Ed Taekema - Road Warrior Collaboration 22.11.2003

November 2003
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A blog looking at business communication, knowledge management, scripting tools, OS technology news and other things of interest to mobile tech workers. As I find interesting news this will also contain pointers to thoughts related to configuration managment, change management and general software development.

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Status reports in the knowledge based enterprise

Here is a fantastic catch by McGees Musings. Rand has put some thinking into how to fix status reports ... using social software. He does a quick look at whether a wiki would help, but settles on the conclusion that blogs are a better match. I agree. Infact, I have been modelling this in my organization for the last few months. Here are some thoughts I have on how it has worked so far.

  1. Very Public Status Reports - Using a blog for status information means that the readership is pretty wide open. Your status report just doesn't go to your manager, but to your peers and perhaps others. This is a good thing and has resulted in more people making use of the status report.

  2. Its like people watching you work - Public status blogs means that others can watch over your shoulder. In my case as a field consultant it means that R&D people can get a feeling for a day in the life of a field consultant by just keeping tabs on what I am doing. Also there is lots of opportunity to help new people get up to speed faster. Reading my status blog they can see how I approach problems, ask questions, get clarifications, learn new techniques, challenge my approach, etc.

  3. Having my status information in a blog makes it more available to me... its been much more useful to me in a blog than if it were buried in a word/excel pile.

  4. Writing my status in a blog is easier for me. Perhaps its just the blog format or that I am beginning to feel comfortable doing things this way ... but status reporting gets lots easier.

  5. Resistance to blogging status from management seems to be that they can't filter it. I think this might be because it tends to be daily focused vs. weekly and summarized.

So, has it worked for me? Well, I still need to produce actual weekly status reports outside of my blog. This is because I need to deliver them to clients who can't access the internal blog. Also, not all of management has really 'got' blogging status reports. So for now I am duplicating somewhat and producing a status report using the blog as the source for the material. Not as bad as it sounds. Copy and paste is my friend :-) I have noticed that the quality of these weekly reports has gotten much better since switching to a blogged daily status pattern.

The thing I have wondered about is that my status blogging tends to be daily focused. It makes it easier to go back and track my work on a given client site if I do this. At the end of week, I produce a rolled up weekly status report that draws on what I've put on my blog all week. If this kind of aggregation could be automated it might make this work better. I can see my management having something like an internal feedster portal page that automatically aggregated things into a team/mobblog aggregated blog.

Anyway, I think that blogging is where this kind of thing needs to go. I'll keep doing this for a while. I am curious to see if others start reading who would not normally read status reports. It is the horizontal communication that I really want to spark.

Source: McGees Musings
posted at 01:46:24    #
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