Imagine being lost on a deserted island with no hope of being discovered with only a volleyball named Wilson to keep you company.  There’s a reason pirates used marooning as a form of torture.  It’s a miserable existence (if you can call it that) that usually doesn’t end so well.  But yet that’s what becomes of most corporate knowledge.  It’s left on various file servers across the enterprise with little hope of discovery or rescue (aka. reuse). In my last post entitled Strategic Reuse Process, we looked at an overall framework for analyzing how information flows through an organization and the hurdles encountered on its way to reuse.  But how does an artifact go from Publication to Discovery (see here for definition)?  In this post I want to dig a little deeper and discuss the first hurdle on our way to reuse, Findability. find-a-bil-ity n a.  The quality of begin locatable or navigable b. ...(Read More)

Strategic Reuse

Community managers have a tough job. They deal with lots of different stakeholders trying to find that elusive “middle ground”. They incessantly cheer on community activities and push adoption of collaboration best practices; but when it comes to validating their position through tangible and quantifiable metrics it can sometimes seem daunting. Is the best measure user participation? How about community size? Each of these seem like great things, and they are, but typically organizations don’t have a lot of tolerance for soft measures that don’t directly impact the “bottom-line”. Recently I have been working to identify ways in which organizational performance gains can be tied to community activities. Since my current position involves helping large organizations increase performance from their development teams, I started first by looking at something that may seem far removed from community, knowledge reuse. Why reuse?  The reason I chose to build my case around reuse ...(Read More)

Addendum to Brook’s Law

I just read Joel Spolsky’s blog entitled “A Little Less Conversation” which discusses something I’ve blogged about in the pasthere and here, communication overload. After reading that post I began to consider my own personal experience in meetings over the last dozen or so years and decided to add an addendum to the communication node problem that was so eloquently detailed in the Mythical Man Month by Brooks. The problem with Brooks’ theory of intercommunication is that it doesn’t take into account the “Number of Managers” in any given meeting.  He assumes in his calculation that all nodes in a communication network are equal.  This is a mistake.  All nodes are not equal, as anyone who has sat through a meeting with more than one manager participating can attest to. Managers have keen insight into every major (and minor) issue at hand and willingly share that information with the team in a seemingly endless discourse ...(Read More)

The Mythical 40 Hour Workweek

Communication is crippling Corporate America.  I know what you’re thinking, “That statement is preposterous.  Communication is the bedrock of productivity today”, but if you bear with me I’ll explain my thinking on the subject.  Communication may be the bedrock of business systems today, but it has also become an albatross around our necks and is draining us of our productivity.  As organizations have flattened over the last two decades and command and control hierarchies have been replaced with matrix style organizations, communication between an ever increasing number of interested parties has sapped nearly all productivity from today’s corporations.  Our goals aren’t related to corporate strategy anymore.  We simply try to keep up with the ever increasing amount of email, meetings, and IMs that come our way all day, and if there’s any time left over for real work…. we’ll figure out someway to distract ourselves from getting it done. Nearly ...(Read More)

Multitasking is a Lie

Does instant messaging (IM), email, and social media make us more productive?  Of course they do, right?  …  Well, the real answer is ‘no’ (what would be the point of this post otherwise?:).  As a Community Manager for two open-source projects I reach out and ‘connect’ with people as part of my job.   In doing so I use Twitter, mailing lists, IRC, and discussion forums almost constantly, but what about people who aren’t tasked with making connections and building community?  Is it good for them?  What about the secretary whose Facebook page is constantly updated throughout the day or the sales guy who updates his followers minute by minute?  Are they as productive as they should be or are they just awesome multi-taskers? Let’s look at a simple fact … The human mind does not process information in parallel (you may want to go back and read that again).  It just ...(Read More)