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.