Envisioning and shaping the future of work and business.

Friday, August 29, 2008

This week in links - week 35, 2008

"Google Moves to Mainstream RSS With A Simple Name Change" by Marshall Kirkpatrick, ReadWriteWeb:

For all its supposed simplicity, Really Simple Syndication or RSS has continued to confuse and intimidate millions of people online years after its introduction. What can be done to make RSS more mainstream? Google plans to roll out a small but simple feature that could go a long way. We wouldn't be surprised to see every blog publishing service follow suit.

"Follow this blog" is a clear call to action and those words will soon grace the header of every blog on Blogger.com around the web. When users click that link they'll be taken to either a tab on their Blogger dashboard, presumably if they have an account and are logged in, or be introduced to Google Reader, the company's RSS reader. It's a simple, brilliant plan and we wonder what took so long.

RSS is life and work changing technology. It's what makes an ecosystem of blogs possible by lowering the investment required by readers to follow and support a larger number of blogs than they would visit manually. It's what keeps those podcasts coming after you might have forgotten to download episode after episode. It makes search an ongoing practice instead of a one-off shot in the dark. RSS is huge, but the name alone intimidates many people who ought to be diving into it.

Same thing, different names. Might work.

"ROI for the knowledge worker is ROI for all, and how KM took an ironic approach" by John Tropea:

The old KM was not about people, it went for the knowledge as a separate thing, and knowledge as a separate act approach, where the participants really had no return on their contributions, and no self motiviation to want to participate. In essence this process didn’t blend with human nature at all.

Whereas the new KM is not really KM at all (considering the key to KM is sharing what’s in our heads), it’s not a separate act, it’s embedded into our regular routines. In an ecosystem where we are networked to people and we participate as we do our work, as well as the finished product of our work, there is no conscious effort to make sure you are sharing your know-how, it’s just happening from being, just like in the offline world.

And here’s the irony!

We now understand that a person has unique talent and know-how to bring to the business, and we rely on them exercising that know-how…compared to the machine-like view of industrial man (like they were a spare part that could be replaced).

But our original concept of knowledge management was still treating the knowledge worker as if they were a machine…old KM is industrial in it’s process.

Same name, different thing. We told you so.

"Improving collaboration for engineering teams" by Jari Koister:

Traditionally, software engineering teams are dependent on a few critical tools to function at all. The most important tool for software development is an efficient source control system. In addition, a team can hardly function without bug and issue tracking and project management support...//...Although these tools are necessary for an distributed engineering team to work, they are not sufficient.

These tools do not address the sharing of investigative information; questions and answers; resolution of design and requirements questions; and other types of information that is essential for everybody to feel involved and remove any impediments that they encounter. Neither do these base tools provide any sharing of knowledge or history within the organization.

The key here is to make information easy to find, and also to have the right mechanisms for enabling users to monitor and follow discussions. It must be easy for a manager to identify open questions and make sure they are addressed and resolved. As we work in an iterative and agile way, updating requirements, specifications and designs must be simple and ensure everyone is informed and can change their plans accordingly.


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