lectures to take a single, shared set of notes (and about how to prevent the one bad apple in every class from spoiling it).

I'm now wondering whether something like SEE could make electronic schedule construction as easy as whiteboards and yellow sticky notes. I know that wikis can be used this way, but wikis feel like email and turn-based games, while SEE has the zing of instant messaging and real-time games [1]. Schedule negotiation feels like it needs rapid, interactive give-and-take, at least for small projects (a dozen programmers, a dozen months).

So, let me ask my question again: who's building rapid-fire interactive scheduling and tracking tools using collaborative editing? Anyone? Anyone at all?

[1] Like Homeworld, the best real-time strategy game ever built---socks, but the sequels were disappointing...