June 16, 2013
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
In 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.
May 29, 2013
· Posted by Jordan Frank
@JeffMerrell posed a series of questions for his Master's Program in Learning & Organizational Change. I'll offer my own experience as it pertains to each of his question areas.
Question Area: Implementation of new social technology platforms
When stepping into E2.0, there's a temptation to go enterprise wide while also wanting to meet a specific need and show success. Invariably, it's easier to define a specific need for a small group and get adoption there at the "local" level. In my own experience and with customers, the same pattern is generally evident: Shooting for instant enterprise adoption is OK for short-lived processes like an idea jam while long lasting adoption with sustained return occurs when a small group identifies a "process" need and organizes around that.
I think the sweet spot occurs when a particular group's collaboration can benefit an entire organization. Over at Athens Group, there was a need for a focused group to put together process and training information which was valuable on an on-going basis to all their consultants. I've also seen this pattern with competitive intelligence use cases.
Question Area: Adoption of new social technology (by individual users)
Jeff asks what tells you when you've hit a tipping point. For sure that's when a super-user says "my customer's stats just passed my own!" That happened recently at site of a consulting company using TeamPage for their customer requirements and project implementation tasking.
Motivating adoption is always tricky, no matter how good the tool. But organizing spaces around a space dashboard clearly identifies what's important is critical. Then folks can understand where the value is found, and how to play along.
I talk about this in Emergineering which focuses on meeting the freedom required by collaboration with a simple structure that encourages it.
As for incentives, they're questionable since motivation is better when it comes from within. See Blog2031: Problem and Process rather than Incentives for E2.0 Tools
Question Area: Formal and informal community management
We all wish communities would manage themselves. One problem with communities is they aren't necessarily directed towards a particular goal. In a sense, communities are optional. So, the key is to figure out how it can sustain itself.
One of my earliest customers was a pharmaceutical division of a Fortune 100. They pushed they had a competitive intelligence need which was a terrific basis for building communities by market area.
There were 25 individuals which were easily identified as being involved in sharing and developing competitive and market intelligence with another easily identified set of managers. We were able to setup spaces by market area. Information was posted to the market area communities rather than through individual emails. The result was a vibrant pattern of communication which not only increased efficiency, but created greater awareness across the division and even showed some instant gains as a wider set of people could validate and amplify the key intelligence, e.g. a case of a competitor working on a new drug which a scientist was able to indicate would fail based on their own internal experiments.
In this case, the community managed itself by running user group meetings on a regular basis to check their progress and improve the quality of their information gathering based on surveys and reactions of key management and sales constituents. They also wrapped their management objectives around participation.
Question Area: Measuring activity, outcomes and value in social technology platforms
Activity and value can be attacked through efficiency, adoption and any number of other metrics. They aren't always obvious, and the outcomes aren't always predictable when you get started.
At one Pharmaceutical firm, it was evident the system was providing value when usage metrics increased after roll-out and leveled out to a consistent pattern. At that point, it was clear from behavior that it was delivering value and had hardened as an organization process. See page 10 of the PDF attached to Blog119: Thierry Barsalou, IPSEN CIO, Speaks at Gilbane Conference on Content Management.
At Alcoa Fastening Systems, a Deloitte study highlights a 62% reduction in time spent on compliance activities. There's a case where compliance was converted from a chore to something that just happens along the course of getting work done!
Question Area: Knowledge sharing to learn as well as to perform
I think the term knowledge development hits the mark closer than knowledge sharing. Knowledge development happens in the course of documenting processes, policies, and FAQs. This is a Wiki type approach where you develop and refine knowledge over time. This is the case in the Athens Group study mentioned above. Some customers have even received ISO certification for their process of managing process and training documentation. Having these core information assets makes leverage easier to achieve when questions are asked and current procedures are challenged by new opportunities for improvement.
May 28, 2013
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
In 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 the 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.
Zoom in to focus, zoom out for awareness, bubble up items in the flow of work
Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work
Traction TeamPage: Connected Work
TeamPage Action Tracking with Tasks, Milestones, and Projects
May 17, 2013
· Posted by Jordan Frank
How well you work with your colleagues, online and off, will make the difference when trying to win the next deal, design the next product or craft the next winning strategy. Consider how important people are to process and how social collaboration (versus some pre-ordained workflow) is the barrier to or the enabler of successful outcomes. We see immense value when people document their knowledge, streamline their communication and track actions to completion in TeamPage. We hope you can join us to see TeamPage and learn from the leading analysts and practitioners at E2 Boston June 17 through 19.
Traction Software is a track sponsor this year for the Social and Collaboration Track. The sessions range from Going Beyond the Activity Stream to the Rise of the Connected Workplace and Evaluating Emerging Technologies for the Enterprise.
Please visit the E2 Social and Collaboration Track site to learn more and register for this upcoming event. There are other tracks on Big Data, Cloud, Mobility, UX, and People, Process and Engagement. That's a lot to learn in a few short days!
Register with discount code CMTRACTION to earn $200 off Full Event Passes, $100 off Conference registration, or a FREE Keynote + Expo Pass.
April 25, 2013
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
The Manhattan Project, Atlas and Polaris projects cited as roots for traditional phased stage-gate Project Management didn't use that model; new high innovation projects shouldn't either. Think Agile that Scales. A fascinating 2009 paper by Sylvain Lenfle and Christoph Loch of INSEAD, cited on Twitter by Glen B. Alleman who calls it "breathtaking".
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.
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
April 2, 2013
· Posted by Jordan Frank
Big Data Meet Long Data by Jeff Bertolucci - @jbertolucci - column appears this week in InformationWeek to reminds us that "Long Data" or historical data is vital for analysis and comprehension of trends that span years.
Bertolucci's article links to a Wired article from January 2013 titled Stop Hyping Big Data and Start Paying Attention to ‘Long Data’ where the author, Samuel Arbesman - @arbesman - says "Big data puts slices of knowledge in context. But to really understand the big picture, we need to place a phenomenon in its longer, more historical context."
Bringing this home to a company's context, Bertolucci quotes Benjamin Bruce (Pitney Bowes - Marketing Director) as saying "Big data is more about taking a slice in time across many different channels" and that "long data involves looking at information on a much longer timescale. Ignoring customer data and records that go back decades can limit a company's ability to connect with its customers."
Taking a long-data trip back to May 2008 brings us to a quote from Now Everything is Fragmented by Dave Snowden - @snowded - in KMWorld where he said:
"Over the last decade as I have worked on homeland security, we have had the chance to run some experiments that show that raw field intelligence has more utility over longer periods of time than intelligence reports written at a specific time and place. In other experiments, we have demonstrated that narrative assessment of a battlefield picks up more weak signals (those things that after the event you wished you had paid attention to) than analytical structured thinking."
He continues with explanation: "we live in a world subject to constant change, and it’s better to blend fragments at the time of need than attempt to anticipate all needs." Amen.
So when you leave data on the chopping block after completing an analysis, you are denying the next person an opportunity to go back to the raw data and run their own analysis, possibly for the same or different purposes.
I'll assert that what's needed is the thin slicing in big data concepts combined with the long data trends that allow for understanding change and gathering some picture of the future.
Bringing this back to "blog" data - thats where we can capture the vital narrative that Snowden says carries the weak signals. The blog data helps to annotate the context where big data lives.
Blog data in a TeamPage demo also offers a simple and easy example to explain the importance of thin slicing over long trends. Here is a tag cloud from one of my demo servers. It's set to All Time. The tags tell a story, of sorts. Interpret it as you may.
Now, when we use a date selector control, we can see it tells a very different story in 2012 vs. 2011.
|Date Selector: Year 2010
||Date Selector: Year 2011
In the example, you can see the company's attention has shifted from competitors like Nike and Vibram in 2010 to competitors like Merrell in 2011. It also looks like they've done less work with Policy work in 2011 and have shifted away from HUMINT (human intelligence collection).
This sort of tag cloud view offers a pretty blunt view across a whole server or a particular space at a time. Greater precision is often required. Another way to slice the content is with our premium search which is powered by Attivio's Active Intelligence Engine. You can search for any set of words and get a tag cloud for the search, then even slice that into a time period or by any other facet or set of tags.
In this search interface, Attivio also helps us extract and display tag cloud style views of any facet, including keywords, spaces, content authors, and more. From the keywords facet, you can quickly see there are 5 hits on Marathon Training and Injury Prevention.
This brings us to Small Data. Once we can thin slice small, relevant, data, we can quickly assess what topics are prominent even before digging in to read the source content or more quickly understand trends.
A thick slice across all time isn't adequate to explain a course of events - a long view with thin slices and supporting narrative is vital. With all this, you might take a long music trip back to the 80s and You May ask Yourself How Did I Get Here? ...and actually come to a good answer!!
Or, if you want to consider more thought provoking ideas about tags, other meta data and the role of time, please click over to my Tag Mush presentation linked at the bottom of Ontologies & Tagsonomies at Taxonomy Boot Camp to read more about the Information T.
This Information T model talks directly to the importance of Long Data, Big Data and context from Blog Data.
February 15, 2013
· Posted by Jordan Frank
Over on Quora, Ben Lopatin @bennylope has a best-answer to a question on the best ways to incentivize people to use E2.0 knowledge management and collaboration. He starts by shunning external incentives (as I do in Need for Incentives, and other Innovation Myths) and works through a few key principles which I've seen work time and time again:
- Focus on the problem for which the tools are to be employed. Most people don't care about enterprise wikis, they care about being able to do their jobs,
- Provide people with a working demonstration of an existing business process.
- Actively help people figure out how their processes, tasks, etc, can be accomplished with the new tools
- Get people up the ladder using the new tools... if you want to achieve pan-organization adoption you need leadership to show that they're using it, too
- Be careful about overestimating how easy the tools are for everyone. And not just the interfaces, but changes in underlying concepts.
I wish I had an Blog1326: Emergineering! badge to put on this answer because it captures the essence of understanding the problem and underlying process, figuring out how to address it in a way that enhances productivity, and finally getting the organization around the new approach. That's just what's needed for folks to figure out how to turn "social software" into "social productivity software" and really start using these tools for more than very basic and fleeting conversation.
I'd also hand out the badge to Catherine Shinners @catshinners for amplifying the benefits of social process transformation.
In her notes from the E2.0 Innovate conference, she wrote:
There are specific benefits of a social business process:
- immediacy - better access to the information
- serendipity - enabling discovery of new information
- transparency - supporting honest and ethical behavior through openness
A business process does not become social simply because it's in a social network. Hughes called out the different types of social business processes
- unstructured processes – the opened ended “hey I've got a question does anyone know the answer” or easy invitational “why don't we?” kind of interactions
- semi-structured – direct queries to engage a constituency or cohort in a group conversation or comment about artifacts i.e., “please review or provide feedback”
- structured – business process workflow kinds of structure “approve my expenses - request time off”
Beyond simple productivity gains of moving process from email and the water cooler to E2.0 platforms, or flexibility achieved by moving them from structured but hard to manage custom systems, this outline offers a clear sense for why a social platform is not only more ethical, its more effective because its observable and encourages team participation.
November 27, 2012
· Posted by Jordan Frank
Stan Przybylinski - @smprezbo - of CIM Data advised an audience at Social PLM 2012 on inevitable social side of product lifecycle management. In the talk (video on YouTube here), he identifies companies including Traction Software (Minute 9:06) whose platforms are being used by product teams for everything from building requirements, to managing risks and simply discussing product issues.
I particularly liked his slide on "How Things Actually Get Done - Can You Say Ball of Confusion?"
The essence of this is that traditional PLM offerings capture some but not all work in progress and don't support the communication loops around project communication or problem solving. Social platforms are filling the gap, and in many cases are actually supporting the whole PLM cycle.
TeamPage Action Tracking can help firms manage informal tasks, track issues or risks, and manage entire projects. TeamPage is also used to manage documentation or work-in-progress and discuss anything that's happening.
November 20, 2012
· Posted by Jordan Frank
Bill Ives, @billives, points to Nathan Eddy's eWeek column titled Businesses Still Reliant on Email as Social Media Use Grows. The column reminds us that Email is still the dominant go-to application of choice and that's not changing any time soon. Rather than run away from email habits, social software in the enterprise has to embrace it. Back in 2004, I gave a presentation at the INBOX conference advocating for the use of Email as an on-ramp for collaboration and an off-ramp for notification.
Dennis McDonald, @ddmcd, in a comment, concurred in a comment and pointed to his post on Social Media Engagement Tips where he said "Email operates as an extended user interface for many applications."
In TeamPage, we've steadily enhanced support for email as an extended user interface with hooks for Publishing from email including the ability to post new articles, status posts, and tasks. You can also setup notifications on any kind of addition or change. Changes can include edits, tag changes, and assignee changes (for tasks). There's also iCal links to permission filtered server, space, project and personal calendars. You can also reply to comment on notifications, so that you don't have to shift your user experience from your email client or smart phone when a notification needing your immediate response is needed.
November 7, 2012
· Posted by Jordan Frank
As we've put more attention to our cloud hosting (see Traction Software and Traction Software Japan) with free trials and an increasing hosted customer base, I'm seeing first hand how the customer relationship can become much closer, more interactive and more informed. In the last 24 hours, I was able to quickly help:
- a Global Logistics customer find a set of attachments which were removed when a page was edited 8 days ago.
- an IT / Management consulting customer determine the best way to setup a subcommittee dashboard where they can track issues, manage tasks, conduct discussion and share meeting agendas / outcomes.
This was possible to do asynchronously and quickly around our busy schedules because of a mutual bond of trust (so they allow me into their systems) and because their software is not buried behind a firewall.
Most customers still deploy software behind their firewall for a variety of good reasons. In those cases, we use web conferencing and issue tracking in TeamPage customer support spaces. This still works great, but I'm definitely seeing many cases where the cloud option opens up new opportunities for better support and better value for TeamPage software.
October 24, 2012
· Posted by Jordan Frank
I gave the following presentation at the first ever meeting of the Boston Chapter of the Knowledge Management Association today. As this was a first meeting, I thought I'd raise the issue that "managing knowledge" is about as daunting a task as "herding cats."
After we pick apart components of knowledge and understanding how context is critical to understanding it, I offered a two step process to bring an organization to towards a KM and collaboration strategy that starts with asking How? and relies on Emergineering to work knowledge management and context into daily social processes on platforms like TeamPage.
October 17, 2012
· Posted by Jordan Frank
In John Seeley Brown's KMWorld Keynote (live streamed 17 Oct 2012 at kmworld.com), he makes an important point about how knowledge has no boundaries. @johnseelybrown #KM12
He goes on to say that the way to manage knowledge in today's age is about capturing context along with content. That's the driving point around Traction TeamPage: Connected Work. It's the reason to build wiki style knowledge bases, integrated with blogs, discussion and tasking.
He goes on to talk about the futility of building profiles and managing inventories of skills by bringing up a case at SAP where the average time to ask and get an answer to a question is 17 minutes. He highlights another case at MITRE where social bookmarking exposes the knowledge and interest areas of each of the employees, while they work.
That's why we built the Social Enterprise Web module, to make social bookmarking easy and to enable discussion and tagging right into the context of enterprise systems.
In JSB's words - this helps meet a goal he states as the need "to build social and intellectual capital" by capturing the output of emergent processes.
He calls sharing in this way as intimate legitimate peripheral participation. PIt's a way to be intimate within working groups, but allow for social listening at scale.
Another terrific example he raises is how to cope when an ERP calls out an exception condition. A social process has to take over.
Employees have to raise, discuss and resolve the issue. Exception handling is a key issue brought up by his work at Deloitte. A system process issue becomes a social process issue to be handled and resolved. Knowledge about the decision is brought together, from content, context and active problem solving.
That's connected work, and why it matters. That's why connecting context with content is relevant and why we could "inherently want to share."
October 16, 2012
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
Ada 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.
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
September 6, 2012
· Posted by Andy Keller
We're working on new features for the next release of TeamPage that allow people to create events on a calendar. For the edit event dialog, we needed date and time pickers that allow people across different time zones to edit the dates and times of events. We ended up creating new GWT controls and adding them to our open source gwt-traction library .
Edit Event Dialog
It seems easy enough to implement using our own secret sauce of HTML/XML/SDL, some GWT, and a bit of CSS to make it look nice. I had almost everything working in an hour or so. Most of the fields use widgets provided by GWT or controls we've already written ourselves. I saved the Start Date and End Date fields for last.
I've used a bunch of different calendar applications and looked around the web for inspiration. Could there be a time control that I could just use? I found a lot of people with similar questions and a few decent solutions. I found this question on Stack Overflow. Eventually I decided that I was on my own. Not a big deal. I've written widgets before and we like to share them with the GWT community, so everyone wins.
I'd need two fields: a date input and a time input that together specify a time, independent of timezone. On the server we store them as the number of milliseconds since January 1, 1970, 00:00:00 GMT, the same value used by the Java Date object.
There's a nice date picker control that is part of GWT called a DateBox.
However, we noticed that it doesn't handle time zones very well, so we created the UTCDateBox. It makes it so that whatever Date you choose, you get a Long value as midnight in UTC of the date selected. The GWT DateBox control returns Date values and they are different values depending on the TimeZone in which you select the date. In the places we choose dates, we want a date independent of timezone.
For example, New Years Day is always Jan 1st even though it's still Dec 31st in the US when people start celebrating it in Japan. So using the UTCDateBox, if I'm in JST (Japan) and choose Jan 1st 2013, that will be the same as choosing Jan 1st 2013 in EST (US Eastern). They'll both have the same selected value (midnight Jan 1st 2013 UTC), independent of the time zone in which they were selected. We're happy with this solution for Dates and have been using it for years.
Time however, cannot be specified independent of TimeZone. I can't just say let's meet at 2pm on Dec 2nd and expect people around the world to show up at the right time. A time like 2pm is only meaningful in an associated TimeZone.
Since 2003, TeamPage has allowed users to create and edit articles, comments, files, tasks, etc. in their own TimeZone and Locale. It can be a little tricky to make sure everything is properly parsed and formatted, but we're used to the issues involved. It's important to keep the data that you store in a normalized format that you can query and sort.
Here's the UTCTimeBox that I decided to build. It's a TextBox with some special parsing that allows time to be entered in the user's preferred time format or other common formats. It's pretty lenient about parsing, so 6 is 6:00 AM, 6p is 6:00 PM, 645pm is 6:45 PM, etc. When you click the box, you get a drop-down list of a possible times in 30 minute intervals, formatted in your Locale.
Even though we have two separate controls for date and time, we still store a single Long value on the server side as milliseconds since January 1, 1970, 00:00:00 GMT. Ideally, we'd just have a single composite widget with these two controls implementing HasValue<Long>. setValue would split the value into separate date and time values and set the value of each controls, getValue would combine them, and this would all work in the user's preferred TimeZone which might be different than the server or browser TimeZone.
Since we can't properly split a single Long value into date and time parts in the browser, we'll have to do it on the server. I decided that the UTCTimeBox would just edit a value of milliseconds since midnight, independent of time zone (e.g. 12am is 0, 12pm is 12*60*60*1000).
When a user submits the form, the server, which knows the user's time zone, creates the corresponding Date value. When we edit the form, the server will split the values into appropriate values for the user's time zone. Nice and symmetric and the client code is much simpler. We made the server-side processing code available here.
Now we can edit events and the value is properly stored on the server.
The final piece is creating some interaction between the start and end dates to make it easier to create and maintain proper ranges. When you move the start date forward, the end date should move forward, maintaining a fixed duration. When you move the end date, the duration should adjust unless you move it before the start date. In that case it should move the start date back and maintain duration. It's the kind of interaction that you don't really notice but appreciate. This behavior is implemented by the UTCDateTimeRangeController.
HTML5 date/time inputs for iOS
HTML5 has new inputs for date, time, month, datetime, and more. iOS has particularly nice controls for selecting dates and times. Using deferred binding in GWT, we created a separate HTML5 implementation of the UTCDateBox and UTCTimeBox widgets. Currently we only present these to versions of Safari that support the "datetime" input (which is currently only iOS). While Opera supports these inputs, we think our text based controls work better than their dedicated date and time inputs.
As a developer using the UTCDateBox and UTCTimeBox, you don't need to do anything special to use the HTML5 versions in iOS. They will be presented automatically and use the same Long values described above instead of the standard HTML5 values.
August 26, 2012
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
"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."
“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
July 19, 2012
· Posted by Jordan Frank
In the Pharma Chatter session at the SLA 2012 (Special Librarians Association) conference, I had the opportunity to talk about gathering and managing intelligence from social media. I was joined by Craig McHenry (Pfizer), Lisa Orgren (Septagon Research Group), and Heather Bjella (Aurora WDC)
On the internet front, I focused on traps to avoid when monitoring and leveraging social media on the internet. Enterprise social media, by contrast, can be use case focused and highly valuable for intelligence, topic area communities, project teams and knowledge management.
After highlighting a set of use cases where my customers have found success, I outlined one specific case where a team and their limited community of <100 managers and executives have proven their leverage with over 84,000 reads and an average of 35 reads per page posted in a year. This demonstrates the continued value to be reaped from wiki style documentation and blog style communication in the enterprise. Please enjoy the slides:
July 17, 2012
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
It'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.
(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 CIA.gov unclassified news archive.
July 11, 2012
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
"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, CNet.com, 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?
July 7, 2012
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
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.
June 18, 2012
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
If 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
June 13, 2012
· Posted by Greg Lloyd
I'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
May 10, 2012
· Posted by Jordan Frank
I really like how Kashya Kompella from the Real Story Group offered a great dose of context for his E2.0 Marketplace Analysis Q2 2012: "Slightly modifying what the ancient Greeks said, you cannot dip your finger twice in the same (activity) stream." Simply said, there is not a lot of room for risk when an enterprise makes an attempt at an E2.0 effort, whether they are trying to build knowledge in a wiki, approach project management from a perspective managers actually like, or wrap up the whole effort with blogs, discussion, and a social networking layer on top.
In his 4D chart below, Kompella grades market players based on vendor business and product risk. Unlike most quadrant analyses, this is a case where being high upper right is not good.
By way of example, perhaps he grades Newsgator as low vendor and high product risk because they've been around a long time (vendor stability) but their product focus has changed entirely three times (from RSS client to RSS Server to Social layer on SharePoint).
The Vendor and Product risk appears general as the color of the circle also demonstrates an area of risk based on the vendor's focus on the E2.0 market. Oracle is the lowest rated on product risk, but they are colored white to indicate a very low focus on E2.0. So, perhaps Oracle is a good choice for your next database, but don't hold your breath if you are counting on them for your E2.0 platform.
Traction Software and our product Traction TeamPage show up low and to the left (low product and vendor risk) in a cluster with Microsoft and Oracle. However, we also show a Black circle (compared to White for Oracle and Purple for Microsoft) demonstrating laser focus on the Enterprise 2.0 market - as has been our focus since our founding and long track record.
Of course, none of this matters if the platform isn't any good. This chart doesn't say much about the product itself except for its focus and the rate at which its being overhauled, which can be a sign of innovation (good) but it also may warn of a sloppy underlying platform or poor vision as new capabilities are added. Traction TeamPage was built from the start as a journaling and editing system - which laid ground for every E2.0 "feature phase" starting with Blogs and then leading to Wiki, MicroBlogging, Discussion, Social Bookmarking, RSS, Project Management and User Profiles / Social Networking.
To gauge quality, there are ample analysts who've weighed in on that matter, showing TeamPage has a stable platform upon which we've been able to innovate successfully over the last decade. Here are a few recent indicators:
- Forbes.com contributor Haydn Shaughnessey says: "Traction, for my money, is the best conceived collaboration suite for companies that have a technical development requirement." He cites Traction Software as an example of a business that successfully competes with large companies like IBM by retaining: "... close attention to client needs, a personal desire to explore changes in the work environment, and a desire to see those reflected in the platform."
- The 9th Annual MIT Sloan CIO Symposium has announced Traction Software as one of ten finalists for the 2012 Innovation Showcase as its Traction TeamPage product represents a cutting edge B2B solution that combines the strong value and innovation to enterprise IT.
- CTOLabs adds Traction Software to its companies of note list, "firms we believe enterprise technologists should track":
- Jacob Morgan from Chess Media Group says: I’ve seen the Traction product a few times now I have to say that I really like it and not just for small and medium size businesses. Traction offers an amazing search integration feature which many large vendors can’t even come close to replicating."
So, if you want a platform that rocks and remains cutting edge in the E2.0 marketplace, all without introducing vendor and product risk, Get Traction! And do it risk free as we just introduced new hosting options and the opportunity to try it free for 30 days, then pay monthly. Check it out.
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.
April 4, 2012
· Posted by Jordan Frank
With Dartmouth President Jim Kim's recent nomination to the World Bank, I pulled out my copy of Mountains beyond Mountains to find the Kim quote that I found most inspiring for my day to day work.
From page 294:
"And," he says, "another secret: a reluctance to do scut work is why a lot of my peers don't stick with this kind of work." In public health projects in difficult locales, theory often outruns practice. Individual patients get forgotten, and what seems like a small problem gets ignored, until it grows large, like MDR. "If you focus on individual patients," Jim Kim says, "you can't get sloppy."
Sure, guiding customers on their social software use cases (one of many things I do in a day) seems somewhat insignificant compared to eradicating Tuberculosis in Haiti (one of Jim Kim's missions when founding Partner's in Health with Paul Farmer) though we do have the occasional case such as the Borlaug Global Rust Initiative where software is being used to combat a plant disease which, unabated, would cause a great deal of starvation.
Nonetheless, there is useful wisdom in the focus on the individual patient which, in my case, is the software user, their business need and corresponding use case. A very current example is a customer we are working with this week in an effort to make TeamPage meet some very particular project management reporting needs. We've provided Q&A support over the course of a few months, but not until we took the a "journey to the sick" (a practice of Kim's PIH partner Paul Farmer, where he takes routine hikes to patients in hard to reach towns) did we understand the process fully enough to prescribe an approach and technical solution.
While most folks get up and running perfectly well TeamPage, there are various that could do things better. This was one of those cases where the customer did OK for months but wanted to improve their use case prior to an all out replacement of a custom built project management system.
Another case was an energy company that tracked issues with Wiki pages because that was the first thing they tried. It worked for years so they didn't even consider using Tasks for each issue - an immediate recommendation we made when we finally saw what they were up to.
All too often, RFPs and their corresponding software requirements roll up a set of user needs into a list of features that you check off to qualify. But underneath all those checks are some very specific processes and quirks that a feature list alone will never support.
You can't just solve a software problem in the abstract any better than you can solve a health problem without seeing the patient, their living conditions and even the political environment in which they live. It's crucial to take the long journey to visit (by foot or by web meeting, of course) the user to see the content, examine legacy systems and understand the skills and challenges facing people involved.
Jim Kim did great things for Dartmouth and I wish him luck in getting the position at the World Bank. For anyone that doubts his credentials, I suggest a read of the World Bank's strategic themes- most of which refer to basic clean water, nutrition and infectious disease issues which devastate the poor countries that the Bank is trying to assist. These are the issues Kim faced very directly at PIH.
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.