Collaboration - Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow - Boston KM Forum
At the Boston KM Forum meeting today, Lynda Moulton and Larry Chait put together a speaker lineup that reminds us of past experience where collaboration worked, and highlights key trends that speak to trends making collaboration a credible activity in the future.
Patti Anklam, Former DEC now Hutchinson Associates, gave a presentation asking "Are we collaborating yet?" DEC's VAX Notes was their collaboration platform of the day, unfortunately now extinct when VAX terminals were replaced by PCs.
She mentioned key success factors include the same social software and technology constraints and opportunities which we face today:
- Project manager commits to the Notes platform as the sole source of data.
- Adherence to social norms.
- Central directory
- Integrated with email and the file system.
- Same tool available on everyone's desk.
- Corporate support and commitment.
- Moderators with access to many spaces add value by helping to organize and structure the spaces.
Comment from a another former DEC employee in the audience: I think the personal Notes files that allowed people to self-train.
Patti points out that another success factor was driven by the homogeneous network where everyone used the same terminal type, the same email and were on a common network.
Implication: Browser, email and web services standards now only begin to provide the value of the homogeneous networkof the 1970s.
Liz McKay Beckhardt (former QuickPlace product manager) told "the QuickPlace Story.
Liz started by presenting the idea of a Haiku (A minimalist form of poetry containing 17 or fewer syllables through which to convey a rich experience) as a metaphor for simplicity in QuickPlace.
Quickplace was most successful when used for a specific use case or business process.
Implication: Focus on a business case or process helps people get out of email and normalize behaviour in a collaborative space.
Applied to Liz's own team, they had a hard time weaning off of (Lotus) Notes.
Implication: Simple was OK as a base from which to start, but with a little time and training in the use of the collaborative space, teams demand full tool sets.
Comment from the audience: I am working at an enterprise that deployed collaboration software.
Liz discussed need for access controls.
Donald Chand (Professor of CIS at Bentley College) discussed the "Social side of making global work collaborative.
Collaboration doesn't just happen.
In an analysis of culture, Dr.
To be successful with collaboration, companies need to invest in Technology, Training, Travel, and Process & Models.
- Use Social Software
- Help Workers find common ground (encourage chit chat, train workers on popular culture)
- Replace cross cultural training with relationship building training
- Hold face to face meetings at neutral sites to reduce travel load.
Implication: Global collaboration requires global cooperation and a set of tools to facilitate communication and the relationships which come from it.
Bob Wolf (Boston Consulting Group) presented "Collaboration Rules - Extreme Collboration at Toyota and in Open Source Software.
Bob led off by quoting Joy's Law: "No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.
To illustrate he showed a few diagrams resembling the back of a retina.
- The first showed a pharmaceutical research group at the fringe of a well distrubuted network with many satellite clusters rather than center of their technical domain.
- Another showed the linux kernel mailing list.
This diagram showed a massive contributor pool at the margin, and a center that is very small (maybe 10 people), and focused more on response than contribution to the community.
Implication of the Linux community: Program teams are tightly bound around small core groups.
Bob continued on presenting a great deal of research to be published in HBR.
Larry Chait (Managing Director, Chair and Associates) finished with "Tying things together.
Mission critical to team
Embedded into work processes
Culture and behaviour change
Implication: While collaborative environments and social networking software can be adopted virally, a range of success factors must be in place to enable or accelerate the process.