CAT | Productivity
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. (more…)
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.
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. (more…)
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 can’t be done. The Myth of Multitasking by Dave Crenshaw. In his book he uses a simple example that is very convincing. Simply take a sheet of paper and draw a line across the page. (more…)
With collaboration and community tools like blogs, wikis, forums, tagging, and rating systems, the enterprise has become filled with collaboration tools that bring people together online and enable productivity. However, the lack of integration in these platforms creates not only Data Silos but Collaboration Silos. Information from one system has to be moved to another system if you want to collaborate and then finding the most relevant copy of the information becomes a nightmare. Where is the latest version? Was it an email attachment? Did I put it in the shared directory? Where are Bob’s comments? These questions and many similar ones are asked every day. What we need is a smart collaboration platform that combines simple actions with relevant information artifacts to produce collaboration spaces that work for you and not the other way around. (more…)