Archive for enterprise 2.0

Why a joint publishing environment?

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2010 by Lance Strzok

The urgency on this issue is because everyday that passes, another “collaboration site” gets created within our enterprise (government) which serves to divide collaborators that work specific topics.

This is bad because for fast, accurate, and rich content, we want the greatest number of collaborators to apply their considerable depth of knowledge to fewer products and knowledge bases which enable decision makers (political or tactical) to make the most informed decisions as quickly as possible.

Example situation:

Twenty people across the enterprise (DOD, IC, and other governmental bodies with access to the network) have expertise on a subject, but are not necessarily geographically located near one another.

From blog_pics

Twenty people (collaborators) across five companies or (agencies) that typically write on a given subject or topic. Four people at each of the five companies.

From blog_pics

Each of the five companies creates its own collaborative environment for its local employees with some limited ability to share with external collaborators. This could be a Mediawiki site, Sharepoint site, Lotus Notes, or any similar collaboration environment (Collaorative software list).

Each of the four members at each of the five companies use their companies collaborative environment to collaborate on their individual product on the same topic.

From blog_pics

Five “collaborative products” are created, with four primary contributors to each product.

A decision maker (political or tactical) may receive all five products on which to make a decision, and the burden of analysis is put on the decision maker (with less expertise on a topic) rather than on the community of practice where that expertise exists.

From blog_pics

What we want to do is put one product in front of a decision maker that represents the collaborative efforts of the community of practice on that topic (all twenty people), and allow them to make decisions based on that information. The richness and depth of knowledge applied to one document where the differences and facts are agreed upon (or highlighted when not) and available as a product and a living knowledge resource.

From blog_pics

Although there are several publishing and knowledge management products in use across the services and agencies, many of these systems are not shared, nor do they allow for collaboration outside of their component in an effective way. The data and products as well as those items in production are not discoverable by the other components and the costs to maintain each of these systems is considerable. Even if each component wanted to share their databases and information, it would be technically challenging based on the varied systems in use.

Intellipublia is authoring and knowledge management software that enables joint production of products and knowledge management on topics across the entire enterprise (where the enterprise contains all of the agencies, commands and DOD components). All of which can use Intellipublia to create component specific products, or collaborate on joint products. Additionally, members at any component can discover, and contribute or comment on any product that is in draft, or completed.

Intellipublia takes the worldwide scalability of Wikipedia (Mediawiki software) and has been modified to work as a production system that has many features of modern production expectations“.

Intellipublia is operational, as well as still accepting requirements for improvement.

The most notable features are:
* Web based and accessible from any computer on the network
* Scalable to millions of users
* Changes are tracked and attributable and commented
* Notification mechanisms for various aspects of user activities
* Produce validated XML for registration with the Library of National Intelligence IAW ICD 501
* Static html output for local server usage
* Searchable, linkable, taggable, extensible, and has RSS output

In conclusion, I wish to convey that within an enterprise as large as ours, where knowledge on any topic exists in more then one component, it is imperative that we drive collaborators to fewer collaborative spaces in order to maximize collaborative effects and achieve decision superiority while reducing duplication in both products and knowledge databases. This means making a joint decision on which environments we are going to use, followed with how we will integrate them, regardless of the environment or software tools that we settle on.

As always, thank you for reading, and I would appreciate your candid and constructive feedback.

Advertisements

How do we move away from email?

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2010 by Lance Strzok

I started this thread as a response to Andrew McAfee’s blog. http://andrewmcafee.org/2009/10/how-i-learned-to-stop-worrying-and-love-email/ .

There I shared the following thoughts on moving away from email:

I am living the truce with email, but I do think that email will act like a ball and chain on moving toward what could be, and what I think we agree will eventually be.

I think that the mindset for email should be as one to be used as a private communications path, with suggested replacement when possible with private chat and private messaging within chat for asynchronous discussion.

I think one thing we could do to move willing organizations toward limiting email and moving in the direction of other tools would be to disable attachments within email. Replacing them with links to documents in a document management system that is optimized for the media being linked too, (be it images, documents, video etc…). There are some added side benefits to this decision, reduction of the number of the same documents and the associated confusion over updates versions, and changes. There are other benefits, but I won’t go on about that.

A follow on move may be to declare that email will begin to be indexed and made searchable/discoverable unless it is flagged as personal and private. Encouraging employees to use private chat and chat messages for most of the personal exchanges that take place. This would enable us to start to use the email text strings (now without actual documents embedded). Maybe then email might not be “where knowledge goes to die” as you so appropriately put it. These emails (now text files) can indexed along with chat room logs (non private) and other text based tools as well. One additional thing would be that it may basically force a lot of people to review what they have, and delete those that are no longer worthwhile, thereby reducing total storage allocated to email from 20 years ago. (Can you believe some people are proud of that fact?)

The other uses of email would eventually need to be replaced with arguably better tools as well. Take for example the task list function, or the integrated calendar, meeting makers and the rest of the functionality we have come to love. Until we can point to a better solution in those areas as well, this is going to continue to be an uphill battle.

Then there are the customers and clients, we can change our internal methods and processes, but what about how we interact with our customers?

All good questions, but I just realized I started this long ago, and forgot to publish and finish it (busy).

Lastly, I will say that if you or your customers like Firefox as your browser, then linking your documents to Sharepoint is not the direction to go. They are only open for editing in Internet Explorer.

What am I going to tell my boss (Draft – still want comments)

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 9, 2009 by Lance Strzok

The internet just turned 40 last month, and no one would argue that the result of enabling 1/6th of the people on the planet to communicate and share information using this network has lead to enumerable unforeseen and unplanned benefits.

Web2.0, and its derivatives- Enterprise 2.0, Social media, Government 2.0, are now collectively a combination of ideology, and technologies that together are a disruptive technology with the potential to bring great power to those that leverage it.

We are not fostering the ideology or leveraging the technologies to an appreciable extent, and risk loosing much in the way of power and influence.

The problem is that we have had access to these Web2.0 tools for over 5 years now, with little progress in the way of integrating these tools into our business practices or replacing older tools and technologies. Leadership puts these concepts into vision statements, but does little in the way of delivering actionable plans and integration strategies. Meanwhile the grassroots efforts of many line employees that leverage the technologies have marginalized success, and meet with resistance from supervisors and middle management that have no direction from above on how and what to implement or allow.

This is further muddied with the heavily publicized failings and issues of the use of these technologies on the world wide web (www). You hear about negative issues spanning opsec of personal information and computer cyber security issues and concerns that do in fact exist- on that network. What they don’t talk about, and how the issues you hear about with these tools on TV and in various other media is the difference in attribution. Simply put, on the web, you can be anyone, and say just about anything. Whereas within enterprise
environments, many of these concerns don’t exist because your actions are attributable to you, and your cyber issues are largely behind the firewall. So it is clearly an unfair comparison, and damaging to adoption.

Discussion-
1. Ideology, values, and culture of the “adopters” -It’s about attitude, not Gen-X, Gen-Y etc…
2. Tools and Technologies that facilitate integration of the ideology in business and personal performance
3. Benefits of Integrated Social Media Strategy
4. Not a Utopian solution
5. Current and future tools and technologies
6. What is needed from leadership

The Ideology – (Heavy influence by Gary Hamel)

– Contributing and Sharing – The speed, agility, access to information and communication of the network surpasses individual performance
– Transparency – We each can see what and when others contribute
– Trust – Through transparency we can develop trust and meaningful relationships
– Impact – Desire ability to impact my organization
– Agility – Facilitate a fast pace, minimize bureaucracy
– Easy – Low barriers to contribution
– Egalitarian – Your ideas sink or swim on their own merit and are not based on personal credentials
– Networks are self organized and defined – not prescribed
– Leaders serve rather then preside
– Resources get attracted not allocated
– Power comes from sharing accurate information not hoarding it
– Opinions compound and decisions are peer reviewed

The tools and technology –

There was a time when the tools we had at work were far superior to what we had access to at home, and in some areas, that pendulum has come 180. These tools are readily available at home, and are a large part of many people’s personal productivity. These tools enable and enhance the activities that are valued in Social Media ideology.

Tools and Technology
– Blog (WordPress)
– Wiki (Wikipedia)
– Instant Messaging (Chat)
– Web based file servers for various media (Flickr, Picasa, Google Docs)
– Social Bookmarking
– Keywords and Tags
– RSS
– Social Media platforms (Facebook, MySpace)
– Emergent Social Software Platforms (ESSPs)
– Podcasts
– … Many more

Not really going to talk tools, there are too many, and I am grateful to have access to so many for my work. There are classes you can take to learn about the tools and how to use them to achieve results. What is important to mention is that I have a choice, not one solution that was handed down from corporate IT with a mandate to use it.

These tools have some characteristics in common. I like the mnemonic SLATES coined by Andrew McAfee to discuss those similarities.

– Search – Ability to search within the tool
– Links – Ability to link to other information
– Authoring – Give people the ability to interact with or author
– Tags – Keywords associated with an item
– Extensible – Can be improved and made to work with other tools
– Signals – Can send you an option in notification (email, or RSS)

Benefits of Integrated Social Media Strategy –

Not a Utopian solution –

Current and future tools and technologies –

What is needed from leadership? –

Stated social media goals and guide rails that provide and encourage adoption within the firewall while considering security and expectations when using tools that interact with the world wide web.

Verbalized recognition and encouragement of the use of these tools by managers and employees whenever possible within the firewall for enterprise related work.

Encourage leadership to create a culture in which calculated risks can be taken without fear of loosing job, innovation can take place at the lowest levels of the organization, employees can and do impact how things are done. Understand that flaws will come to the surface, and be ready to engage the workforce on how to fix them in an open and transparent way. I am reminded of forums, and the solution cannot be to simply turn them off. They may have shed light on some of the shortcomings, but ultimately, they represented the silent voice at the table.

Recognize the values of the coming workforce. Understand the tension that may exist with current leadership that came into power under a somewhat different set of values and a different culture to form the existing business model. State a desired direction to evolve from that model toward a new model in which risk, trust, sharing, and collaboration resulting in products with great depth of knowledge and transparency of contributions are to be rewarded.

Empower and encourage network and team building across the entire enterprise utilizing these tools and leveraging those networks and teams against mission areas. Actionable plans put into place and motivated engagement.

Search out and hire people that demonstrate high performance and the skills to integrate their talent with a network of similarly interested and talented people.

Recognize and reward adoption and evolution toward the new model.

Ensure that middle management and immediate supervisors encourage the use of and adoption of these tools by the workforce.

I believe that general
managers are the single most important constituency for tech-
nology success or failure within an organization; yet very few
books or other materials are written especially for them.

[Andrew McAfee]

—-
Thanks to Contributors:
-Dave McDonald
-Joseph Boutte
-Justin Franks
-Andrew McAfee
-Nick Charney
-Brock Webb
-Chris Rasmussen

—-
Resources and links
http://andrewmcafee.org/enterprise-20-book-and-blurbs/
http://oreilly.com/web2/archive/what-is-web-20.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WEB2.0
http://blogs.wsj.com/management/2009/03/24/the-facebook-generation-vs-the-fortune-500/

Chirp – What am I going to do with that?

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2009 by Lance Strzok

This week Chirp was added as a service to our enterprise. Chirp is much like Twitter, a micro-blogging service.

At its core is the ability to write 140 characters of text in a message box, and broadcast it too everyone in the enterprise. Each Chirp has a time stamp and who sent it attached to it and are chronologically ordered.

Sounds like something you may not want to do – or is it?

Well, what if I said that the only people that would really care would be the people that choose to listen to you. They choose to follow you because they want to hear what you have to say, and if that changed, they could simply choose not to listen anymore. You can likewise choose to follow those people that you want to listen too, and if that changed, you could self select not follow them anymore as well.

Like many very flexible tools, there are a lot of things you may be able to do with this tool.

I would like to share some ideas that I am going to use this tool for since I have been looking forward to something like this for quite some time.

I have been waiting for a tool like this primarily for its logging features. One of those features was the ability to easily put down what I do during the day, that I can recall later. I wanted to use this to help me when I am asked to provide input for end of year performance assessments. Long ago, I made recommendations on several ways people could keep track of what they do, but I wanted to make it easy, and this service gets us pretty close.

The service is primarily a text box that you can put up too 140 characters of information into. You can enter links into the text area, so if you choose to inform your network of followers (friends), then you can post that you are starting work on something and send them a link to that file. You can also simply make them aware of what you are working on that day. Or you can include a link to your finished work so that they can read it. There is a URL shortener that you can use to shorten long URLs if you need too. It can be found in the Tag|Connect (social bookmarking) service if you need it.

You can use it to create groups. After there is a group, and if you are a member of a group, you can track all group member “Chirps” and know what people in the group are saying about that topic. Groups are usually topic centric (like what forums used to be). When you click on the group, you can see all the posts (chirps) made to the group by group members.

In addition to groups, there is the ability to create your own topical “tags”. Those tags are prepended with a “#” symbol and look something like this: #collaboration for example. This means that anyone that adds #collaboration to one of their chirps, will automatically become a member of that “hash tag”. That post will show up if you click on that hash tag along with any others that are in that group.

So how am I using it in the enterprise? Well, for DCIPS, I am using a hashtag for each of the Individual Performance Objectives that I have this year. #GLS123IPO1 for example is a hashtag that will be where I collect all the chirps that are related to my 1st performance objective. That way at the end of the year, if I have used this tool to track the things I work on during the day, I can click on that hashtag, and it will chronologically list all the work I did on that objective this year. This should make creating my input for end of year evaluation easier. Also, since I can include links, I may make a unique hashtag for my products, and one for time keeping like #GLS123P and #GLS123T where the first would be products and the second time entries for recalling posts that describe when I arrived and left on any given day. I can use them where needed.

The tool also has a built in RSS feed, so that I can share with my manager what I am working on, where I am going too (meetings) and anything else I choose to share about what I am doing, and where I am at any given time. If my manager subscribes to my feed on that, and wants to know where I am, when I chirp that I am giving training in a specif place for a specific time period, then he and others can know where that is. Again, but only if I willingly and purposefully post those kind of entries. He may ask others to do it as well, and that is one way to keep track of what people are working on.

Alternatively, if our office had a group name, and we all included a !groupname in our chirps, then all the chirps with that groupname would appear in that space, and an RSS feed of that would be available for the manager in charge as well.

I have listed some things I am going to use this for, and in time people will use it for things I can not even imagine yet. But this tool allows for RSS, groups, tags, and chronologically lists the returns of those results. My peers and friends will likely “follow” my chirps, and maintain situational awareness of what I am working on and where I am as well as what I am producing and for which IPOs I am doing the work. They can see and join the groups I am in, or get feeds of what I am chirping about, what groups are posting about etc… My manager may choose to follow what I am doing, and I of course have a responsibility to chirp about meaningful things that are work related. We have all heard of the person “Tweeting out about going to get a drink of water” which has no real impact or significance and ultimately adds only to the noise around us. I should only hope that we use this tool to share things of value, what we are working on, who we are working with and what we are trying to accomplish. That would be the primary difference between what I Twitter about outside work, and what I Chirp about inside work.

If you like what you have read and found it useful, feel free to check it out, (it uses your intelink passport username and password. Once in, feel free to follow my chirps, ask questions, or post some of your own. I look forward to seeing you in there.

—-
In addition to asking for constructive criticism on this blog post, I will part with these questions-
What are you using Chirp for? What may you use it for in the future? What did this tool make easier for you?

Individual Performance Objectives FY 2010

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by Lance Strzok

1. Publish on Social Media and Collaboration.

-Compose, review and publish to the workforce, a quarterly newsletter “The feed”.
-Coordinate with the CIO, KM, Hopper, Innovation Office, KTP, Social Media, and Training departments to maintain status on programs, dates, and articles on related content of interest.
* Ensure that at least one article on relevant material is reviewed and included in the quarterly newsletter.
* Ensure that the status report items in the newsletter reflect current information on existing programs, and include new or dropped programs as well.
* Include one personal freeform exposition per subject area with an “outlook” and or “something to ponder” subject.
-Write on collaborative culture.
* How is collaboration different then coordination?
* What are some of the challenges to collaborating in our work environment?
* What are some of the fears of collaborating?
* What are some of the values, ethics, and motives in a collaborative culture?
* A definition of collaborative culture within our community.

* Supports CIO FY10 requirements for information sharing, knowledgement IAW http://www.doncio.navy.mil/uploads/DONCIO_Campaign_Plan_FY2010_v2_508.pdf

2. Social Media, Collaboration and Web Security Training

– Provide a minimum of 4 courses on Social Media and Collaboration to the workforce before September 30 2010. This course shall cover at a minimum A-space, Intellipedia, Inteldocs, Blogs, Intelink, Gallery, iVideo, Microblogging, IC-Connect, Sharepoint, Tag|Connect, and Instant Messaging.
– Provide social media and anonymous browsing training for a minimum of 3 opensource classes.
– Provide Social Media training to a minimum of 3 Tools 101 classes.

3. Provide consulting on Social Media tools to the IC, departments, divisions, fleet assest and individuals on an as requested basis. Provide chat room support to A-space, Collaboration Help, Intellipublia, Compass, and Evolution IC.

– Actively seek, identify, and make recommendations for business practices that may be enhanced with the use of social media tools.
– Document these activities with specific customers, providing clear problems and potential solutions for lessons learned and best practices usage.

4. Identify, test, and evaluate emerging technologies and best practices for incorporation into our IT enterprise.

– Implement 3 new technologies by end of FY10.

Blog vs email – Which one is work?

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 17, 2009 by Lance Strzok

So the other day I realized that I need to keep track of the blogs that I respond to.

I realized that my responses to many blogs are very thoughtful and include quite a bit of cognitive effort to respond to in a meaningful way. This time, and effort, is not being captured and considered a part of my “work”.

How then are blogs and blog responses any different than emails and email responses? And why is one clearly considered work and the other considered a toy? Are my blog entries and blog responses any less valuable than an email? In fact how is it that my blog entries are not more valuable and more authoritative than an email since they are drafted to a greater audience and require more thought than a simple response to an email from a single person? I would argue that the transparency that my blog responses embody have just as much if not more value than something in an email. In addition to that, I contend that my blog entries are persistent, discoverable, and can be referenced by others (ping backs) when and where appropriate.

When I draft a response to a work-related issue in a blog, it is potentially being viewed by many and will persist. I am compelled to ensure that my reply is meaningful and accurately represents what I think about a given topic. That it is written with the intent of sharing or collaborating on the subject at hand.

When I draft an email response to a colleague, I do the same thing, but to a lesser extent because I know it is to a smaller audience.

So who really benefits from my insight and cognitive effort between the two mediums?

The greater good comes from my sharing my thoughts on a subject via a blog, where many can discover the conversation, and use my cognitive work. This is far more useful than an email that is sent and sits in a single individual’s saved email for future use by only that person.

Now to consider how to move ahead.

If I receive a work-related email involving an issue that is potentially pertinent to multiple people and will require considerable effort and thought when drafting a response, why wouldn’t I consider posting the question and response in a blog? This invites my network of peers and colleagues to enhance the response and send a link back to the originator. Who really benefits here? Everyone.

This is not to say that email should never be used. But, perhaps, its clear-cut use has and should be primarily the realm of personal and private conversations. If it is work, why would you share it with so few when so many could benefit from your cognitive effort? Not only could they and learn from you, but they could also help you learn if they feel compelled to add to the response as well.

So, tell me what you think? Are my blog responses work – or not? Are yours? Why are email messages considered work and blogs not?

Who likes maintaining email distribution lists?

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 22, 2009 by Lance Strzok

So I had a Eureka moment last Friday.

I had been (back burner) crunching on how to avoid maintaining a distribution list for a publication that I am involved with (Innovation Office “Threads”).

I simply did not want to be the guy getting all those emails and maintaining the distribution list (call me lazy – fine). Also of importance here is that I still get emails from DL’s that I no longer want too, but getting my name off of them is not always straight forward since people come and go and you can loose track of who is maintaining a given DL. I simply wanted a way to allow people to get the “signal” that there is a new article, and stop it if they decided they did not want it anymore.

I also wanted to socialize the existence of the publication since it really just takes a topic (typically software) of interest to analysts and tries to boil it down to a fairly understandable description of what it is and how it can be used.

I wanted to embed a link in the articles, (typically .pdf files), that are created to take readers to this page where they could control the signal, (be it email or RSS), they are getting.

So I created a page in our Enterprise wiki that is about “Threads”, and on it, there are several sections;

– Purpose of the publication (described earlier)

– A link to the folder in Inteldocs so that users can subscribe to the folder in which I put the articles (subscriptions generate an email to the user each time there is a new article placed in the folder)

– A section for adding or removing your email address from a distribution list that I will use each time I send out an email of the article (for those without access to Inteldocs)

– A section for requesting future articles (always want to know what people want to learn about)

– A section for others to put links to similar articles or publications

I embed the link and a word “subscribe” in the articles to link to this page where people can control what signals they get and can also send to other people.

The fact that it is an Enterprise wiki matters because I want the “username” of people that make changes to it to be transparent to those using the wiki. That way people can be held accountable for making changes to the list.

My question to you – What do you think of this as a best practice with regard to DL’s and publications? What would you do to make it better?

—————-

Want to declare yourself a Social Media and Collaboration COI member please do so here and I will include you in future posts via email or you can RSS this blog.