Working Across Boundaries

June 16, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageIn his Jun 2, 2013 blog post, Chess Media analyst and author Jacob Morgan asks: How Open is Too Open? He asks "Would you be comfortable working in an all glass building where people can see everything you do and every move you make?" Jacob outlines the benefits of transparency: "Keep everyone on the same page; Build trust and fostering better relationships; Allow employees (and customers) to contribute ideas and value when they see the opportunity to do so." Jacob recognizes that a balance needs to be struck, but not being transparent enough may do more harm than good. He ask: "How open is too open?" I agree with the benefits Jacob outlines, and believe the answer to Jacob's question depends on the answer to a critical question: "Transparency for what purpose?" I'll start the ball rolling in with this post, including some real-life customer examples.

For example, if you work for a consulting (or law) firm, your clients have a strong, natural expectation that their work with the firm will be kept private from other clients, even if client work is more broadly shared internally among members of the firm. Some work within the firm may be more closely held for good reason - ranging from employee health records to Board meeting minutes. I believe it's a mistake to limit collaboration to work that must be visible by all members of the firm. I also believe it's extremely valuable to work with external clients, suppliers, and partners as well internal teams, within and across necessary and natural boundaries. The question I'd like to discuss is: "How do you balance transparency, boundaries, and the need to work across boundaries?"

Jacob recognizes that a balance needs to be struck, and uses an analogy that compares a glass building vesus "a regular building that just doesn't have locked doors."

"I do believe that organizations need to be much more open and transparent but there’s a balance that needs to be struck here. There’s a big difference between showing everything to everyone vs making things open to people should they want to see it. To use an analogy it’s the difference between constructing a glass building vs constructing a regular building that just doesn’t have locked doors." - How Open is Too Open?

I'd say "very few locked doors, where needed to get work done, particularly with external stakeholders."

In an early Three Places for People blog post, I use a similar analogy:

"Great architects of physical places know that people bring expectations and norms about the kind of behavior that's appropriate and enjoyable to any physical space. Architects are skillful in designing spaces to match their clients desires and expectations by providing cues that are easy to perceive and appropriate for the intended purpose, but a lot of the norms of the same physical space become clear only from social context.

If you walk into a conference room with a group of people you don't know talking quietly around a table - and someone closes the door behind you - you'll likely speak and act differently than if you walk into the same room with people you know laughing, eating and drinking. If you walk into a theater you'll probably seat yourself quietly in the audience rather than striding onto the stage (see the Re-Placing Space reference).

What fascinates me about social software is how we're learning to create places with perceived affordances - features and user models - that seem natural for different purposes and intentions. I use Facebook, Traction Software's TeamPage server, and Twitter as three separate places: my neighborhood, my workplace, and the public commons I like to use." - Three Places for People

One Traction TeamPage customer matches the consulting firm / client example precisely. The firm is near the top of the list of 100 global firms in their market. They use separate TeamPage spaces for each client, but allow members of the consulting firm to work across all client spaces. Members of the firm use TeamPage's project, task, milestone or client space dashboards to focus, and can also step back to a bird's eye view across all activity that they are permitted to see, organized by Space or by Person (with activity stream, project, task and milestone tabs on each individual's Profile). See Action Tracking, Project and Case Management in TeamPage

Another Traction TeamPage customer provides services to customers worldwide, with over 5,000 employees operating in over 150 locations and 75 countries. The firm uses TeamPage to get new clients onboard; author and share client and location specific procedures; track and communicate status including response to weather conditions and other forces that require changes to planned procedures. Shared access to procedures, notifications, and changes build strong business relationships that are a competitive advantage for the firm. Tens of thousands of complicated procedures need to be constantly changed and reviewed in near real time by both the firm and clients. The shared procedures are the core operating plan for the firm and the basis for everything the client values and pays for. TeamPage dashboards, notification, action tracking and search provide simple, reliable and secure access for each client, while allowing members of the firm to maintain global awareness, diving into any project, task, or space to quickly resolve an issue or come up to speed, see Deep Search.

In summary, I believe there's no reason to settle for a collaboration and action tracking solution that only handles internal collaboration, or assumes that everything happens in a building with glass walls and no doors. Real business value and sustainable competitive advantage often depends on working easily within and across boundaries that need to be in place to do business.


The Work Graph Model: TeamPage style - Working with internal and external teams

Borders, Spaces, and Places - Walks through specific examples of boundaries and boundary crossing activity

Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People - About the social architecture of three places: 1) a public commons (like Twitter); 2) a place for friends and family (like Facebook); 3) a place where you work (for me, Traction Software's TeamPage server).

Intertwingled Work - Working across siloed systems and boundaries set up to meet business purposes - like the consulting firm client example.

A Circle is not a Space - How Google+ circles make it possible to share individual conversations with a list of circles each individual controls (later extended to groups) versus sharing work within one or more spaces. Some distinctions are important to understand when you want to handle collaboration for a business or other purpose over an extended period of time.

Contextual Computing At Work

May 28, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageIn Co.Design May 24, 2013 Peter Morrison of Jump Associates writes The Future of Technology isn't Mobile, it's Contextual. He says that the way we respond to the world around is based on situational awareness. "The way we respond to the world around us is so seamless that it’s almost unconscious. Our senses pull in a multitude of information, contrast it to past experience and personality traits, and present us with a set of options for how to act or react. Then, it selects and acts upon the preferred path. This process--our fundamental ability to interpret and act on the situations in which we find ourselves--has barely evolved since we were sublingual primates living on the Veldt.

Here’s the rub: Our senses aren’t attuned to modern life. A lot of the data needed to make good decisions are unreliable or nonexistent. And that’s a problem.

In the coming years, there will be a shift toward what is now known as contextual computing, defined in large part by Georgia Tech researchers Anind Dey and Gregory Abowd about a decade ago. Always-present computers, able to sense the objective and subjective aspects of a given situation, will augment our ability to perceive and act in the moment based on where we are, who we’re with, and our past experiences. These are our sixth, seventh, and eighth senses."

Peter argues that we need four graphs to make contextual computing work:

  • The Social Graph - how you connect to other people and how they are connected to one another, including the nature and emotional relevance of those connections.
  • Your personal graph contains (gulp) all of your beliefs - data relating to a your deepest held beliefs, core values, and personality.
  • The Interest graph - what you like - is about curiosity
  • Your behavior graph - sensors that record what you actually do versus what you claim you do

I agree that one great value of Peter's contextual computing is to make agents like Apple's Siri or Google Now much more effective in answering questions, making recommendations, and delivering what you want based on how you express it in your own words or gestures, taking into account your current situation, recent requests and interests. But this augments a more fundamental capability: human content navigation, including but not limited to search.

In the world of work, I believe it's incredibly valuable to capture and connect the natural objects of your attention and interest, including tasks, projects, work product, relevant discussion, related references even if you're standing in for Siri or Google Now.

When Mr. Dithers shouts: "Bumstead! Where are we on the Acme Account?", the most timely, frequently discussed and contextually relevant version of Dagwood's Acme tasks, projects and work should pop up near the top of Dagwood's result list, along with the cloud of tags and people who have touched or talked about tasks, projects and other related to the Acme account and its associated activity streams.

The important requirement is making tasks, projects, pages, discussions and other work products first class sharable, named objects that can be connected to each other and what you're working on, discussed, tagged, tasked, and navigated as well as found using search. Being able to talk about tasks and projects relating to Acme captures one important part of your interest and behavior graph (activity stream), and links these items to the names and behavior of other people working with or discussing the same objects.

The objects and connections made in the context of work are more reliable than connections that need to be inferred from your behavior - and they're available now, including the ability to connect tasks, projects, pages and discussion in TeamPage and files, discussion, email and SQL databases in your external systems of record. They record valuable context for Siri and Google Now when used at work - but there's no reason to wait to get started.


Lost Roots of Project Management: Think Agile that Scales

April 25, 2013 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

The Manhattan Project, Atlas, and Polaris projects are cited as roots for traditional phased stage-gate Project Management, but didn't use that model. New high innovation projects shouldn't either; think agile that scales. Read this fascinating 2009 paper by Sylvain Lenfle and Christoph Loch of INSEAD, cited on Twitter by Glen B. Alleman who calls it "breathtaking".

Launch of an Atlas B intercontinental ballistic missile - Wikipedia USAF photo

Lost Roots : How Project Management Settled on the Phased Approach (and compromised its ability to lead change in modern enterprises) 
Sylvain Lenfle and Christoph Loch, 2009/59/TOM
INSTEAD Research Working Paper

Quoting from Introduction:

“Modern” Project Management is often said to have begun with the Manhattan Project (to develop the nuclear bomb in the 1940s), and PM techniques to have been developed during the ballistic missile projects (Atlas and Polaris) in the 1950s. The Manhattan Project “certainly displayed the principles of organization, planning and direction that typify the modern,management of projects.” “The Manhattan Project exhibited the principles of organization, planning, and direction that influenced the development of standard practices for managing projects.

This characterization of the roots of PM represents a certain irony – the Manhattan Project did not even remotely correspond to the “standard practice” associated with PM today, and both the Manhattan and the first ballistic missile projects fundamentally violated the phased project life cycle: both applied a combination of trial-and-error and parallel-trials approaches in order to “stretch the envelope”, that is, to achieve outcomes considered impossible at the outset.

However, the Project-Management discipline has now so deeply committed itself to a control-oriented phased approach that the thought of using trial-and-error makes professional managers feel ill at ease. In our seminars, experienced project managers react with distaste to the violation of sound principles of phased control when they are told the real story of the Manhattan Project (or other ambitious and uncertain projects). The discipline seems to have lost its roots of enabling “push the envelope” initiatives, de facto focusing on controllable run-of- the-mill projects instead.

How could this happen? And does it matter? In this paper we describe how the discipline lost its roots and we argue that it matters a great deal: it has prevented the project management discipline from taking center stage in the increasingly important efforts of organizations to carry out strategic changes and innovation.


Update Feb 6, 2016: See Glen B. Alleman's Herding Cats blog post, Agile at Scale - A Reading List (Update 9)

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz - The social dance of getting things done, dealing with exceptions, and staying aware of what’s going on around you

Intertwingled Work - Working and scaling like the Web

Ada Lovelace Day | Sunita Williams, Astronaut and Captain U.S. Navy

October 16, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageAda Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology. This year I've chosen to write about Suni Williams, NASA Astronaut and US Navy Captain currently commanding Expedition 33 on the International Space Station. I hope young women reading about Ada Lovelace Day now are encouraged by her example to pursue their dreams where ever they may lead - here on Earth or as the first Earthling to set foot on Mars.

Captain Williams graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1987 with a B.S. Degree in physical science and was designated a US Naval Aviator in 1989. She served as a helicopter combat support officer and officer in charge of a H-46 detachment for Hurricane Andrew Relief Operations before being selected for NASA's Astronaut Training program in 1998. She served as crew for on International Space Station Expedition 14, setting new records for female astronauts in space (195 days) and spacewalk EVAs.

On July 14 2012 Captain Williams launched from Baikonur Cosmodrome to join ISS Expedition 32 as Flight Engineer and Expedition 33 as Commander. On Aug 6, 2012 she and Flight Engineer Aki Hoshide completed a pair of spacewalks totaling more than fourteen hours to install a balky Main Bus Switching Unit, bringing her total EVA time for six spacewalks to over 44 hours. She is a member of the Society of Experimental Test Pilots and the Society of Flight Test Engineers. Read Captain Williams' Why Did I Become an Astronaut interview for her personal story. Follow @Astro_Suni on Twitter.


Ada icon by Sidney Padua: I strongly recommend that you download the thrilling adventures of Babbage & Lovelace for your iPad (free), and enjoy more of their adventures on author Sydney Padua's 2D Goggles Web page.

Previous years

Ada Lovelace Day | Betts Wald, US Naval Research Lab 2011

Ada Lovelace Day | Fran Allen, IBM Fellow and A.M. Turing Award Winner 2010

Ada Lovelace Day | Professor Lee S. Sproull, Stern School, NYU 2009

Remembering Neil Armstrong...

August 26, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Image"I am, and ever will be, a white-socks, pocket-protector, nerdy engineer -- born under the second law of thermodynamics, steeped in the steam tables, in love with free-body diagrams, transformed by Laplace, and propelled by compressible flow." - Neil Armstrong, The Engineered Century. I was sad to hear about the death of Neil Armstrong on 25 August 2012. I'll always remember meeting Armstrong at an event for high school science students in the spring of 1966. He'll be remembered forever as the first person to set foot on the Moon on 29 July 1969. He coolly navigated the lunar lander to the surface despite computer alarms, avoiding rocks at the planned site, and landing with gauges showing about 20 seconds of fuel left. But that wasn't his only close call as an astronaut. In March 1966 Armstrong and David Scott successfully returned Gemini VIII to earth after a runaway thruster spun the Gemini and attached Agena target vehicle to a roll rate of about 300 degrees per second, making chances of recovery "very remote".

Armstrong and Scott were scheduled for a brief question and answer session at the Pennsylvania state science museum auditorium in Harrisburg - squeezed between astronaut meet and greet events for the Governor and state legislators a few blocks away. A handful of high school students and their science teachers from local schools were invited to the event on short notice. I was lucky to be selected by my high school physics teacher, who knew I was a space nut - before geek came into general use. There were a few hundred students, teachers, and a small number of reporters and photographers in the auditorium for the afternoon event.

A state official welcomed Armstrong and Scott, invited them to tell us about the Gemini VII mission, and cautioned that they'd only have a few minutes for questions before they had to move on to the next event. Armstrong and Scott thanked everyone for showing up on short notice, made a few brief remarks on the mission, and opened the floor for questions.

All hands went up. A local science teacher was the first person recognized - not Mr. Sault my physics teacher. He asked how they as astronauts would justify the time and treasure that the US spent on the space program. His question was a long, slow, philosophical speech. All the kids groaned and mumbled. Armstrong diplomatically summarized NASA's mission and suggested that although as a citizen he enthusiastically supported NASA's mission, astronauts executed policy, but didn't make it.

The next question went to the pudgy kid with glasses and camera jumping up and down in the tenth row - me. Maybe it seemed like a safe bet. Before the talk I reviewed everything I could read and remember about the mission and had my question prepared. Most of us in the room remembered when the spin began at about 4pm the afternoon of the 19 March 1966 launch since the launch and significant events like the Agena docking were covered on live TV, and of course we watched. So: 1) What in your training and experience enabled you to diagnose and recover so quickly? 2) How far along was the mission debrief and investigation? 3) Could you share any insights on the thruster issue and changes to avoid similar problems?

I got a smile and a nod from Neil. Armstrong and Scott ran out the short time remaining on the clock with a crisp summary and discussion on the thruster problem, test pilot skills, and new training procedures, which they enjoyed as much as we did. When Armstrong and Aldrin ran into issues on Apollo descent and landing I felt confident it would work out.

On Saturday 25 Aug his family posted: "Neil was our loving husband, father, grandfather, brother and friend. Neil Armstrong was also a reluctant American hero who always believed he was just doing his job."

They continue:

“While we mourn the loss of a very good man, we also celebrate his remarkable life and hope that it serves as an example to young people around the world to work hard to make their dreams come true, to be willing to explore and push the limits, and to selflessly serve a cause greater than themselves.

“For those who may ask what they can do to honor Neil, we have a simple request. Honor his example of service, accomplishment and modesty, and the next time you walk outside on a clear night and see the moon smiling down at you, think of Neil Armstrong and give him a wink.” - The family of Neil A. Armstrong, 25 Aug 2012

I hope this sky isn't cloudy, since I plan to spend some time looking at the moon. And winking.

A few links and references on the life and times of Neil Armstrong, including several that aren't so common. I strongly recommend his NASA Oral History project interview.

The Engineered Century - Neil Armstrong, National Academy of Engineering, Spring 2000, The Bridge, National Academy of Engineering. Edited version of remarks to the National Press Club, 20 Feb 2000

Neil A. Armstrong (1930 - 2012) - From the family of Neil Armstrong

Neil Armstrong | 1930 - 2012: Made 'Giant Leap' as First Man to Step on Moon - John Noble Witford's New York Times obituary, 25 Aug 2012

Gemini VIII Mission Summary - NASA Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

Apollo XI Mission Summary - NASA Apollo Lunar Surface Journal

Lunar Landing Guidance Equations - Part of the source code for the Lunar Module's (LM) Apollo Guidance Computer (AGC), for Apollo 11. From the Virtual AGC and AGS emulation project

Oral History Transcript Neil A. Armstrong, NASA Johnson Space Center Oral History Project. Interview by Dr. Stephen E. Ambrose and Dr. Douglas Brinkley, Houston, Texas - 19 Sep 2001 (pdf 106pp)

Catalog of NASA Oral History Collections - NASA Headquarters and Field Centers

Anti-Social Software

July 17, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageIt's common to read about corporate culture as a big barrier to successful adoption and use of social software in business. It's easy to understand people's reluctance to change and adopt a new way of working. There are many good reasons to be wary of the promised benefits of change if you don't have relevant direct experience ("I've used this and it works"), clear examples, trust in your organization, and trust in your leadership. Books like Jacob Morgan's new The Collaborative Organization offer great practical guidance, examples, and answers to important questions. However, most social business advice makes a common and good-natured assumption that your organization is healthy - or at least has good intentions - but is just hard to convince. That's not always true.

The culture of some organizations ranges from ineffectual to poisonous, and it's difficult to turn such organizations around. I believe social software can be an amplifier of behavior - bad or good. A list of patterns of behavior to avoid comes from an interesting source: the January 1944 Office of Strategic Services (OSS) Simple Sabotage Field Manual No. 3 (declassified in 2008). I tip my hat to Michael Cooney for his July 13 2012 Network World story: CIA: Five particularly timeless tips from the Simple Sabotage Field Manual which includes Michael's own selection of quotes and a link to the newly released manual.

The purpose of the manual was to educate people in World War II occupied countries on techniques for simple sabotage, performed by ordinary citizens with no special training or equipment. In addition to physical sabotage, the manual offers suggestions on General Interference with Organizations and Production which should be read as an anti-pattern for Enterprise 2.0 behavior and methods.

Simple Sabotage Field Manual

OSS Field Manual No. 3
17 Jan 1944


a. The purpose of this paper is to characterize simple sabotage, to outline its possible effects, and to present suggestions for inciting and executing it.

b. Sabotage varies from highly technical coup de main acts that require detailed planning and the use of specially trained operatives, to innumerable simple acts which the ordinary individual citizen-saboteur can perform. This paper is primarily concerned with the latter type. Simple sabotage does not require specially prepared tools or equipment; it is executed by an ordinary citizen who may or may not act individually and without the necessity for active connection with an organized group; and it is carried out in such a way as to involve a minimum danger of injury, detection, and reprisal.

c. Where destruction is involved, the weapons of the citizen-saboteur are salt, nails, candles, pebbles, thread, or any other materials he might normally be expected to possess as a householder or as a worker in his particular occupation. His arsenal is the kitchen shelf, the trash pile, his own usual kit of tools and supplies. The targets of his sabotage are usually objects to which he has normal and inconspicuous access in everyday life.

d. A second type of simple sabotage requires no destructive tools whatsoever and produces physical damage, if any, by highly indirect means. It is based on universal opportunities to make faulty decisions, to adopt a non-cooperative attitude, and to induce others to follow suit. Making a faulty decision may be simply a matter of placing tools in one spot instead of another. A non-cooperative attitude may involve nothing more than creating an unpleasant situation among one's fellow workers, engaging in bickerings, or displaying surliness and stupidity.


11. General Interference with Organizations and Production

(a) Organizations and Conferences

(1) Insist on doing everything through "channels." Never permit short-cuts to be taken in order to expedite decisions.

(2) Make "speeches." Talk as frequently as possible and at great length. Illustrate your "points" by long anecdotes and accounts of personal experiences. Never hesitate to make a few appropriate "patriotic" comments.

(3) When possible, refer all matters to committees, for "further study and consideration." Attempt to make the committees as large as possible - never less than five.

(4) Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible.

(5) Haggle over precise wordings of communications, minutes, resolutions.

(6) Refer back to matters decided upon at the last meeting and attempt to re-open the question of the advisability of that decision.

(7) Advocate "caution." Be "reasonable" and urge your fellow-conferees to be "reasonable" and avoid haste which might result in embarrassments or difficulties later on.

(8) Be worried about the propriety of any decision - raise the question of whether such action as is contemplated lies within the jurisdiction of the group or whether it might conflict with the policy of some higher echelon.

(b) Managers and Supervisors

(1) Demand written orders.

(2) "Misunderstand" orders. Ask endless questions or engage in long correspondence about such orders. Quibble over them when you can.

(3) Do everything possible to delay the delivery of orders. Even though parts of an order may be ready beforehand, don't deliver it until it is completely ready.

(4) Don't order new working materials until your current stocks have been virtually exhausted, so that the slightest delay in filling your order will mean a shutdown.

(5) Order high-quality materials which are hard to get. If you don't get them argue about it. Warn that inferior materials will mean inferior work.

(6) In making work assignments, always sign out the unimportant jobs first. See that the important jobs are assigned to inefficient workers of poor machines.

(7) Insist on perfect work in relatively unimportant products; send back for refinishing those which have the least fiaw. Approve other defective parts whose fiaws are not visible to the naked eye.

(8) Make mistakes in routing so that parts and materials will be sent to the wrong place in the plant.

(9) When training new workers, give incomplete or misleading instructions.

(10) To lower morale and with it, production, be pleasant to inefficient workers; give them undeserved promotions. Discriminate against efficient workers; complain unjustly about their work.

(11) Hold conferences when there is more critical work to be done.

(12) Multiply paper work in plausible ways. Start duplicate files.

(13) Multiply the procedures and clearances involved in issuing instructions, pay checks, and so on. See that three people have to approve everything where one would do.

(14) Apply all regulations to the last letter.

(c) Office Workers

(1) Make mistakes in quantities of material when you are copying orders. Confuse similar names. Use wrong addresses.

(2) Prolong correspondence with government bureaus.

(3) Misfile essential documents.

(4) In making carbon copies, make one too few, so that an extra copying job will have to be done.

(5) Tell important callers the boss is busy or talking on another telephone.

(6) Hold up mail until the next collection.

(7) Spread disturbing rumors that sound like inside dope.

(d) Employees

(1) Work slowly. Think out ways to increase the number of movements necessary on your job: use a light hammer instead of a heavy one, try to make a small wrench do when a big one is necessary, use little force where considerable force is needed, and so on.

(2) Contrive as many interruptions to your work as you can: when changing the material on which you are working, as you would on a lath or punch, take needless time to do it. If you are cutting, shaping or doing other measured work, measure dimensions twice as often as you need to. When you go to the lavatory, spend a longer time there than is necessary. Forget tools so that you will have to go back after them.

(3) Even it you understand the language, pretend not to understand instructions in a foreign tongue.

(4) Pretend that instructions are hard to understand, and ask to have them repeated more than once. Or pretend that you are particularly anxious to do your work, and pester the foreman with unnecessary questions.

(5) Do your work poorly and blame it on bad tools, machinery, or equipment. Complain that these things are preventing you from doing your job right.

(6) Never pass on your skill and experience to a new or less skillful worker.

(7) Snarl up administration in every possible way. Fill out forms illegibly so, that they will have to be done over; make mistakes or omit requested information in forms.

(8) If possible, join or help organize a group for presenting employee problems to the management. See that the procedures adopted are as inconvenient as possible for the management, involving the presence of a large number of employees at each presentation, entailing more than one meeting for each grievance, bringing up problems which are largely imaginary, and so on.

(9) Misroute materials.

(10) Mix good parts with unusable scrap and rejected parts.

12. General Devices for Lowering Morale and Creating Confusion

(a) Give lengthy and incomprehensible explanations when questioned.

(b) Report imaginary spies or danger to the Gestapo or police.

(c) Act stupid.

(d) Be as irritable and quarrelsome as possible without getting yourself into trouble.

(e) Misunderstand all sorts of regulations concerning such matters as rationing, transportation, traffic regulations.

(f) Complain against ersatz materials.

(g) In public treat axis nationals or quislings coldly.

(h) Stop all conversation when axis nationals or quislings enter a cafe.

(i) Cry and sob hysterically at every occasion, especially when confronted by government clerks.

(j) Boycott all movies, entertainments, concerts, newspapers which are in any way connected with the quisling authorities.

(k) Do not cooperate in salvage schemes.

Strategic Services Field Manual No. 3

17 January 1944
OSS William J. Donovan Director
Declassified 2 April 2008
Download the full manual (.pdf) from the unclassified news archive.

"All of this has led me to believe that something is terribly wrong with e-mail. What’s more, I don’t believe it can be fixed."

July 11, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Image"All of this has led me to believe that something is terribly wrong with e-mail. What’s more, I don’t believe it can be fixed," writes New York Times columnist Nick Bilton - not pictured on right - in his July 8, 2012 Bits column, Disruptions: Life's Too Short for So Much Email. He's cranky just because he received 6,000 emails this month, not including spam and daily deals. Nick says: "With all those messages, I have no desire to respond to even a fraction of them. I can just picture my tombstone: Here lies Nick Bilton, who responded to thousands of e-mails a month. May he rest in peace."

Nick continues: "Last year, Royal Pingdom, which monitors Internet usage, said that in 2010, 107 trillion e-mails were sent. A report this year from the Radicati Group, a market research firm, found that in 2011, there were 3.1 billion active e-mail accounts in the world. The report noted that, on average, corporate employees sent and received 105 e-mails a day. Sure, some of those e-mails are important. But 105 a day?" Please read his entire column for a lively piece of Nick's mind on the subject.

Email is OK for incoming introductions and disposible notifications, but when you try to use email for collaboration, multiple To: addresses turn it into something like the stateroom scene in the Marx Brothers A Night at the Opera.

Add the Cc: line and give up all hope! In 2008 Google engineer Kevin Marks referred to email as a "strange legacy idea" for the younger generation. I call it tragicomically inept for collaboration.

In 2003 Clay Shirky said: "All enterprises have more knowledge in their employees as a group than any one person, even (especially?) the CEO. The worst case is where one person has a problem and another knows a solution, but neither knows the other – or that the other knows. Despite e-mail’s advantages for communication, it falls down as a close collaboration tool on complex projects: E-mail makes it hard to keep everything related to a particular project in one place; e-mailed attachments can lead to version-control nightmares; and it’s almost impossible to get the Cc:line right. If the Cc:line is too broad, it creates “occupational spam” – messages from co-workers that don’t matter to everyone addressed. If the Cc:line is too narrow, the activity becomes opaque to management or partners."

From my 2008 blog post Email isn't dead - It's only sleeping

See Clay Shirky, Social Software: A New Generation of Tools by Clay Shirky, Release 1.0 Vol 21, No. 5, 20 May 2003 (pdf)

Caroline McCarthy, The future of Web apps will see the death of e-mail,, Feb 29, 2008

Modern social software is now being widely adopted as an alterative to email collaboration, based on a pattern that Doug Engelbart recognized long ago, see Flip Test 1971 | Email versus Journal.

May I suggest Traction TeamPage?

Why links matter - for your business as well as the public Web

July 7, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Image Mathew Ingram recently wrote Why links matter: Linking is the lifeblood of the web. He makes a strong case for the value of open linking - giving credit to original sources - as an ethical imperative. He also points out the collective benefit, quoting Om Malik:

"Links were and are the currency of the collaborative web, that started with blogs and since then has spread to everything from Twitter to Facebook to Tumblr. Links are the essence of the new remix culture. It is how you show that you respect someone’s work and efforts. It is also indicative that you are part of a community."

Despite the success of Facebook and mobile apps that attempt to maximize value from walled gardens (where your attention is the product being sold), I remain optimistic that the Web and behavior that rewards linking will continue to win.

And I believe that the same open link and search model will win for work and serendipitous discovery in the realm of Enterprise 2.0 (or Social Business if you prefer).

See Intertwingled Work, my two cents on why links matter in E2.0 - from 2010.

Why we're here. TeamPage at Enterprise 2.0 Boston 2012

June 18, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageIf you're attending E20 Boston 2012, please drop by Traction Software's booth 418 to say hi and learn what Traction TeamPage can do. If you're interested in social task management, integrating systems of record and systems of engagement - or just using social software in the context of work, talk the folk at Traction Software who know how to help you succeed. That's where we started and that's our enduring goal.

TeamPage in the Cloud Jordan and I can answer questions about TeamPage's new Cloud options, starting at less than $2.50 per user per month for 25 user accounts - or see for yourself.

You can see TeamPage improvements introduced over the past year, including:

New streamlined Proteus interface makes summary awareness, status, task tracking, and coordinated activity fast and easy.

Unified search in the header makes looking up people, spaces, tasks or projects quick and easy. You see suggested matches based on name, email address and other content as you type, with a Show All choice if you want to browse more. Unified search also matches names and descriptions of all preferences and setup controls and takes you to the right spot in all setup and administration views.

Autosave and "finish later" saves your work in progress if you want to take a break - or if you accidentally click away from or close a browser window!

iPad and mobile access Monitor the pulse of your organization, stay informed, and work securely from the beach or mountains with your iPad, iPhone, or Android tablet. "I'd rather be sailing" isn't an mutually exclusive choice any more - ask Chris!

If you're early in line Tuesday or Wednesday, you can also pick up free, signed, pre-release copy of Jacob Morgan's excellent new book The Collaborative Organization.

If you're too late to pick up a free copy, you can still pick up a bookmark as a reminder of what Enterprise 2.0 is about - at least for me:


See Enterprise 2.0 Schism

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz

Extending the fabric of work, or How to Be Emergent

20 June 2005 | Supernova | Why Can't a Business Work More Like the Web?

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart

The Collaborative Organization - Free signed copy, Traction Software Booth 418 E2.0 Boston 2012

June 13, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageI've read an advance copy of Jacob Morgan's upcoming book, The Collaborative Organization: A Strategic Guide to Solving Your Internal Business Challenges Using Emerging Social and Collaborative Tools. I'm very happy that we decided to give Enterprise 2.0 Boston folk a chance to meet Jacob and get their own free, signed copy at Traction Software Booth 418 next week. Jacob says: "The purpose of this book is to act as a guide for executives, decision makers, and those involved with collaborative initiatives at their organizations". I believe he hits the mark with a book of lasting value, as do reviewers including Vivek Kundra, former Chief Information Officer of the United States; Erik Brynjolf, MIT Center for Digital Business Director, and others.

Jacob organizes his book into three parts: The Opening, The Middle Game, and The End Game. The Opening chapters talk to people in organizations who are just getting started with their initiatives. It covers business drivers, case studies, evaluating risk, and getting the right people involved. The Middle Game chapters cover topics including defining goals to match your business, developing a strategy, vendor evaluation, dealing with resistance, rolling out a platform, and developing governance. The End Game chapters talk about strategies for sustaining and maintaining these initiatives in the long term, including a bonus chapter on Enterprise 2.0 with Andrew McAfee.

Jacob's book is based on his own analysis and research, including interviews, case studies and survey responses from 234 individuals around the world, working for companies ranging from 1,000 to over 100,000 employees, with responsibilities ranging from mid-level to C-level executives. The Collaborative Organization is vendor neutral, involving actual practitioners who are implementing collaborative tools and strategies for their organizations - not vendors or consultants.

Each chapter includes analysis, examples and a well-written Summary and Action items section, with actionable advice that you'll turn to often. Chapters include case studies, examples and results drawn from practitioner experience, not hand-wavy fluff.

It's a handbook you'll have on your desk for the next few years. I particularly like:

  • Chapter 2 - The First Step to Recovery is Admitting You have a Problem on business drivers and problems (20 pages)
  • Chapter 7 - The Adaptive Emergent Collaboration Framework practical advice on choosing and adapting approaches to match your business goals and culture (27 pages)
  • Chapter 8 - Resistance is Futile on barriers to success (13 pages)
  • Chapter 12 - Measures of Success, practical advice on measuring soft benefits, hard benefits, and defining business value (19 pages)

Traction Software is the only source for full hardbound copies before the book's official ship date in July 2012! Show up in person at Traction Software's booth 418 during E20 Boston 2012 Showcase Exhibit hours. Follow @TractionTeam on Twitter for times when Jacob will be available for signing and to talk with him about business challenges using emerging social and collaborative tools.

Free copies are limited. I'll post rules for an online Enterprise 2.0 Twitter quiz you can use to put yourself first in line for a copy. You must show up in person to claim a book, but the Twitter quiz should be fun too!

Update: See E2.0 Boston 2012 Twitter Pop-Quiz for rules and quiz highlights.

Update: Thanks to the @e2conf staff and everyone who dropped by booth 418 to talk, and pick up a free copy of Jacob's book. After you read it, please post a review on Amazon to let others know what you think. Here's my Amazon review.

Also, after visiting us at Booth 418, don’t miss Robert Morison (@rfmorison), author of Analytics at Work: Smarter Decisions, Better Results at Talent Analytics Booth 232.

See 19-20 Jun 2012 | Traction Software Enterprise 2.0 Boston

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz

Extending the fabric of work, or How to Be Emergent

"Probably the coolest vendor pricing page I've seen for any collaboration vendor" ~ Jacob Morgan

April 19, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

Thanks to Jacob Morgan, Chess Media Group for his Tweet this afternoon while we were chatting on the phone. Last October Jacob reviewed Traction TeamPage in his Emergent Collaboration Vendor series, and liked what he saw, including TeamPage pricing. He said: "I had the pricing explained to me so I understand it but I think it would be helpful if they made it easier to understand for all site visitors because it really does make sense." We agree on both points! In updating the Buy page, Chris Nuzum used Apple Store product configuration pages as benchmarks for clarity and ease of use.

We followed Jacob's price comparison model, providing interactive feedback on per user per month pricing as well as an annual roll-up and clear option pricing. Cloud-hosted TeamPage is featured front and center - with hosted TeamPage free for your first month, at $1.87 per person per month for 100 people. All TeamPage products include integrated action tracking for project and case management that works like jazz, not something out of 1984.

Pricing options includes cloud-hosted Attivio premium search and Social Enterprise Web, choices of workgroup or full TeamPage configurations, flexible pricing based on the number of named accounts, and easy upgrades when you want them. Cloud-hosted TeamPage is great for small to mid-size organizations who want to punch well above their weight without hiring or adding IT staff.


I'd change Jacob's probably the coolest and say the coolest, no doubt! Thanks Chris! Go to the Buy page and see for yourself.

What's the Point ?

February 15, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

From Nora Ephron speaking at Brown University, President's Lecture series, "Adventures in Screenwriting" April 24, 1997. Paraphrased notes by Greg Lloyd: I took my first journalism course in high school. The fellow who taught it left after two years and opened a hardware store in LA. I think I was the only person he taught who went on to work as a journalist.

We learned the basics of story writing - who, what, when, where - and then learned how to write a lede. One day, the teacher wrote something like this on the board:

Mr. Charles Fenwick, principal of the Broadmoor High School, and his staff will attend the regional educator's conference in Wilmington on Thursday April 25th. Dr. Raymond White, state Secretary of Education, will keynote the conference, which will also feature an address by Dr. Marsha Newman, High School teacher of the year.

He said, "Write the lede." We sat at our desks and wrote, Dr. White to keynote educator's conference, Fenwick to lead teachers on trip to Wilmington and so on.

We turned them in. The teacher looked them over and said "No. What's the point?

"Your lede is, No School Thursday"

At that instant, I thought "What's the point? What a wonderful question!"

Feb 15, 2012 Reading John E. McIntyre's excellent blog post The Things Editors Do reminded of a point that tickled me in Nora Ephon's talk. Her story seems particularly apt in the age of Twitter, activity streams, and social software.

Happily I had a record of my notes posted in Traction Software's TeamPage server automatically carried forward from pre-release version of TeamPage, and still as easily findable and quotable as my latest post. - grl

"If what you write does not relate to the point, it may be good, but it will likely end up on the cutting room floor." ~ Nora Ephron, Adventures in Screenwriting, April 24, 1997.

Happy Birthday Doug Engelbart!

January 30, 2012 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageHappy Birthday Doug! A perfect gentle knight of technology as well as a pioneer and great inventor. Doug Engelbart's 87th birthday - today - is a fine day to watch the video of Doug's talk "The Strategic Pursuit of Collective IQ" embedded below. And a great day to (re) read Doug's "Augmenting Human Intellect: A Conceptual Framework" 1962, see My favorite Doug quotes and links, see Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 from two years ago.

Update Remembering Doug Engelbart, 30 January 1925 - 2 July 2013

[from] "The Strategic Pursuit of Collective IQ" - Doug Engelbart's presentation at the The Brown/MIT Vannevar Bush Symposium in 1995, celebrating the 50th anniversary of Bush's groundbreaking article "As We May Think". Introduced by host and long-time friend Andy van Dam, Doug recounts his discovery of Vannevar's work, briefly describes the unfolding of his own work and what's next using hisBootstrap "Paradigm Map", and shares his wish that, had he only known that Vannevar was still alive in 1968, he would have sent him the film of his 1968 demo. See Doug's Abstract and Bio for this talk. Presentation: 50 minutes; Q&A 10 minutes.

See the Video Archives - Bush Symposium page at the Doug Engelbart Institute website for links to all 11 sessions of this Symposium.

This movie is part of the collection: Doug Engelbart Video Archives

Seamless integration can work like the Web | W3C Social Business Jam

November 9, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageI just joined the Nov 2011 W3C Social Business Jam and added a discussion topic: Seamless integration can work like the Web. I'm on deadline for Enterprise 2.0 next week in Santa Clara [ see you there ! ] but will try to steal time to jump in to a live IBM Jam while it's open (through Nov 10, 2011 8pm EST).

The description for Seamless Integration begins: Are there effective ways to combine legacy applications with new social technologies to help foster or encourage greater use in the company? If so, can it be done incrementally?

I propose:

... integration of social software (now "systems of engagement") and transactional systems where work gets done (now "systems of record"), using the same W3C protocols and layers over W3C protocols that make the public Web successful: Web-standard content delivery, links, and link-aware search."

The world inside a social business differs from the public Web in many significant ways: a) it's much smaller; b) it's very link-deprived compared to the public Web; c) there's a lot of redundant content (think of all of the copies of the same slide deck distributed in email); d) some highly valuable content isn't linkable at all (think legacy systems of record); e) finer-grain permissioned access rules are much more important when you want to open up the most of what the business does, and what people in the business know. On the plus side, social business activity adds valuable context.

This bring issues like consistent and reliable identity, consistent and reliable access controls (over W3C protocols), representation of context, and permission aware search to the top of the queue. I believe these issues can be addressed by system architecture and layering of services over base level W3C protocols, which may eventually lead to extension or additional layers of W3C protocols.

Then use Doug Engelbart's model linking Knowledge Product (systems of record), Dialog (systems of engagement), External Intelligence (email, public Web, other social businesses) as examples. And Traction TeamPage. Published in the Jam with with links of course!


See Seamless integration can work like the Web - in the W3C Social Business Jam.


Ada Lovelace Day | Betts Wald, US Naval Research Lab

October 8, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageAda Lovelace Day celebrates the contributions of women in science and technology. I've chosen to write about Betts Wald who was a branch chief in the Communications Science division of the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) when I first met her. I joined NRL in 1974 as my first real job - after serving in the US Army when I was drafted as a graduate student at Brown. It was a great experience. NRL was full of wildly talented, energetic and brilliant managers who knew how to get impossible things done in engineering and government, and taught that skill to their teams. Betts was one of the best: leading and inspiring her team, running interference, providing just enough technical guidance (i.e. to avoid permanent damage) while constantly encouraging and developing her team's talents. Women in science and technology should be encouraged to consider career paths as leaders as well as individual contributors: Betts is a great role model. Although I never heard Betts shout: "To the difference engine!", except for the pipe it would be in character. And I'm not certain about the pipe.

Ada icon by Sidney Padua: I strongly recommend that you download the thrilling adventures of Babbage & Lovelace for your iPad, and see author Sydney Padua's excellent 2D Goggles site.

What's the 2.0 of Enterprise 2.0? Or, How to Be Emergent?

September 4, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageHat tip to Professor +Andrew McAfee for pointing out Do Happier People Work Harder? my nomination for Required Reading of the Day (#RRD). Teresa Amabile, a professor at Harvard Business School, and Steven Kramer an independent researcher wrote a great New York Times Labor Day opinion column. They cite sobering results from a Gallup-Healthways poll of 1,000 adults every day since Jan 2008: "People of all ages, and across income levels, are unhappy with their supervisors, apathetic about their organizations and detached from what they do." They also suggest that the problem is manageable - by what I would define as great enterprises.

Over the past half-decade Amabile and Kramer researched micro-level causes behind this problem, collecting nearly 12,000 electronic diary entries from 238 professionals in seven different companies. The results support three important conclusions:

1) "... inner work life has a profound impact on workers’ creativity, productivity, commitment and collegiality... Conventional wisdom suggests that pressure enhances performance; our real-time data, however, shows that workers perform better when they are happily engaged in what they do."

2) "Gallup estimates the cost of America’s disengagement crisis at a staggering $300 billion in lost productivity annually. When people don’t care about their jobs or their employers, they don’t show up consistently, they produce less, or their work quality suffers."

3) Managers can help insure that people are happily engaged at work - I believe Peter Drucker would claim that's the primary responsibility of management. And doing so isn't expensive.

Amabile and Kramer say:

"Workers’ well-being depends, in large part, on managers’ ability and willingness to facilitate workers’ accomplishments — by removing obstacles, providing help and acknowledging strong effort. A clear pattern emerged when we analyzed the 64,000 specific workday events reported in the diaries: of all the events that engage people at work, the single most important — by far — is simply making progress in meaningful work..."

"Most managers don’t understand the negative consequences of this struggle. When we asked 669 managers from companies around the world to rank five employee motivators in terms of importance, they ranked “supporting progress” dead last. Fully 95 percent of these managers failed to recognize that progress in meaningful work is the primary motivator, well ahead of traditional incentives like raises and bonuses."

"This failure reflects a common experience inside organizations. Of the seven companies we studied, just one had managers who consistently supplied the catalysts — worker autonomy, sufficient resources and learning from problems — that enabled progress. Not coincidentally, that company was the only one to achieve a technological breakthrough in the months we studied it."

That's good news - but not really news. An enterprise that makes great use of the creative talents, enthusiasm and unique expertise of its people can gain a sustainable competitive advantage and be a great magnet for attracting and maintaining talent. Look at Apple among others.

Technology can't create a great enterprise, but it can open the door for innovation in how any enterprise operates - from micro to macro scale - including how it operates with external stakeholders, customers and suppliers. This opens the door to another form of strategic as well as operational advantage.

I've persistently said that the 2.0 of Enterprise 2.0 should refer to a conscious rethinking of how an enterprise can work more effectively and creatively, using Web technology to enable "action at a distance" and connections spanning barriers of space and time. Web technology is necessary but not sufficient for this kind of innovation at scale, although Doug Engelbart's work clearly called this shot decades before the Web.

I'm no sociologist, but Amabile and Kramer seem to support the view that socialization in the context of everyday work - rather than as a separate "social" duty while at work - may be best. I don't think people know how to "be emergent", but people are very good at discovering and developing unexpected relationships in a context where many values and norms are shared - at work.

Repeating points from Enterprise 2.0 Schism in 2009: 1) It's not just the technology; 2) It's not just the people; 3) An effective organization is a social invention that is created or shaped to serve extraordinary ends, and that may be the most valuable invention of all.

"The purpose of an organization is to enable ordinary humans beings to do extraordinary things." ~ Peter Drucker, Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices (1974)

See Amabile and Kramer's New York Times column, and read their July 2011 book The Progress Principle (Forbes interview).

Do Happier People Work Harder? By Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer New York Times Sunday Review, September 4, 2011

G+ discussion on +David McRaney's The Illusion of Asymmetric Insight and how emergent behavior is not all unicorns and rainbows. Think Lord of the Flies

Need for Incentives, and other Innovation Myths - The most powerful incentives are intrinsic, not "pay to share" games.

Enterprise 2.0 Schism - Why Doug Engelbart and Peter Drucker should be declared Patron Saints of E2.0

Peter Drucker and Enterprise 2.0 - Drucker Centenary Nov 2009

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 20, 2010

See G+ for original post and discussion

Enterprise photo courtesy US Navy. Strictly speaking CVN-65 is Enterprise 8.0 - the eighth US Navy ship to bear that name see

I don't know what a picture of an "Enterprise 2.0" might look like, and don't want to use any of the stock photos of smiling folk around a laptop that are about as convincing as socialist realism posters of smiling tractor factory workers. And all the good Star Trek Enterprise photos are Paramount's copyright.

Extending the fabric of work, or How to Be Emergent

August 24, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageI enjoyed reading Dion Hincliffe's Putting Social Business to Work and G+ discussion led by Luis Suarez on Laurie Buczek's The Big Failure of Enterprise 2.0 Social Business. I agree that top down - and isolated - Social Business parallels the faults of top down - and isolated - Knowledge Management. I like Laurie's analysis and recommendations, including her top level: "Make social tools part of the collaborative workflow." This is good for both social business and knowledge management. The question is: how to extend the fabric of work?

An edict from management or prayer from internal evangelist to "be social" is often translated: "how many hours a week?" and "instead of doing what?" A top down Knowledge Management edict: "share what you know" turns into a empty Friday afternoon exercise that's soon abandoned.

In both cases bottom-up capture of conversations, actions, responses to routine or exceptional issues, and human actions in context is a much better way to deliver what knowledge management and social business promise.

This includes free-form accidental discoveries and introductions to folk throughout the organization who aren't usually involved or aware of what others are doing. In my opinion, emergent and unpredictable value that advocates of Enterprise 2.0 promise is an outgrowth of making work more open, observable and discoverable. It's also critical to make work easier, more effective and more enjoyable. Build on that rather than adding overhead and waiting for people to jump into an activity they see as optional and divorced from their contribution to the success of their business.

Enterprise 2.0 systems like Traction TeamPage are really good at capturing conversation in context, tracking action and linking what people do or say to their profiles and vice versa. But it's difficult to make work done within siloed systems of record - document repositories, ERP, CRM - visible and actionable. Opening up siloed discussion in each system of record makes matters worse, not better.

Sharing activity streams across systems of record is one way to avoid the siloed discussion trap. But limiting visibility of work to activity streams opens a new problems: activity stream overload. If you think following hundreds or thousands of people on Twitter can be frustrating, wait until you hear what you get from raw streams from line of business applications. A stream of "What I had for lunch" tweets is thrilling compared to a stream of Documentum check-in notices and decontextualized status.

I believe that the best solution will include permission-aware search than spans activity streams and systems of record to make documents, individual email messages, SQL database records from CAD/CAE or other line of business systems actionable, social objects. What's important is the ability to connect people, records, conversation and action in the context of core business activities like product development, sales, support, and coordinated work with customers, suppliers and partners. This should include daily routine, exceptions, and new discoveries.

At E2.0 Boston, Traction Software announced and showed TeamPage and Attivio's Social Enterprise Web technology used to search, discuss, tag, task, and share live structured data or unstructured content in external systems of record including Microsoft SharePoint, EMC Documentum, Microsoft Exchange, File servers, SQL databases, intranets, and the public Web.


A question found in a customer email stored in Exchange, an issue with a new drug application filed in Documentum, a fact in a legacy document stored in SharePoint or a File server S: drive, a record in an SQL database can all be discovered, discussed, tagged, and tasked for follow-up action in TeamPage without converting or importing data from its original source. Systems of record look and act like they are part of the same permission-aware TeamPage fabric used for collaboration, communication, and action tracking in the flow of daily work.

Large companies have enormous IT teams promising enterprise-wide search and collaboration with roadmaps stretching years into the future and budgets of seven to ten figures or more. Traction TeamPage and Social Enterprise Web capabilities are packaged and priced to make deep, permission aware search and collaboration crossing many sources simple to deploy, manage, and use. This is a game changer for small to mid-size businesses who don't find complex, multilayered enterprise architectures manageable or affordable. This is also a great option for teams in large companies who want to get their work done now, working over existing systems of record.

You'll hear more about this soon [or contact us to learn more now]. Making systems of record look and act more like the Web - including scalable, permission aware search - extends the fabric of work in context for external and internal stakeholders.


On G+ see
Luis Suarez - 24 Aug 2011
Dion Hinchcliffe - 24 Aug 2011
Greg Lloyd - 24 Aug 2011

Lipstick on a Pig

August 5, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

On Aug 5, 2011, Andrew McAfee opened a public discussion on Google+ by sharing How Apple (unintentionally) revolutionized corporate IT by Aaron Levie. McAfee commented "Story from CNNMoney about how Apple is unintentionally revolutionizing corporate IT. About time, too." and asked "Does anyone doubt that the Cloud + mobile + social + new devices is going to have a huge impact on corporate technology infrastructures and costs within the next 5-10 years?" Off to the races...

Greg Lloyd - This may also radically reduce the roll-out time for new corporate capabilities designed to use native Web infrastructure including HTML5, GWT and other technologies that deliver a user experience on par with the public Web.

The same applies to back end services and IT's ability to acquire, deploy, adapt and support back end services more rapidly and effectively.

Contrast aggressive internal awa external use of Web tech and architecture by IT versus the interlocking three, four, or five year update cycles using the MS stack (or others) and update cyles of IT systems that depend on and lag MS by years.

A very highly placed person in government told me: "Traditional IT architecture and practice almost guarantees that any new initiative will be late, grossly over budget, and obsolete before it is delivered."

Forcing change to a Web-like approach from front end mobile and user experience expectations can shift IT back to focus on timely response and business value rather than plumbing. And deliver systems people like to use.

Dan Camper - +Greg Lloyd I agree with you, so long as the problem (and solution!) domain remains within the "corporate capabilities designed to use native Web infrastructure."

There is sometimes a tendency for IT to force an inappropriate solution onto the customer merely to make IT's life easier. A web app implementation rather than a thin app (or even a custom app), for instance. Or vice-versa. This leads to a dissatisfied captive customer base, which of course doesn't help anyone in the long term.

An IT department would do well to treat its internal customers as if they where external, paying customers instead. To borrow some of Steve Jobs' phrasing: Delight those customers with extraordinary, amazing solutions. Yes, you have to pay to play, but the end result would be worth it.

Greg Lloyd - +Dan Camper I agree. "Lipstick on a pig" fits for a weak Web interface as one-for-one replacement for IE6 or similar vintage IT clients for systems of record. But even a weak Web interface can at provide mobile access, and steps around an obsolescent plumbing choice that Microsoft urges customers to abandon.

I believe that the 5-10 year shift in corporate technologies and infrastructure Andy envisions should and will move toward: 1) traditional, transactional "systems of record" - ERP, MRP, Accounting, CAD/CAE - remain as specialized silos and functional back-ends for enterprise systems; 2) minimalist secure (authenticating) Web-compliant interface to these systems of record (to create a thin or custom app as needed); 3) secure, permission-aware search spanning content of systems of record and "systems of engagement"; 4) minimalist but effective, easily adaptable and extensible Web interfaces provided by vendors of system of record (scaling down to mobile); 5) social software / Enterprise 2.0 technology and "systems of engagement" spanning and connecting human work, exception handling, innovation and "systems of record".

Issues of enterprise wide authentication, secure access, permission aware search spanning "systems of record" and "systems of engagement" at enterprise rather than public Web scale can and have been successfully addressed - at least in early stages. The architecture of enterprise IT will more or less resemble the architecture of the public Web - with adaptation and extension of provisions for authentication, permission-aware access, permission-aware search that go beyond the needs of the public Web (although Google and G+ seems to be heading in that direction too).

For thoughts on this shift in IT architecture, see:
July 2010 | Intertwingled Work - Observable work as an activity spanning systems of record

And a step in that direction (Note - I am President and co-founder of Traction Software)
June 2011 | Traction Social Enterprise Web - "Marrying Deep Search and Collaboration"

In this case (and others) it's putting our money where our mouth is, not vice versa.

These are quotes from a public GooglePlus discussion - feel free to join in. If you need a Google+ invitation, please email with the email address I should use to send the invitation.


Reinventing the Web on how we got here

Building pleasant and stable islands in a storm-tossed sea on extending the Web

A Circle is not a Space on GooglePlus experiments and notes

Note: The only iStock photo I could find with lipstick on pig used a piggy bank rather than a real porker. Seems to fit.

A Circle is not a Space

July 13, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageLike many people in the tech industry, I've been happily exploring and enjoying Google+ for the past week or so (thank you Susan Scrupski for the early invitation). I like the Google+ bar, polished integration with Google Profiles, Photos, and Video, as well as the new Huddle and Hangout capabilities. And I'm looking forward to Google+ integrated Search. Nov 20, 2015 update: Google's updated Community and Collection model finally gives Google+ something like a shared Spaces as well as email-like Circles. Keep reading for thoughts on why Circles never caught on. - grl

Google's Circle model was carefully designed, with a wonderfully polished interface for adding folk to Circles and creating new Circles. Google is encouraging active discussion, feedback and suggestions on how Google+ should evolve. That said, I've also followed more than a few Google+ discussions in which people get confused by what the current Circle model is versus what the word "Circle" means to them.

I think it's easiest to understand the Circle model by comparing it directly to email lists. This post illustrates that analogy, with my analysis of the Circle model's strengths and weaknesses, and how it might evolve.

My Google+ Foodie Circle Example

If I create a Circle named Foodies and include all my foodie friends, I can post restaurant photos and notes that can only be read by folk I've included in my Foodies circle, hidden from the public. They can comment on what I post, and their comments can be seen by others named in my Foodie circle.

This means:

1) You can't add yourself to my Foodies circle. I'm the only person who can add people to my own Circles.

2) When you look at my Profile, you don't know what Circles I may have added you to. You see either: a) I haven't added you to any Circle (I won't even see your Public posts in my Google+ stream), or b) You are in Greg's circles too. If you're in at least one of my Circles, I will see anything you post to Public or to one of your Circles that include me.

3) You don't know the names of any of the Circles I have created. For all you know, I may have Circles named Saints, Sinners, and Bozos as well as Foodies.

4) You don't know the names of those Circles of mine of which you're a member. You may be both a Saint and a Foodie.

5) You can't treat Foodies like a Twitter Hash tag. It's not the label of a topic that categorizes my posts in a way that is meaningful (or visible) to anyone but me. It's [currently] a set of people to whom I can choose to address a specific post.

So when I create a Foodies Circle, you can't follow or block posts I make to that Circle (a common request).

You don't even know that my Foodies circle exists unless I tell you about it. So you can't "follow just my Foodie posts" without Google+ allowing me to share at least some of my Circle definitions, and giving you the ability to follow just those posts rather than everything I publish.

And when I'm on my Google+ Streams Page, clicking Foodies doesn't show me posts I or others have made "about" food - it just shows me the list of all public or limited distribution posts made by people I put in my Foodies circle. Foodies is a set of people, not a topic or a shared Space.

It's also not [currently] possible for a group of friends to create a public Google+ Circle that people can follow, join, or leave on their own. As a variation on this theme, different types of public Circles might have open membership, moderated membership (to keep out the spambots), or membership by invitation only.

Adding public Circles would create a kind of shared Space model, where everyone who is a member of the same Space gets (at least) permission to see what other members of the same Space post. The globally known (or selectively shared) name of a Space like Foodies would then create a shared room or context for people to talk or work within, implicitly sharing access with other members. Traction TeamPage builds on and extends a Space model to provide permissions, tags, and context for business activities, see Borders, Places and Spaces.

The current Circle definition and possible extensions are pretty clear to folk who get deeply into sharing models (including yours truly). But details of the Circle model seem pretty complicated when you try to write them down, draw pictures, or explain them. Part of the problem is the power of the word Circle.

"Circle" is so powerful that I think a lot of people hear it as something acting more like a shared Space than how Google+ currently works: Circles act like email lists. Thanks to John Tropea for the Google+/Email analogy in his Google Plus : Closed group email collaboration done online of 8 Jul 2011.

A Google Circle is Like a Personal Email List

Google+'s Circle model provides a way for you to share specific conversations with a set of people who you select, who may choose to listen to what you say, and who can comment back to you and others who share the same conversation.

1) You address a Google+ post to a specific set of individuals or to a named Circle (email list) when you create a post. A Google+ Public post can potentially be read by anyone (cc: the World).

2) If people to whom your post is addressed decide to listen to you (they name you in at least one of their Circles), they'll see your post in their input stream. Otherwise they'll need to look at their Google+ Incoming stream to read posts addressed to them from you and other people they don't already "follow". Reading Google+ Incoming feels like reading a low-priority email folder vs reading your standard or Circle filtered stream.

The list of your Circles shown on your Google+ Stream page looks something like a list of incoming email folders. Actually it's a way to show incoming posts from people listed in that Circle: Click a Circle to see all of their Public posts and limited distribution posts addressed to you. As an input filter, Circles don't organize posts by topic (like an email folder), but by sets of people.

3) Commenting on a post is like replying to a specific email message. People who can see the original Post can see the additional comments. The current Google+ presentation becomes noisy when a famously popular person writes a post which attracts an endless stream of "me to" or spammy comments (see G+ comment stream discussion below).

4) You can't change the Circle to which a post is addressed. Like the email list of an outgoing message, the selected Circle or specific folk addressed by a post are fixed when you send it. However, unlike email you can retroactively edit members of the Circle to add or remove folk, as well retroactively edit your own post or comment.

5) When you Share a Google+ post from someone else, it's like you're sending a copy of the original post to a different set of people (the Circle you select), but without the original post's comments. This is analogous to forwarding an email to a different group after stripping out any embedded replies.

Each Shared copy then accumulates its own independent set of comments, visible to the people to whom the new Share was addressed, including resharing a private message to the general Public. Google quickly added an option that the original author can use to disable Sharing of specific posts, and a reminder that resharing of limited distribution posts can be a violation of confidence. But like an email message that's copied and forwarded many times, comments on Shared posts quickly become fragmented.

GMail, Wave, Buzz, Google+ Circles - Email messaging is the model

I believe GMail, Wave, Buzz, and the Circle model of Google+ all share DNA from Google's email culture and the GMail product:

... there are literally tens of thousands of special interest groups that can range in size from two to more than 1,000 members and cover topics from wine to hiking to quilting to Dungeons & Dragons. There are the Gleeglers (who sing a cappella); the Dooglers, who bring their dogs to work; the Snowglers (skiers); and the Skeptics (who question everything). There are groups for pilots, expectant moms and photographers, and a group for Googlers who like flea markets. There's even a group for former startup employees whose companies were bought by Google and who may struggle to navigate a company where they must be both entrepreneurs and employees.

Any employee can start a group -- in fact, employees are encouraged to, said Stacy Sullivan, Google's chief culture officer, a title bestowed by the founders. Most groups have an email "alias" on Google's vast intranet system, such as "" Google has more than 100,000 group aliases in its Intranet system, although not all groups are active.

For employees, the groups "have been kind of anchors and havens and think tanks -- to actually be able to build their own community, just for their own support and interactions, within the mass of all Google," Sullivan said. As Google has grown, "I think it's become much more important because when you're this big, you can lose sight of being connected to the mass around the world. So this is one way they can all pull together."

From At Google Groups are key to the company's culture
by Mike Swift, San Jose Mercury News, 23 Jun 2011

Google+ Circles avoids the Buzz assumption that your social network could be gathered and publicized by analyzing the your email contacts - an assumption that might have worked internally for Google, but which caused a firestorm of protest and legal action when Buzz launched. But the Buzz presentation model of a top level Post and its comment tree as the unit of conversation, floating to the top of your stream every now and then, carries over to Google+.

Google+ Circles provide a much more refined model of selective sharing. However, in my opinion the Circle sharing model works much better for Facebook style sharing of friends and neighbor conversations - a post by an individual and its comments - than it does for Twitter's fast paced global stream of conversation fragments which interleaves the equivalent of posts, comment (replies) in one stream that's easier to scan, particularly when a post may collect tens or hundreds of comments.

Twitter connects fragments by tags. Twitter also implements a socially refined retweet and reply permission model that works better than Google's for that purpose: in Twitter you only see replies if you are following both the person who posted and the person who makes the reply. This has signifiant value for conversation and signal to noise in a large public Commons. See "Option of Latest Posts Discussion" below.

A Circle is not a Space

For work, the current Google+ post and comment presentation can become noisy and unpredictable, repeatedly showing promoted posts based on recent comments from any source, and repeating Shares that fragment comment threads. A presentation choice that favors a top level post and comments, rather than a stream of post and comments (with link back to the conversation in context) is a presentation choice, not a fundamental limit.

More significantly, the current Google+ Circle model makes it difficult to see what's happening in the context of a business activity - tapping into a stream of posts, comments, replies, actions, and actions. For business activities, the stream of actions and conversation in a shared Space provide a natural framing context and natural boundary for permissioned access.

For example, a Space shared by members of law firm and Client A naturally frames and protects work and conversation in that context while also protecting it from disclosure to any other client. A shared Space, tag, and activity stream model is simpler to understand and use for work and conversation with groups that share a purpose and common expectation of privacy.


JP Rangaswami is currently experimenting with three different formats for three purposes:

Playing with formats. Twitter as short form frequent. google plus as longer form, one per speaker at TED. Blog as even longer, one per event) 12 Jul 2011 @Jobsworth

He's also experimenting with a Google+ Circle workaround to allow people to opt in to his conference liveblog posts. You post a comment back to him, he adds you to the Conferences circle he'll use for his liveblog posts. In this case, JP's intent is to allow folk to throttle down the volume of his liveblogging posts appearing in their stream, rather than make those posts private. See "Circles should be created by Publishers as well as Subscribers" discussion below.

The Google+ preview is just about a week old, and Google is actively asking for feedback and suggestions, which has led to lively discussions on how Circles might evolve. And when Google+ integrated search appears (soon), I expect it will be permission-aware, which will be a game changer. Enough balls are in the air to make me rethink for Commons, Neighborhood and Work players in Explaining Twitter - One of Three Places for People - stay tuned!

See links and Google+ discussion (gathered from G+ and all over)

JP Rangaswami, Google+, 12 Jul 2011 (Public)
I'm experimenting …

JP Rangaswami - I'm experimenting. Seeing if I can avoid making noise in people's streams by giving them subscriber-level choices on subsets of my stream. For the next few days I will be covering TEDGlobal, but the updates will only reach those who ask me for them. If you asked me, and you don't start receiving them in a short while, do let me know.

Yes I know the way I've done it is messy (creating a publisher circle and then manually adding people to that circle as they ask to be included) but I could not find s simpler way. Let us see.

John Tropea, Library Clips blog, 8 Jul 2011
Google Plus: Closed group email collaboration done online

Greg Lloyd, Google+, 6 Jul 2011 (people in my Circles only)
G+ comment streams on public posts by popular folk are problematicI can't Share this to Public without losing comments, but here's the main point:

Greg Lloyd - Interesting - and encouraging - to see improvements to adaptive boost of posts based on new comments. Today a 5 hour old +Sergey Brin scenic photo post ~ sticks in place as older post despite a continuous patter of "nice photo!" comments from folk I don't know or follow.

Not clear what the promised comment weighting stream boost adjustment was. Social / follow weighted, linguistic or other, but helps S/N for public posts by famous folk whose patter of friendly, log rolling or spam comments would never die. Google+ needs to fix this before it's gamed to spoil the Public commons.

Followed by:

About 30 minutes after post thanking Google for promised improvement in comment boost to reduce noise based on "non-relevant" comment, a 5 hour old +Sergey Brin photo popped to the top of my mobile and desktop stream with a recent "Cool Man!" comment. No intervening comments from folk I follow in those 30 minutes that I can see.

+Sergey Brin Still getting flooded with tortoise pictures and the like. More recent pyramid pictures are an improvement, but please keep pushing for improvement.

See "flooded by tortoise pictures" discussion

JP Rangaswami, Google+, 10 Jul 2011
In G+, Circles should be created by "publishers" as well as "subscribers"

JP Rangaswami - I guess I'm warped. What I really want is to break myself up, classify myself, into a series of circles: cloud, food, music, books, cricket, politics, hippieness, freedom, whatever. Then others who put me into their circles can choose to put bits of me or all of me. Publisher circles are like hashtags and channels. Subscriber circles are filters and balancers. That combination creates the best signal-to-noise ratios

Jeff Jarvis, Google+, 4 Jul 2011 (public)
... I still want the option of only the latest posts, regardless of comment tagging.

Greg Lloyd - I'd also welcome a pure chron option, with one click to take me to the full post and comments for context when I want it.

For promotion or pure chron, imo Twitter asymmetric reply clip is pretty effective. E.g. Twitter rule that mutes replies from your stream unless you follow both parties. Although I originally opposed the change, I've grown to like it.

Without a pure time ordered option (and jump to full thread) or a hard clip, promoting a post from famously popular person will always be problematic when thousands of "me too" comments pile on. That was my major beef with Buzz. I guess I need so see what Google+ does with rank.

... Jennifer Forman Orth - So, basically, no one's ever going to see this comment :-). How does this foster networking, especially for the Technorati who cultivate these large clusters of folks they do not know to follow them? If I figure no one's going to read what I say, what is the incentive to comment?

Greg Lloyd - Jennifer - A valid point, but IMO the recourse is social. With Twitter, Jeff or someone else may rt or "publicly" reply to you and a wider non-clipped audience by prefixing your handle with a character. This subtly raises the visibility of particularly good comment based on human judgment, polite recognition, and an invitation to a larger audience to read more of what you say.

Greg Lloyd - Taking this conversation as something close to a best case, about 50% of the comments are "I agree" or restate the original point. This from a group of bright and eager early adopters. When the number of Google+ folk increases by three or four orders of magnitude - not counting bots - the bounce will become ludicrously noisy, like Buzz. That's not conversation, that's Brownian motion. Selectively following a reasonably large number of diverse, curious and intelligent folk with a sense of humor is the only scalable filter I know that balances breadth vs S/N. I want to leverage their judgement to surface interesting discussion and as well as talent scouts for who else to follow

Sergey Brin, Google+, 4 Jul 2011 (Public)
… getting flooded by comments on [ five year old ] tortoise pictures

Sergey Brin - I think a lot of people are under the misimpression that I am posting photos of exotic places at a furious pace to Google+. Actually, I have had a bunch of albums public for some time on my picasaweb page. However, people only started to take note recently thanks to Google+ and when they comment on those photos they end up in the streams of people who have me in their circles.

We made some ranking changes recently that demote such comments if the commenter is not in your circles. Let me know if you are still getting flooded with tortoise pictures and the like.

Ross Mayfield, Slideshare, 5 July 2011
Visual Guide to Circles in Google+

Introducing Online Workplaces - Greg's notes on Larry Cannell's July 2011 Webinar

July 8, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageLarry Cannell, Research Director, Gartner Group presented great slides and hosted an excellent webinar on July 7, 2011 based on his research and experience. Free registration gives public access to a recording of the Webinar and a copy of Larry's slides - at least for a few days (after than please check Gartner Webinar Archives). Please register and learn! Larry will also be leading sessions at Gartner Catalyst Conference 2011 San Diego, July 26-29. Larry's framework is very crisply stated, general and useful. The 65 slides include very helpful diagrams, examples, scorecard decision aids, and more. These are just top level points from my notes.

An IT Vision for Social Software: Introducing Online Workplaces

The emergence of a new layer of online capabilities, one that sits between rigid business applications and the dynamic world of the information worker, has gone unnoticed for years. Some have started to call this a social layer, inspired by the rising popularity of social software. However, it is better described as an online work layer because not all activities within an enterprise are social in nature, but they all support how work is done. Enterprises need to develop their own tailored vision for how this online work layer (which includes the use of social software) improves their business, rather than relying on vendor product positioning.

This webinar will describe a vendor-neutral framework that helps IT describe, manage and evolve collaborative and workplace technologies to maximize the effectiveness of their enterprise’s information workers. ~ Larry Cannell, Research Director, Gartner

Introducing Online Workplaces
Larry Cannell, Research Director, Gartner @lcannell

Need to distinguish:
What (Business Objectives) vs How (Approach for accomplishing What)

What (business objective): Work
How: Unified communication, Email, conferencing, Productivity tools, Social Software, Workspaces, Content Management, Search

Defining a Work Layer

Enterprise Goals and Objectives -> Business Processes (PD, Mfg, Sales...) <-> Work Layer (Routine, Non-Routine) <-> People (individuals, teams, communities)

[ Very good slides distinguish needs and perspective as individual, as member of functional team, as participant in broad community and directed versus volitional participation ]

Online Workplace:

Organize/Manage Work (tasks, priorities, etc)
Facilitate Work Processes (ad-hoc, tacit)
Work as Individuals (attention management)
Work together (team, communities)
Capture and Reuse Intellectual Assets.

Online Workplace Relationships:

Business processes <- (tasks, priorities) -> Online Workplace <- (completing tasks, prioritizing work, planning, deciding) -> People
Human Capital (knowledge, experience, relationships) <- (discover, describe) - > Online Workplace
Structural Capital from Applications (CRM, ERP, PLM, SCM, etc) - (data) -> Online Workspace

Online Workplace Framework:

Individual environments, Group environments (Teams, Communities)
Business Applications, External Information

Group Environments - A spectrum of participation
directed - individual must participate to meet some joint objective or get certain kind of work done.
volitional - individual choses to participate or not, choses level of participation

Process (90% directed participation, 10% volitional participation)
Activity (50% directed, 50% volitional)
Community (30% directed, 70% volitional)
Network (10% directed, 90% volitional)


Position online workplaces as strategic assets
Take care of the individual worker
Expect to support multiple online workplaces
Develop new skills
Provide a roadmap
Demand what you need from your vendors

Online Workplace Framework and Traction TeamPage

Larry's framework is descriptive and intentionally vendor and technology neutral.

I believe Traction TeamPage is very well aligned and easy to explain in terms of Larry's framework. Expect me to make liberal use of his framework and terminology - with credit to Larry. Here's a start:

Traction Software Introduces Social Enterprise Web - The TeamPage workplace spans external Sharepoint, Documentum, Exchange, Email and other Systems of Record using TeamPage Attivio Plus, bookmarking and content badging. Unlike some analysts and vendors, I believe the future workplace will be search and content coupled (just like the public Web) rather than exclusively activity stream coupled.

I see activity streams as a great alerting mechanism to help maintain situational awareness with respect to human centered or software events spanning many systems. But event awareness is no replacement for unified, permission-aware search combined with link, tag, task and comment capabilities spanning systems of record. That's what TeamPage delivers, enabled by Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine™ (AIE) technology.

The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz - When you watch a skilled team in action, it's like watching a great jazz group - there are themes, there is structure, and there are limits, but a team shines in individual excellence combined with coordination, improvisation, innovation, handling exceptions, and seemingly effortless awareness of where others are and where they're headed.

Intertwingled Work - The record of collaborative and observable work needs to span multiple external and internal systems to provide a simple and coherent view of activities

Traction Roots - Doug Engelbart - A dynamically evolving knowledge base ... [consists] of three primary knowledge domains: intelligence, dialog records, and knowledge products (in this example, the design and support documents for a complex product). ~ Doug Engelbart


See also Enterprise 2.0 Schism - Why Peter Drucker and Doug Engelbart should be the patron saints of Enterprise 2.0. And what to do with social media gurus and sinners.

Doug Engelbart | 85th Birthday Jan 30, 2010 - Irresistible quotes and references.

The Debate Zone: Has the US passed peak productivity growth? | McKinsey & Company

May 23, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageSee the lively McKinsey & Company What Matters debate, Tyler Cowen: "Yes. The big gains in the 20th century resulted from transformative innovations that are much rarer today." versus Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson: "No. We’ve only just begun to reap the productivity benefits of digital technology." Read the analysis, lively comments, and jump in! My two cents (also posted as What Matters comment): I agree with Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson's analysis that digital technology - including but not limited to the Web, communications and computer technology - is a GPT that "leads to fundamental changes in the production process of those using the new invention." and whose impact on productivity will be felt over decades, not years.

In a narrower domain of technology, Bill Buxton refers to this as "The Long Nose of Innovation" (link below)

Buxton cites a 2003 report presented by Butler Lampson to the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Research Council in Washington which traced the history of a number of key technologies driving the telecommunications and information technology sectors.

"The report analyzed each technology (time-sharing, client/server computing, LANs, relational databases, VLSI design, etc.) from first inception to the point where it turned into a billion dollar industry. What was consistent among virtually all the results was how long each took to move from inception to ubiquity. Twenty years of jumping around from university labs to corporate labs to products was typical. And 30 years, as with the mouse and RISC processors, was not at all unusual (and remember, this is the "fast-paced world of computers," where it is "almost impossible" to keep up)."

Buxton concludes: "Any technology that is going to have significant impact over the next 10 years is already at least 10 years old. That doesn't imply that the 10-year-old technologies we might draw from are mature or that we understand their implications; rather, just the basic concept is known, or knowable to those who care to look."

I believe that the fundamental value of the GPT we call the Web is as part of an interlocking set of communication and information technology capabilities organizations *can* employ to reduce the friction of knowledge work across space and over time, as well as fundamentally shift channels of marketing, sales, and distribution.

Assimilation and productive use of these new capabilities requires organizational change and innovation as profound as the technology driven changes of the Industrial Revolution. Steam, railroads and electricity fundamentally changed the economics of production of material goods - as well as introducing new media like radio and new travel and leisure markets.

I would not be surprised to find that the long nose of Enterprise 2.0 innovation enabled by this GPT (with a tip of my hat to Prof McAfee) spans 30 to 50 years.

The Long Nose of Innovation
Bill Buxton, Business Week, Jan 2, 2008

Image[Bloomberg BusinessWeek image] Bill Buxton is Principal Scientist at Microsoft Research and the author of Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. Previously, he was a researcher at Xerox PARC, a professor at the University of Toronto, and Chief Scientist of Alias Research and SGI Inc.

Enterprise 2.0 Schism
Greg Lloyd, Traction Software Inc, Nov 9, 2009

Zoom in to focus, zoom out for awareness, bubble up items in the flow of work

May 9, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageThere's been a lot of Web and Twitter discussion about the value of activity streams to promote broad awareness versus the potential problem of showing too much information and having important signals get lost in the flow. I believe that the best solution is to allow people to selectively zoom into activity streams, status and discussions - clipped by space, project, person or milestone - to focus on any particular activity in context. To focus more precisely, click a watch button to get notification when anything is added, changed, or discussed in a context you want to monitor carefully.

Traction TeamPage Release 5.2 adds mini-dashboards to make it simple to see status, activity, tasks, discussions and related articles or documents focused on a particular project or milestone, complete with sparkline diagrams to see at a glace what's happening over time. Each project, space, and person has an activity stream, making it simple to focus on what you care about - and shift your focus easily.

See Action Tracking with Tasks, Milestones, and Projects videos

You can also zoom out a broader view of all spaces you have permission to read, or people you choose to follow. This makes it easy to dip into the flow and read, search, or navigate by person, tag, task or discussion thread.

You can flip to your own profile to review and use the stream of your own activities, tasks, and calendar across all spaces and projects you have permission to see.

Flip to the profile of any other team member by clicking their name to review their activities, tasks, and calendar, limited to just what you have permission to read.

You can flag a post, project, tag, or space and receive an automatic notification (by email or Jabber) when a comment is added, edit is made, a specific tag is added (e.g. urgent) or other actions happen in the context of activities you want to watch closely. If you receive a notification by email, you can reply to that email and your comment is automatically added to the right discussion.

Because Traction TeamPage spaces carry access permissions, internal teams, customers, suppliers and other external stakeholders can freely tag, task, link and discuss anything they discover - even make more private comments on more public content.

Activity streams, search results, comments, email digests, notifications, and even tag clouds are automatically clipped to keep private activities private, but make everything you're allowed to see visible in context.

When you see something that looks important you can tag, task or comment on the relevant item to raise its visibility as an opportunity, an answer to an important question, or an issue to be addressed.

A TeamPage project creates a shared context where work actually gets done - with specific deliverables; as an open ended activity with a stream of actions and milestones; or as customer or client case to be tracked and guided to a desirable outcome. In each case, TeamPage's integrated action tracking makes it easy to recognize, track and handle exceptions or opportunities in the natural flow of work.

A TeamPage customer quoted in the Feb 2011 Deloitte Social Software for Business Performance study said:

"With Traction Software I can post meeting notes and assign action items to individuals. Then, they can go into the tool and write comments to update the group on the status of their action items as well as post deliverables. It greatly increases transparency and streamlines communications."


Literate Business and Euan Semple

May 4, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageEuan Semple's Literate Business post of May 4, 2011 is well worth reading. In preparing to write his book, Euan noted "There's something wrong with the names we use for social web tools in business... whether Enterprise 2.0, Social business or whatever."

"It occurred to me that what is significant about the tools we are seeing creeping into the business world is not so much that they are social as that they are literary in nature. They require, at whatever level, people to observe the world around them, make sense of it, and convey that sense to others, mostly, through the written word. All three parts of this process are the essence of good literature and they are all relatively unfamiliar in the business world. Most people don't pay much attention to what is going on around them, they don't sit and think much about what it means, and they are very unlikely to take the time to sit down and write about it. This is what blogging or tweeting makes easier. It also makes it collective."

I like Literate Business a lot. One advantage vs Enterprise 2.0, Web 2.0: the prior state is "illiterate" - which carries a lot of truth.

Literate implies, but does not strictly require an audience. The audience expects that they can come up to speed at any time by reading what the author has written in the past, as well as literate (curated) commentary, discussion and analysis. The value of the curated content grows over time. Evaluation of past decisions and analysis can even be changed in light of future experience! You might get better at what worked, avoid what failed, and let everyone learn from experience!

Literate also says much for the value of recorded narrative or observable work versus a business environment where decisions are made and good or bad inferences are drawn in near-real-time, with nothing preserved but ill formed and inconsistently remembered recollections of those present in the little room or on the call.

The only thing missing is collaborative creation of literature, which is not that common. But if you set the words to music I guess you could call it Business Jazz!


The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz
Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work
Enterprise 2.0 Schism

March 11 - Vannevar Bush's Birthday

March 11, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageThe Computer History Museum's This Day In History March 11 reminded me that today is the birthday of Vannevar Bush (born March 11, 1890), a distinguished educator, engineer, Vice President and Dean of MIT, and President of the Carnegie Institution. As World War II Director of the Office of Scientific Research and Development, Bush managed all US wartime research, reporting directly to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. After the War he was instrumental in creation of the National Science Foundation based on a 1944 request from FDR. Bush is also known as the author of a famous July 1945 Atlantic Monthly essay As We May Think, where he described a possible "new relationship between the thinking man and the sum of our knowledge" including the Memex - a literary machine which inspired the invention of hypertext twenty years later - and indirectly lead to creation of the Web. See the video archive of the MIT / Brown Vannevar Bush Symposium on the 50th Anniversary of As We May Think for a great collection of talks by Doug Engelbart, Ted Nelson, Andy van Dam, Tim Berners-Lee, Alan Kay, and others inspired by Bush and and his work.


Visit the Computer History Museum in Mountain View California or on the Web.


The Future of Work Platforms: Like Jazz

February 16, 2011 · · Posted by Greg Lloyd

ImageYesterday I read GigaOM analyst and editor Haydn Shaughnessy's Future of Work Platforms report (registration required, free seven day trial available). I commented: Haydn -- A very thoughtful and useful analysis – a combination that’s all too rare! I’m particularly happy to see your thoughts on observable work (see the full report for Haydn's excellent analysis).

Ever since Jon Udell coined the term, it struck me as good way to talk about practical benefits and a business purpose for collaboration. In my opinion it helps by pealing back issues of privacy in context and activity streams, along with subtleties required to support the social dance of getting things done, dealing with exceptions, and staying aware of what’s going around you without getting swamped. This is much closer to jazz than the world of canned business transactions. It requires a level of attention to ease of use and user experience that’s just as important but in many ways more challenging to do well in a business context than for the public Web.

I also thank you for your careful analysis and kind words about Traction Software.

I've thought a lot about how to describe the relationship between Observable Work and the style of action tracking, coordination and agile project management used by TeamPage customers like Brian Tullis and Joe Crumpler, as well Traction Software folk. When you watch a skilled team in action, it's like watching a great jazz group - there are themes, there is structure, and there are limits, but a team shines in individual excellence combined with coordination, improvisation, innovation, handling exceptions, and seemingly effortless awareness of where others are and where they're headed.

Traction TeamPage 5.1 aims to support this performance model. Bill Ives captures the idea well: "The action tracking concept is not old school project management with Gantt charts and resource allocation. It is allowing employees to manage their work tasks and make this management transparent to those who need to know...This is the action tracking part of project management for the regular employee, not the program management office. It brings this activity into the enterprise 2.0 world as every task is treated as an object for comments, RSS, and made searchable to those with the proper permissions."

Every business activity involves some measure of action planning and tracking. People have lived with action tracking systems that range from a list on the back of an envelope, to getting things done style planning, to multilevel project plans for large and complex products like aircraft.

The TeamPage 5.1 action tracking model focuses on making it simple for individuals and teams to plan and coordinate the daily, weekly and monthly activities that drive effective teamwork. This level of coordination can quickly become too complex for the simplest systems, but too detailed – and close to real life – to be effectively modeled, tracked and managed in real time using software designed solely for top down project modeling and planning.

In my opinion, the big difference is action tracking built in to the natural flow of work. This makes daily life easier rather than more complicated.

  • Collect individual tasks into projects to make summaries easy to report up, and top down progress easy to track by project or by individual.
  • Tag any paragraph as a task and later dive down by person, task, project or milestone to make personal tracking and maintaining awareness much easier.
  • Click a name and link to a colleague's profile to see tasks, activity and status from their perspective.
  • Pop a quick question into a status window to make communication quick, effective and observable.
  • Add a comment to a task (status message, page, post or paragraph) to raise an issue or suggest a solution, to make exceptions much easier to recognize and handle.

All of this works with TeamPage's advanced search, notification, and a collaboration model that puts tasks, status, conversations and posts in a business context, organizing communication by space for those who have permission to read, while using spaces to protect all content in client, partner or internal spaces that require privacy.

Watch the video to see what I mean.

I've worked for the US Naval Research Lab managing parts of very big projects for the US Navy, and as a member of small startup teams. I believe that at the working level the same model supports effective teamwork where bottom up activities meet top down plans as the foundation of projects of any size.

We're seeing first results from TeamPage customers and Traction Software using TeamPage 5.1 integrated action tracking and the response has been great. Look for updates here, on Twitter, or join the TeamPage Forum and the live conversation - or to should I say jam? (to borrow a great term from IBM).


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