Archive for production

Journalists vs Analysts

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , on August 31, 2011 by Lance Strzok

I get the impression that a lot of analysts try to be journalists, and it got me thinking that maybe the road ahead is to actually make journalists within the IC.

How do analysts differ from journalists? The most obvious differences are level of knowledge on a subject, and objectivity. It is my beliefthat most analysts are pretty deep in tbrms of knowledge with respect to the subject matter they write on, and as human nature would have it, they are pretty attJched to their judgments on the things that they write about and don’t necessarily seek out others to collaborate with or open theclselves up to disagreement.

Journalists on the other hand, appear to me to be openly shallow in most subject areas that th~y write on when compared to analysts,but they seem more ethically bound to deliver balanced reporting on a subject after interviewing various analysts and SME’s for onions on the matter from various angles. In this way, the various sides of the story, and the drivers and stakeholders all get some kind of view represented in the report. (Want to highlight a little with respect tel differing motives and abilities here, depth of knowledge differences, motives differences, and objectivity or cognitive dissonance impacts as well as how each potential role might yield a different result).

So taking much of what I mention above as true, I ask, “what if the Ie had journalists that were directed to write reports, with deadlines, and had to find and interview analysts across the Ie, DoD, legal, state, local, academic, and others areas in order to more fully cover a topic? That would leave more emphasis properly placed on analysts to do their job of maintaining facts and forming and defending positions, rather then writing reports and adding to the noise. In addition to this, it would tend to have a positive influence on relationships between analysts an their willingness to collaborate when they start to see the influence that their argument held up, or not, who agreed with them, who did not and why. All these are good things in my mind and might alleviate some of the agency vs agency stuff that seems to eat away at the collective effort.
Now I believe that we have the tools to author joint products, like Living Intelligence, Intellipublia, and more, but how we would task this group of Ie level Journalists is another matter to consider. I am less certain about a common tasking system that would allow the head of the journalists to direct efforts against stories in a way that would meet intelligence requirements of all those that are submitting Intelligence requirements to different requirements processes. That being said, if we were going to make this group of journalists, then we could ptobably set up some folks that know how to direct this kind of activity and are familiar with the groups out there, and the general types of requirements that are needed such that they could direct journalists to meet them.

So in short, there would be analysts, sme’s and journalists. A directing mechanism for the journalists that takes input from key stakeholders, and a truly joint product that woul:d have the names of the analysts and agencies that contributed to them, thereby reducing the number of redundant reports that are created, and fostering the kind of collaboration and solid products that I believe we should be creating as a community.
I would think that creating this group and giving them the charter and responsibilities to do this job would be more likely than analysts all across the community getting reallylgood at collaborating and sharing in that way that we have hoped. Again, the difference in motivation and bias may be slowing or preventing the achievement of the environment we are trying to create.

Cheers!
Please let me know what you think.
Lance.

Some responses from another area are below.

(Reader 1) I read a lot of topical blogs written by journalists, and I have say for many of them, I hold their analysis in higher esteem
than much of what I read in finished intelligence. Now, journalists are just as capable of having biases, but most of
them state it up front, or you can tell it by whom they are writing for. I think professional journalists are better at writing a tight storyline, keeping to the narrative, and in many cases offer interesting insights that many others would miss.

(Reader 2) I have to respectfully disagree. Some contemporary journalists seem to publish opinion pieces under the heading of articles. I have seen instances that present as the journalist going into the process of reporting with their own agenda instead of being objective. In this age of computers and instant gratification it also seems in trying to reduce the reporting to the short time span it’s presented in, the message is often distorted or lost entirely. The dearth of print media and conglomeration of newspapers further reduces the impact of responsible journalism. I am not saying this is necessarily the fault of the journalist, it’s the just the system they are forced to operate within. Don’t get me wrong, there are responsible journalists out there but there are many sloppy ones as well.
So too is the analyst field. But this is a problem of our own making. For too many years the attitude of “knowledge is
power” and each agency’s artificial stovepiping discouraged the sharing of information. This attitude became ingrained
and as we all know it is hard to change as human nature, as well as corporate mindset attests. As a result the problem
becomes not so much as how to share but in finding out who is working on what. Reinventing the wheel became
commonplace,. Then too the lack of social media skills among the older generation of analysts further compounded the
porblem.
But programs like this blog for example s~gnal a change in direction. Education is the key. The newer analysts are more
comfortable using social media in their daily life so it translates easily into their analytical practices. Now it is a matter of
“advertising” who is doing what in the various agencies so that connections can be made between analysts. In addition, no
competent analyst should be producing arliyfinished intelligence without it being vetted. This is just common sense in my opinion. Are we going to have an opinio~? Yes. Are we going to possibly resent criticism? Again, yes. This is human
nature. I truly believe the vast majority0tanalysts today get the fact that producing for production’s sake is not
appropriate. We hopefully realize each intlividual is ultimately responsible for each and every call and their decision could ultimately affect the very lives of the indiliduals using it. I would hope they would do their very best and ensure it is the most accurate infonnationlanalysis possib e. Bottom line if you are putting your name to it, don’t you want to make sure you get it right?

(Reader 3) Interesting thoughts, Lance.
Reminds me of the mix between bloggers and what they call “Developer Advocates” or what not in the software world. As
this whole Internet-hosted, “cloud” and Iaas/Paas/Saas thing has taken off, there’s a lot more direct interaction between a
company and an individual delevoper.
So where you previously had tech Journalists reporting at magazines like Dr. Dobbs, and then tech bloggers like
TechCrunch, ReadWriteWeb, etc, you nor also have people working at cloud hosting companies that write articles or
screencasts on what their company provides.
I guess they are technically marketing/sales folks, but they are similar to a cross between a journalist and an analyst in that they might not be a SME, but they aren’t teallY just offering quick/shallow news articles, either.
Personally, from my limited viewpoint, I itill don’t really care for this idea of news-reporting style analysis, where an
article comes, goes and never gets update1 or pointed to again and that’s where LivingJntcJ really seems like a great idea.
But I can definitely see the need for someone who acts a a go-between for analysts who are too busy/too involved to sit
and chat it out with others every day, or ate naturally better at quiet thinking and research, versus interviewing or
collaborating across issues.
That’s why I dropped out of my own journalism ideals back in college – trying to get people to talk to me was a pain (and
scared me), whereas messing with a computer was a whole lot easier.

(Reader 4) +1 to james. Saying analysts need to be more like journalists in order to incorporate more balance is like saying chocolate needs to be more like vanilla in order to be more chocolatey.

(Reader 5) It is my belief that most analysts are pret deep in terms of knowledge with respect to the subject matte’ they write on” Man, I would love to work where you work.

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It’s not about the tools or technology – It’s about the culture

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity, work with tags , , , , , on May 31, 2011 by Lance Strzok

DRAFT – asking for interaction and comments below – include your name with worthy comments and I’ll include your name in the contributing authors)

In pursuit of sincere and additive collaboration, we must understand what collaboration is, the value of achieving it, what factors effect it,  and how to set up conditions for a successful collaborative environment that are optimized for the product, and sustainable for the future.

Many of the conversations I have on getting people to adopt collaborative technologies are focused on improving the ease of use of a particular tool or service, how to link it to other tools, and improving how they interact with one another to put useful information in front of an end user.  It is believed that we will get more users to use it as a collaborative tool or service if it is more intuitive and fun.  We look at Facebook, and can talk about the numbers of users, ease of use, no users manual, and go on about its growth and the platform that it is for sharing information and maintaining situational awareness.  We labor under a false belief that if we could somehow make our tools and services that easy, than people would share more and collaborate more.  When in truth, we have been putting great collaborative tools and capabilities backed by leadership and guidance in front of our workforce for over a decade now and have only moderate gains in collaborative activity and the network effect to speak to.

Although amazing progress on tools and services have taken place, and are indeed important, I don’t believe that this is where the battle for the hearts and minds of our potential collaborators  is.  Rather, I believe that the value of collaboration, how much effort it takes, and the alignment of tools, services, and processes that optimize collaborative opportunities while simultaneously removing older systems and processes is essential to maximizing the various aspects of knowledge products.

This “build it and they will come” sentiment has taken us pretty far, but there is growing recognition that the tools and services alone are not getting us that much further down the path. Tool fatigue, and password overload as well as watching software come and go over the years has taken its toll on the willingness of the workforce to engage and learn new software tools to the point of people just saying – “No”. In addition to that, we have left the old, comfortable tools in place rather than burning the ship behind us, and forcing the use of new – uncomfortable,  processes and tools. This may well be another factor in why there has been only moderate gains over the last ten years in the methods and the numbers of collaboratively produced products.

Why do tools matter?

E-mail and client side authoring software like MS Word, are largely responsible for shaping our methods of collaborating to date, and they perpetuate an individualistic authoring environment and linear processes that are quite inefficient.  What is needed is to shift from tools that support very private, inefficient content creation that is linearly pushed through an editing model followed by a dissemination process, into tools and software that facilitate situational awareness of changes, and continuous engagement and monitoring options across the continuum of activity that is knowledge production, dissemination, and updating. One that is algorithmically involved with discovering, suggesting and notifying others with similar interests, responsibilities, or expertise, and helping to connect them.  In other words, implement processes and modify the existing suite of tools to enable personalization of an authoring / engagement environment that optimizes the desired collaborative activities that benefit the knowledge worker and the knowledge product.

What needs to change?

A sense of pride in what we can achieve over that of what any one individual can achieve on their own, and a stake in ownership of the knowledge products that bear our organizational name over that of a product that has any one individuals name.  A willingness to view all production from our workforce as something we are each individually accountable for, and that each item reflects our culture of excellence and is of the highest standards and quality.

Barriers to collaborative environment establishment?

Along with the modification of tools, processes and ownership in a brand, there is a longstanding perception of individual worth that is fostered by “putting people in a workplace and establishing incentives for competing, rather than sharing. We set up processes as barriers to creative thinking and learning along with policies that fail to accommodate how people actually work together” – (John B).  We also see individual names on knowledge products along side that of our organization, thereby crediting the product to the person, not the process or collaborative environment that has created a piece of work. This individual achievement is further encouraged by our organizational awards and recognition of individual efforts, many of which carry financial reward. This perpetuates the individual author over that of the community of interest authoring of knowledge products, and sends a clear signal to authors that is in opposition to the desired collaborative environment.

Recognition

It takes work

It takes time

It takes real thought, patience, courage and professionalism

Willingness to educate

Willingness to be honest

A sense of team

A firm understanding of and belief in the benefits of the collaborative process

It takes tools that support each of the above and are embedded in the process

Communications, incentives, training, and recognition need to convey and support the messages that support a collaborative environment

 

So what do we need to get comfortable with in order to optimize collaborative benefits and activities as individuals?

Collaboration, is not particularly easy, even in the best of environments where people are seated at the same table, given even footing to speak from, and with a common goal in mind for which their expertise has been selected. Yet, it bears good fruit, while improving understanding by all group members.  This isn’t what you would normally do, nor how you would normally do it, but you are going to go, and with good intention, represent the information you believe, and the viewpoints you have in the creation of a product that several people will be working on. You must be articulate and professional in arguing your viewpoint, or if during that professional discussion you change your view in light of new information, be willing to express how or why your viewpoint has changed. In the case where your view may not be represented, you should ensure that documentation of the fact of your discussion is incorporated into the record, so that others can see the viewpoints that are opposed were discussed, and remaining arguments are supported individually with sourcing.

In sitting down and chewing on Individual productivity and Team productivity, here is a list of things I am comparing:

Speed

Richness

Quality

Points of View

Agreements and Disagreements

Knowledge transfer

Signal to noise

Author/s

Outlier – repetitiveness

Quality vs experience

Chart of speed vs richness, quality, and number of collaborators

Contributing Authors: John Bordeaux,

Again, please feel free to share thoughts, this is a start, and will be finished in the next couple of days.

Thanks – Lance.

The Future of Writing at Work

Posted in Telecommute, Web2.0 Productivity, work with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2011 by Lance Strzok

As more and more people are writing and professing their opinions across more and more platforms of information sharing, one thing remains true across all of them – Content it King. Yep, what you say, its validity, conciseness and tone are all part of good content that will keep people coming back. In a world where people value every second of their time, if you can not provide that content consistently, then you can make it look pretty all you want, and tweak formats all day, but that won’t bring them back to read you again.

I suspect the future of writing in the office place will shift from Word and Open Office to open platforms where the words that you write are what is most important, and computers and editors will apply style, images and links to related content to enrich the content as a workflow process following its initial creation.

This makes the transportation and transformation of the words from one product into another so much easier, and style can be changed quickly and easily for past and future content. It is also easier to use and re-use it again in other products.

Think about it, how many times does the Word file you spend half an hour tweaking just so it looks right end up in several places and different platforms looking completely different? My own experience in this has lead me to writing in blogs, because it is just so easy to do. The files are small, transportable, accessible, open with a simple browser (no special or expensive software) and have some of them have built in spell checking as I write – not as a separate function. I can write from my desktop, laptop, phone, or TV and the content can be styled in any way I or someone else pleases. Not to mention that people can index it and discover it, as well as comment on it and share it with others quickly and easily. It also fits with my hope of where things will go in the future with regard to IT and work. Simple really, all I should need is an internet connection and a browser. Which is also why my recent work has been focused on browser wars and how they are doing against one another.

So to wrap things up, spend that extra half hour working on the content, collaborating with colleagues, checking your sources, and making your inner author voice shine through, and give a blog a chance – you might just come to like it for the same reasons I do.

-Lance.

Sharing my Screencasting Process

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity, work with tags , , , , , , on October 4, 2010 by Lance Strzok

1) Record screencast with CamStudio version 2.0 and the “CamStudio lossless codec” that can both be downloaded at the link provided.

2) Save as an AVI file from within Camstudio.

3) After capturing the screensession, open the file with Anyvideoconverter and save as an mp4 file.

4) Open with AVIdemux for editing and save as mp4.

(The Anyvideoconverter and AVIdemux sofware steps 3-4 can now be replaced with Freemake Video Converter  Which can do the conversion and is a nice editor.)

In a little more detail, (thanks Karen),

On a computer, open the software tool called CamStudio. This tool allows the user to take a screen capture an estimated thirty frames per second and also captures audio.
Open the software that is going to be demonstrated or open the target software, such as Microsoft Excel 2007 or Microsoft Word 2007

In CamStudio, configure the settings for optimal capture of the software activities, as in this particular case, the steps in how to use Microsoft Excel 2007 or Microsoft Word 2007.

After the optimization, start the recording and begin the software demonstration. (As a side note, if a mistake is made, do not stop recording. Pause yourself and take a deep breath.

Gather your thoughts and start again at a point just before you made the mistake.

When the demonstration is complete, press the stop button in CamStudio to stop the recording.

Save the file as it is as an AVI file.

Convert the AVI file into a manageable file size by using another software tool named “Any Video Converter” to convert the AVI file into a MP4 file. This conversion can reduce the file size by ten to twenty times its size.

After the conversion, open the MP4 file with another software tool named Avidemux, for editing.

Edit out any mistakes made in the recording and save the file as a MP4 file.

Close the MP4 file and open the canned introduction recording.

Append the recent software demonstration recording to the introduction recording.

Append the canned closing to the software demonstration recording.

Save the now merged three parts of the recording, (introduction, demonstration, closing) as one MP4 file.

Distribute the learning video to the appropriate site for others to view.

You must know-
How to use and configure CamStudio, “Any Video Converter”, and Avidemux
Have the knowledge on audio and video codec’s to properly configure the three software tools mentioned above.
Know the software activity or activities that are going to be demonstrated.

—-

If you want the exact settings I  use look here:  https://gstrzok.wordpress.com/2011/04/09/my-screencasti…s-and-software/

Cheers.

We can do better.

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , , , , on June 8, 2010 by Lance Strzok

No matter who you put in the DNI office, they have to be willing to address the changes that have to take place within agencies and analysts. The DNI has to be empowered to directly impact the budget of the agencies that he is trying to get to work together. Otherwise you can fire all the people you put in that seat and it won’t make a bit of difference. The public has to demand more from our leadership, and from our intelligence agencies.

To say I am disappointed would be an understatement. I am frankly disturbed with the current demonstrated lack of desire (not ability) for government agencies to truly collaborate on articles and issues regarding our national interests.

Family, friends, and fellow taxpayers deserve better from the Intelligence Community (IC) and government agencies that are sworn to guide and protect our great nation. Taxpayers pay taxes every year with the idea that the money they give to the government will be spent on programs that have well defined requirements, have little waste, and are realistic in scope and timeliness.

Watching the news we see glimpses of failures to recognize key information that was available across the various government agencies or agency databases that may have allowed a given atrocity to have been avoided. This followed by finger pointing and general denial of responsibility when something happens. I see databases at individual agencies that are created using government funds and then treated like they somehow belong to that agency. Rather then storing that information centrally where it can be searched, mashed, and relationships can be formed, they sit on servers within disparate agencies with the hope that access to those data can be logged and metrics can be made on how useful that database or information is so that a business case for its continued use can be justified. This of course inherently reduces its usefulness and timeliness and the ability for computer systems (that don’t sleep) to find relationships in mountains of data. Do agencies own their databases? Or did taxpayer dollars pay for them with the idea that they would be shared and used by all in an effort to protect our nation?

So put those mountains of data, (databases) in a central location where computers can apply artificial intelligence and pattern recognition on all of that data simultaneously and alert analysts to relationships that are found or that may exist with flags that denote a need for a given analyst to be granted access in order to find out the details of that relationship.

By moving the data into a shared environment, we can allow computers to find relationships and share those relationships and relevancy with the analysts that are interested in that information. We won’t have to rely on humans to detect it, and share it. You see, the sharing part of this is where I believe we are coming up short.

So why is it that sharing is so difficult within these communities? Well there are several reasons.

Policies – that state which organizations can share what with others, and also define the protection of databases and information.

History – of keeping secrets in the case of of the intelligence community. A long history of doing our best to keep secrets and protect databases of information under terms like “national security”, or “need to know”. These ideas served us well, but are they actually working? I would argue that they are not as effective as we may imagine, and that we may want to start to outpace our adversaries rather then spend so much time and effort trying to protect every bit of information so zealously. That is an entire debate that deserves another post all together.

Culture – where the people that know information seem to have more value and bring more value to an organization. Knowledge is power, and your pay is based on what you know and what you bring to the table. Rather then what you know and how you share it in ways that others can benefit from it. This continues to be a problem, fueled with a pay for performance system that (if done incorrectly) could lead to ever tighter lips when it comes to sharing.

In short, we will have to address the policies, historical vs current sharing ideology, and the culture of perceived value in knowledge sharing vs knowledge hording and the value that either idea brings to an organization.

Once we have the culture of appropriate sharing, shared situational awareness on items of interest within a community of interest, and technology supporting the sharing the awareness across unified data stores then we may see a more realistic environment for stopping future attempts at causing the US harm.

Another area ripe for improvement is where do we write about the things we know and understand?

Currently, each agency has its own process for vetting and releasing reports or products that get some sort of seal of approval (which just means it completed a vetting process that can be as shallow as one person deep). They also each have a production group, or division of folks that move these products through a process, then publish them to some server (again, may or may not be seachable or indexed). By the time the information has gone through the process, the information may be a little old, or been overcome by events. This group and process is intended to bring a sense of authority to the documents, and once the document or information has the command seal added, it is available to the rest of the consumers to apply to their problem set. These reports are now something that can be referenced and in some cases, only these documents can be used or referenced for making decisions with regard to acquisition. This is another area where we need to take a good look at policy and see if there is room for a joint product, not just agency products that can get a seal of approval.

The idea that the smartest people on any given topic exist in one building is just not realistic. acquisition communities should be able to find joint products that reflect what communities of interest have to say about the topic at hand. They should not have to be bound to one agencies opinion, but able to use the opinion of the members across the community that work that issue. Simply put, if I offered you a report by one agency that has 4 people that looked it over and contributed to it, and one that an entire community worked on collaboratively to create, which one would you choose?

So the question always comes up on the vetting process for these collaborative documents. What rigor is there? What process? How can the consumer know that a given product has any more or fewer errors then a product created by a single agency and put through their process? Put another way, how can we know that a product that had 15 contributors from across the community and was read by many more as it was being created is any more accurate for making decisions then one that is created by 4 people at a single agency that goes through that agencies process?

Bottom line, we need to demand that our Intelligence Community act more like a community than a group of competing agencies, and empower those that are trying to change the culture of collaboration and analysis from agency specific to that of one IC supporting decision makers. Not 16 agencies trying to tell their own version of the story. Huge change has to take place, and it won’t happen unless the public is demanding it. Otherwise, no matter who you put in the DNI’s chair, it won’t matter because the agencies can just wait him or her out and go on with business as usual. So empower the DNI to directly impact budgets, and force documentation of actual collaboration and proven steps of change with embedded liaisons. Make intelligence production occur in a collaborative space that is open to all of the people that work that issue and have the appropriate credentials to work with that information at the lowest level possible. Take production down to the analysts level, and have it created and published in an open, accessible, collaborative forum. Build communities of interest, foster and reward superior contributions and products that have the touch of many hands and minds.

These are real, and achievable steps that we can take to move us toward a more focused and efficient Intelligence apparatus.

Constructive comments always appreciated.

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.

Modern Production Expectations

Posted in Web2.0 Productivity with tags , , , , , on April 16, 2010 by Lance Strzok

So I recently missed two stops on the Metro as I began to refine the question into, “What should a modern day production system do?”

To lay out the general environment, let’s just say that there are many writers on many topics around the world that may want to contribute collaboratively to this system in an effort to make sure it is accurate and represents the collective knowledge on the subject at the time.

These are some things that I thought of:

* Web based
* Notify me when someone else is writing on a topic or interest of mine
* Show all new pages and/or trending topics
* Alert me when the product reaches milestones, is rejected, edited or approved
* Allow for comments by the person that rejected or approved the document as it went through the process
* I want to be able to define and change styles, fonts, headers, keywords, meta data, on single or groups of documents easily
* Low barrier to entry, edit and create documents or articles
* Flexible approval process that accommodates definable paths for approval if necessary
* Discoverable to all at all stages in the process
* Links to other tools and tells them when a product is started, completed or hit a milestone
* Delineate between significant and minor edits
* Be searchable in all stages of development
* Include what we knew and when we knew it in a record that can be traced
* Easy sourcing method embedded in the tool that links to actual sources or discussions of the source
* Include a feedback mechanism for completed products
* Easily moved, removed or replaced in its entirety (database)
* Easily backed up
* The ability to add keywords, categories or metadata at a later date to bulk groups of documents
* The ability to remove undesirable metadata
* Integrates with other tools and services easily
* For every non-minor change, prompt for a source, significance and classification
* For existing sources in the document, have them appear on a drop down for selection
* Notifications for all that subscribe by either email or real simple syndication (RSS)
* Links to contributing authors and a mechanism to view which authors created what material
* Link to other documents in the same or similar categories
* People that read this also read this…
* Accept, use or allow creation of templates for initial layout and article formats
* Images have their own link and can be shown or not shown as a user preference
* Be able to edit and watch edits being made in near real time color coded by author (etherpad like)
* Highlight text
* Color text
* Annotate during edit
* Easily export or transfer to xml, html, pdf, and opendocument formats
* Generate statistics on various aspects of the articles including which authors contributed and how much
* Generate a list of those people that are watching the product being made and those that read the article when it is completed
* Show where the document is in the review or approval process as it is defined
* Integrates with other new media tools
* Mouse roll over any text shows – classification, author, and source
* The ability to link to a section or paragraph by way of a URL
* Autobuild an outline or table of contents as the product is being made or within the template
* Search within an article
* Be searchable from other tools
* Automatic lat/long, location, and place name recognition for use with geographic selection of reporting
* Place for questions related to the document that can be watched by the contributors, and the other followers that may want answers to questions in the document
* Temporal recognition
* Easily embed graphics
* Text flows around graphics
* System finds and makes links to related documents based on metadata, and words within the document
* Selectable contributors (IC, Agency, COI, or specific Individuals)
* Single sign on, hooked into PKI and LDAP mechanisms
* Inexpensive
* Robust track changes
* Notification of changes
* Undo button
* Transparency of comments, and creation
* Discussion page for resolution of differences
* Classification roll up (Document classification is as high as any content within it)
* Dirty word check or links to a standard dirty word service that is updated by the community
* Spelling check and grammar check as you type

So tell me what else you would want your production system to do so that I can include them in future requirements.

Thanks for reading and commenting.