Posted on March 31, 2009 by Paul Ritchie
Emmanuel Gobillot commented on my post on self-organization (here). I liked his comment so much that I thought it was worth highlighting below:
I have found four conditions which need to be in place for communities to be productive. I called these
Simplicity (a coherent and simple way to engage),
Narrative (an underpinning story for people to align to),
Tasks (a clear set of tasks which participants can measure against their self image) and
Love (the willingness to commit to making others stronger).
These elements encourage emergence but are better designed. In many ways this explains the need for the famous “benevolent dictators” we have come to identify with emergent systems.
IMO, community-building often focuses on conditions 1&4, especially in knowledge management efforts. Addressing these topics seems to attract membership, but this tactic only meets some of a community’s needs. Without the structure and content provided by conditions 2&3, communities are only coherent and useful for those most interested in conversation and networking.
In my experience, very interesting conversations spring up in “Simplicity” and “Love”-centric communities. However, there are so many stories being told that it is hard to pick a single thread and follow it through to closure. Without an over-arching “Narrative” that values the “Task” work — something like “Community X’s mission is to create a knowledge sharing network and promote re-use of recommended practices in strategic topics A, B, and C” — the community becomes all talk, no deliverables.
Filed under: Collaboration, Knowledge Management, Methodology | Tagged: Emergence, emergent behavior, self-organization | Leave a comment »
Posted on March 14, 2009 by Paul Ritchie
We’ve just started digging into a large-scale re-architecture of our various methodologies. As you might imagine, the consequences of our approach include changes to the processes, people, and technologies behind content production and maintenance.
In particular, leverage social media to author, publish, and distribute much more content than we do today. We’re pleased with our technology direction. However, we are concerned about some of the organizational change management challenges ahead — for example, many potential contributors feel like their competitive advantage is what’s in their heads.
Are there any social media adoption strategies that work well when engaging constituencies that aren’t inclined to share?
Filed under: Collaboration, Knowledge Management, Methodology, Organizational Change Management, PMO, Web 2.0 | Tagged: blogs, wikis | 3 Comments »
Posted on February 20, 2009 by Paul Ritchie
During my keynote on “Lessons from a Mature PMO on Sustaining Success”, I spent a considerable amount of time discussing one of the pitfalls of success: becoming satisfied with what was already in place. For example, some global PMO services stopped evolving and improving. Our regions felt like they had to build their own improvements — even worse, we didn’t have a mechanism for leveraging these innovations.
Luckily, we did a some working models that we were able to formalize. Below is a graphic — with a link to a PDF — that outlines the basic concept and an example (WBS templates).
Filed under: Collaboration, Innovation, PMO, SAP | Tagged: co-innovation, Enterprise PMO, Global PMO, PMO governance | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 10, 2008 by Paul Ritchie
Very cool story (here) about an artist — Harriett Russell — who decided to test just how dedicated the Royal Mail really was to getting her posts delivered.
[She concealed] the addresses of 130 letters to herself in a series of increasingly complex puzzles and ciphers. Among the disguises she employed were dot-to-dot drawings, anagrams and cartoons…. Amazingly, only 10 failed to complete their journey back to her.
I loved to hear just how seriously the postmen and women took their job. One particularly clever challenge — the address as a series of crossword clues — came back “Solved by the Glasgow Mail Centre.”
Apparently this correspondence of sorts will be featured in a new book, Envelopes: A Puzzling Journey Through the Royal Mail.
Filed under: Collaboration, Quality Management | Tagged: Harriet Russell, problem solving, Royal Mail | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 28, 2008 by Paul Ritchie
I agree with most of Susan Cramm‘s pieces, but she goes on a bit of a rant on the role of line managers in making IT’s life impossible (here). While there is at least a grain of truth in her complaints, the IT “can’t do” attitude that infuriates line executives pervades the piece.
IT managers are tired of being treated like high priced waiters serving technology de jour on a moment’s notice.
Perhaps IT managers should stop acting like waiters and order takers for the business. It would be nice if IT wouldn’t “need to study” a request to deploy only somewhat new technology — e.g., Enterprise 2.0 — then come back and say “yes, but”. Perhaps IT could anticipate what the business needed, for once?
Luke’s business “partners”… in their single-minded pursuit of customers, products and profit [emphasis mine],… simply forgot about IT.
If only IT knew what it’s like to have a single-minded pursuit of those pesky customers, products, and profit. Not like that’s where their paychecks come from…
Alignment is meant to ensure that the right IT products and services are available to meet business needs with minimal angst for all involved [emphasis mine].
This definition/goal sounds good, but articulates a common IT mistake about defining alignment — avoiding conflict (“yes, but”). Continue reading
Filed under: Collaboration, Implementation Costs, Innovation, IT special interests, IT Strategy, Leadership, Organizational Change Management | Tagged: business alignment, Harvard Business Online, Susan Cramm | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 27, 2008 by Paul Ritchie
I liked Pavel Brodzinski‘s comment (here) on my networking post. His point is right on and I wished I had elaborated on the point myself. As Pavel notes, coming from the outside with fresh energy can revive previously-lost causes. I also see some additional benefits/approaches to surfacing “already failed” ideas during your initial networking:
- As an outsider, you can ask open-ended and naive questions about the failed concept without appearing ignorant. Also, this approach gets people to talk more openly about what really went wrong.
- Even if you think it is a great idea and you’ve seen it work, listen to the answers first. To that end, don’t immediately endorse, complement, or promote the old idea.
- Finally, listening to the answers is a great way to assess these stakeholders. While Byham’s article emphasizes the need to establish credibility, credibility is a two-way street.
The ideal benefits from taking the these steps are a perspective on the “real” causes of the previous failure, an understanding of whether or not it may work again, and a map of the stakeholders you’ll have to navigate around.
Filed under: Collaboration, Leadership, Organizational Change Management, Performance Management, Stakeholder management | Tagged: Harvard Business Online, networking, Pavel Brodzinski, William Byham | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 25, 2008 by Paul Ritchie
This Harvard Business Online article on networking after a promotion caught my eye (link here). While it’s pitched to the recently-promoted, it has great advice for anyone moving into a new role. The piece starts fast:
Most people aren’t naturally networkers. But if you’ve just been promoted or are about to move into a new job, it’s imperative that you start talking to lots of people and make connections right away, so you can acquire crucial information about your new job and succeed early. If you don’t, you might lack the facts you need for a proposal, for example, or you might bring up an idea you think is neat but has failed in the past.
The three tips noted in the piece are just fine. However, I particularly liked the two insights in the open about fact-gathering and avoiding already-failed ideas. I’ve made these mistakes before, so I appreciated the reminder of the pain that a little stakeholder identification and planning can prevent.
Networking is definitely an unnatural act for me. While that isn’t usually a deterrent for me, in this case it means that networking always goes to the end of my to-do list. My best approach is to target and reach out per the article, then get short chats on my calendar with those folks immediately. If I procrastinate, all is lost. Per the article:
[T]he first 30 to 60 days are when networking matters most, because that’s when people are deciding if they can depend on you or if you’re a loser who should never have been hired.
Filed under: Collaboration, Leadership, Performance Management, Stakeholder management | Tagged: Harvard Business Online, networking, William Byham | 2 Comments »