Kanban rather than KM

While studying Lean in general and Kanban in particular (and making the same bias as the KM evangelists, i.e establishing relationships that may not be relevant between two disciplines I’m passionate about) I’ve noticed this common trait with Social Software.

By making the flow of work visible through actionable information, these simple tools lower the level of water and allow to surface deeply hidden organisation problems. One of the most common reason Kanban projects are aborted is because while they surface these problems, people think Kanban is broken and cannot work in their organisation.

While making information flowing through simple and not prescriptive systems, Social Software is pretty similar to Kanban in that respect. So rather than asking how can we tweak Social Software to adapt it to our organisation, maybe we should ask how can we use these tools as reagents to surface organisations hidden problems. Put in another way : ask “how can we use it to discover unknown problems” rather than “what problem does it fix”.

This adoption question also brings us to the more general issue of the growing contrast between the pace at which new technologies emerge and the pace at which organisations adopt them, but this will be the subject of another post.

Like Cecil, I’ve also considered the relationship between social software and “lean“. I think enabling lean work processes is a fundamental reason for using social software in the enterprise.

New report – Designing Mobile Apps: A Roadmap for Businesses

The report covers:

  • Key concepts about enterprise mobility and mobile apps.
  • The business context (including how mobile apps relate to intranets, training and social business).
  • How to identify user requirements and develop use cases.
  • A roadmap for developing mobile apps.
  • Case studies and examples of the approaches taken by Alcatel-lucent, Apache Corporations, King & Wood Mallesons, Woods Bagot and Zurich.

My new report is now available for pre-order from Ark Group.

Time, place and context for a mobile knowledge worker


Cross posted from the Headshift Asia Pacific blog, this is one in a series of diagrams I’m sharing from my forthcoming report on mobile apps for business. This diagram is an example of what I call a situational map, intended to help designers explore possible scenarios where mobile apps could be used. See the original post for further explanation.

Observations from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference

A few of the reports from the Enterprise 2.0 Conference this week included some interesting observations.

From NetworkWorld:

Past Enterprise 2.0 conferences have suffered from a lack of end-user case studies, but that didn’t seem to be the case this year. Many presentations were akin to business management seminars rather than technology discussions, with the technical nuts and bolts of the software selection and implementation process kept in the background or not mentioned at all.

Another strike against those claiming its all just rheotoric. The number of case studies is increasing.

Dan Keldsen writing in CMSWire about Nike’s presentation:

With a focus on what [Nike’s Director of Enterprise Collaboration, Richard Foo] calls “Performance Value” — focused not just on “the goals of the business” but also on those of the individual — a disconnect that I constantly have to fight in consulting work as well. There has to be value FOR EVERYONE if you are going to succeed these days, not just a self-serving, one-sided value statement.

You definitely have to answer the WIFM question at an individual, group and organisational level.

Also quoting Richard Foo, The BrainYard:

Foo said he values what he has learned from the Enterprise 2.0 conferences and from connections with other organizations pursuing similar goals. But researching what was going on within his own organization has proven just as important. “We’ve discovered several collaboration-type initiatives in the company,” he said, meaning “we’ve been spending millions of dollars on several redundant things.”

Don’t just look at what others are doing, look at what’s already happening inside your organisation.

In Techworld:

One overarching theme representatives from companies like Nike, American Airlines, FedEx and Virgin Media echoed was their use of social collaboration tools for more than just managing a Facebook or Twitter account: Collaboration tools are about driving more efficient internal business process and extending the reach and user experience of external customer engagements… The end-game, says Wells Fargo collaboration strategist Kelli Carlson-Jagersma, is to improve customer service. “We’re here to solve the customers’ needs,” she says. “These internal tools will help us do our customer-facing jobs.”

Social business is about inside and outside the organisation.


The bigger changes for adopting such technology, show speakers say, is around getting end user buy-in…

…[But] As part of [Virgin Media’s] annual survey this year, employees who were part of the initial pilot reported a seven-point bump in employee engagement compared to workers not in the pilot.

The challenge of organisational change doesn’t go away, but its well worth the effort.

Tony Byrne: Enterprise social software is not all the same

When evaluating [enterprise social software], it’s best not to create “checkbox RFPs” that allow vendors check off all the features they provide, Byrne said. Rather, ask how they address those requirements, seeking to tease out details on the differences between platforms. Focusing too much on software features is a mistake, when you really should be trying to identify a match for the specific types of collaboration you want to facilitate. For example, if your top priority was coordinating project teams, that might lead you to choose a different product than if your biggest need was to get knowledge workers at locations around the world networking and collaborating together.

I have to say I particularly agree with Tony Byrne’s message here. The issue he describes isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but rather something to be aware of. You need to look beyond the labels applied (like ‘enterprise social network’ or ‘enterprise wiki’) to particular products and actually look at how each are architected and the social experience design they support.

You do need a strategy for your enterprise social network, says Yammer


A great post from Stephen Danelutti at Yammer explaining why even if you use viral adoption as a catalyst to get started, you still need a strategy:

“The ease of use and virality of a platform like Yammer can be deceivingly simple and lead people to think that a deliberate strategy is not necessary. That’s a mistake, because without direction and an end goal in mind, the network will simply meander and fail to deliver business value.”