Friday, November 6, 2009

Silence is Golden

Was on a call with a group of directors reviewing a presentation for some set of functionality to be delivered and the discussion was heated and lively. At one point I IM'ed the technical lead and asked what she thought - she'd been pretty quiet. She sent back: with so many geniuses on the phone, I don't think I'd have anything of value to add ;-)

You know, the temptation is very high to jump in and share your mind. but sometimes it's just better to be quiet.

Watch the Scope: Who Can See What

When using or deploying a social networking application, it's very important to ask the question: who can see what. We deployed an items of interest reporting tool where each report was made up of individual activities. That was cool because the tool allowed users to search and tag individual activities. But most people come from a back ground where these IOI reports are private to the group that reads them or the person the reports are submitted to. So, they just assumed that the activities in this new tool did the same thing. Not so. Everyone could see the activities.

So when deploying a tool, ask the question: given each object the tool manages: wiki's, blogs, documents, activities, bookmarks, etc - who can see what by default. In today's social networking tools the bias is to make everything as accessible as possible. However, most users in the enterprise have been using tools that are closed by default. That's a very big change and can create some serious problems.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Don't Ignore the Auditor

Every large organization has auditors who monitor the software development process - what work products will you create, how will you capture approvals, how are changes documented, etc. In the midst of the battle, these guys will seem like a waste of time - picking at this and that when you've got WAY bigger issues to solve. The temptation is to ignore them.

The problem is that they've usually got the ear of someone higher up - and usually it's the whole reporting chain between you and that higher up. They have the ear and aren't afraid to use it, even for trivial issues. You may think it's a waste of the higher up's time and yours, but there it is. You'll just have to suck it up and do it. Don't hesitate to delegate these kinds of tasks. Their usually not hard (exactly the reason you hang on to them).

Pain in the neck? You bet. Waste of time? Probably. But you need to stay off the radar