Nowadays, we hear more about wikis, blogs and tweets than forums. Actually, forums are not as "Web 2.0" as these collaboration tools. Nevertheless, discussion forums are incredibly useful in a project management application, from a collaboration standpoint.
Everybody's talking about Twitter and how cool it is to post 140-character messages. I definitely agree with that. However, let's not forget that a forum enables you to post both short and long messages. With Twitter, if you have a lot to say, you'll have to post several short messages, which is not always convenient and interesting to read. A forum still remains the best of both worlds.
In AceProject, there's a comment thread at the task level and a discussion forum at the project level. Both empower involved users to share ideas, knowledge, tips or any other useful information. The discussion forum is more powerful however. In addition to general discussion, it permits creating topics. Messages are then posted in a specific topic and replies to these messages can be posted thereafter. Hence, collaboration capabilities using this feature abound. From building a knowledgebase to simulating a helpdesk, the discussion forum is much more than a simple conversation tool.
Here are a few practical examples of how the discussion forum can be used in a project:
- Build a knowledgebase that can be used for troubleshooting. Users can easily search for keywords using "Text-to-Search", which helps them find answers to their questions in a flash.
- Create a wishlist (gather customer requests, potential enhancements, etc.).
- Simulate a helpdesk system (allow customers to post messages when they encounter issues and have every issue handled by your support staff). Thanks to the email notification feature, the customer can get notified when their issue gets fixed.
- Use it as a blog (why not?)
- Discuss issues
- Share knowledge
- Build a FAQ
- And more…
Here's a video that highlights the discussion forum feature in AceProject.