Monday Feb 21, 2011

SocialChat: A guide to closing down a project

Beethoven deafness posed a challenge to have fluent conversations with him. His trick was to use conversation books, where you had to write your part and he would then answer verbally. These books have survived until today, and provide insights into… well, we have to guess his part of the conversation. But anyway.

Although I am not deaf, I want to share one page of my socialchat-conversation book that contains just my tweets and not the tweets of my colleagues. The topic this week: A guide to closing down a project. You can read topdown, but might need to fill in some impulses from other participants. I hope it still makes sense. Enjoy!

BTW_ Beethoven finished all his symphonies - Schubert did not.

  • Discussion Point 1) Have you ever worked on a project after it has lost momentum?(eg lost a sponsor, or where it's obvious it's a dead end) How did you maintain morale?
  • The first part of the question is easy to answer: yes. I guess I have no problem with my motivation because I am always involved in several projects at the same time. If one project loses steam, I can refocus myself to work more in others.
  • Some projects don't have a sponsor. And they are not the worst. You really try to bring them forward b/c your are deeply convinced about what you are doing. Although, these are never the main projects but some smaller ones.
  • Moving onto Discussion Point 2) Any tips on how to close off the project? Has anyone successfully handed off a project to be supported by another org?
  • wiki documentation (always a good idea) and TOI presentations (transfer of information) to the engineering team, who takes over.
  • This is even more important if you hand-over to yourself in the future. Then you need to pick up the game maybe a year later without starting from scratch. I call this 'freezing a project'
  • A party is also a good idea to close a project in order to finish it and turn around the heads for the next one. Celebrate success, or have a postmortem to do it better next time.
  • you can call a postmortem also 'lessons learned'
  • There is an EOL (end of life) phase in the product life cycle.
  • 3) Has anyone any experience with the 'Wither on the vine' approach (eg Nokia is using this approach with Symbian)?
  • wither on the vine (British, American & Australian literary):= if something withers on the vine, it is destroyed very gradually, usually because no one does anything to help or support it
  • 'wither on the vine' does not sound like a good management style. More like the lack of good leadership. Wasting nerves, money, and losing customers.
  • You cannot ride a dead horse. It's dead already, stupid! Though, it needs some experience and stance to recognize such a situation, and courage to react accordingly.
  • well, if the systems continue to run fine... Do they have a migration plan for the customers and just need to 'entertain' their customers until the new system becomes available?
  • I do not know it it is done deliberately and consciously. But I think it is better to manage the expectation of the users&customers rather than having rumors spread by the competitors.
  • google for for 'software train wrecks'. e.g. 10 Signs Of Coming Software Train Wreck
  • And one for the road if you go off-track -- this is the presentation that I just had in mind -- Scott Berkun about Saving Design Train Wrecks 

Monday Dec 20, 2010

Sun Founders Panel 2006

I was a little concerned when I realized that a video has vanished from a Computer History Museum's page at the time when Sun's website was reorganized during the transition to Oracle. It was an intriguing panel with Sun founders and pioneers Andy Bechtolsheim, Bill Joy, Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy, and John Gage. Ironically I remember the quote

"Get them on tape before they die."

And if you have them on tape, keep the video up regardless of any changing situations; you are a museum! But here is the good news (thanks Oliver): The webcast is still available on YouTube. Enjoy!

Some quotes at A Tribute to Sun Miscrosystems: A Night to Remember

sun systemnews Jan 4, 2011:

Redundancy is sometimes the salvation of technology. Certainly in the case involving the supposed holdings of the Computer History Museum, without redundancy and YouTube, the Sun Microsystems Founders Panel (Bill Joy, Andy Bechtolsheim, Vinod Khosla, Scott McNealy and moderator John Gage) would have vanished forever since the video disappeared mysteriously from the museum's web site during the confusion around the reorganization reflecting Oracle's acquisition of Sun. Now, in all their glory, the founding four, courtesy of YouTube, share their personal stories of the early days at Sun.

Monday Dec 13, 2010

Sutherland on Leadership

Earlier this year Katy Dickinson published a video with Ivan Sutherland talking on Leadership. Here is the uncut version, or I should better say, the version without YouTube's silly 10' segments. Thanks to you, Katy, once again, for running the mentoring program at Sun.

The single best hour during all my years at Sun is this session: Ivan Sutherland's talk on leadership at SEED's annual meeting in October 2006. Ivan means a lot to me for several reasons. And now I had the opportunity to experience him live. What an exciting moment! Therefore I am extremely grateful to Katy Dickinson that she took my idea to make this public, and to Ivan that he gave his permission as well.

Ivan Sutherland on Leadership, Sun 2006 from mprove on Vimeo.

DIY Info: Flash and Video Download for Firefox to download the segments from YouTube > RichFLV to merge the segments > Perian to open FLVs in QuickTime > QuickTime to export .m4v > vimeo for re-publishing the video.
Update: Some segments lost their sound during QuickTime export and Vimeo upload. Therefore I had to figure out another way: Flash and Video Download for Firefox to download the segments from YouTube > FLV Crunch to convert from FLV to MP4 > iMovie to merge the MP4 segments > vimeo for re-publishing the video.

Friday Dec 03, 2010

SocialChat: Efficiency of E20

Efficiency of Enterprise 2.0 tools. This was the subject we discussed in our SocialChat today. Read my tweets below (top down):

  • Lack of efficiency in the (communication) tools can be frustrating and eventually lead to poor effectiveness & minimal creativity.
  • I see it this way: With a limited amount of energy and attention I want to work as much as possible in the effective&creative area. Spending my time in the basics, ie. finding my way to the info and people, is wasted for me and the company.
  • efficiency w/o effectiveness is useless. efficiency is about effort and speed. Effectiveness is about results.
  • E2.0 tools bear the potential to get faster into the results and solution corner of the spectrum. But only if there is a critical mass of people using the tools.
  • The more people who use and contribute the higher the effectiveness for all of us. If the tools cannot cope with the demand, then we have a happy problem to solve.
  • A "single social platform" definitely bears the advantage not to miss info&experts in dark branches of the intranet. At least all internal platforms need to be interconnected.
  • E2.0 tolls create a flexible communication structure by ignoring the company's org-chart. This is more efficient (and effective) than sending the info up the chain and down into another team.
  • If the tools live up the the promise you can even communicate with people you don't know upfront!
  • I was happy to see (when coming from Sun) that the corporate yellow pages use tags. But tagging is complicated and there is almost no positive feedback loop in place to harvest the advantages of tagging.
  • Tagging should be easy, as well as retrieving the clusters of knowledge and competence. I would like to see more efficiency to understand the swarm(!).
  • I set up a Connect group to aggregate (= get a combined feed) for a couple of Oracle forums. This is much more efficient than checking the forums manually or receiving updates via mail
  • My hope is that others follow my example, and that I can benefit from their cleverness regarding E2.0.
  • Do it anyway because we benefit. Be cool. Be fast. Be more efficient and effective. And BTW_ tell others about your way of getting the job done.

This is, what I just did. Hope you enjoyed this posting.

See also Benefit of Social Media in Corporates? by Sreya Dutta

Monday Aug 09, 2010

SocialChat on Learning in Meetings

Learning and meetings. How does this fit together? If you exclude status meetings, jour fixes and team meetings for a while then there is a chance. Read my contributions to a recent Oracle SocialChat on the subject.  I wonder what happens if I copy a stream of tweets here. Of course, it is still in reverse chronological order, and you have to read your way bottom up.

!yojne. elpmaxe rof tfel ot thgiR .esrow eb dluoc tI

  • Thanks you @aludding for facilitating the SocialChats.
  • Here is another example of an icebreaker that I used recently
  • … and a very good & open discussion in the afternoon. no Powerpoint the entire day.
  • I've conducted a 1-day think tank. Opening video. mood maps, collecting ideas, clustering and sorting…
  • You have to utilize other components to set the stage right for brainstorming & collaborative learning sessions.
  • If you just use Powerpoint to prepare a meeting then you are already lost.
  • Presenting is not learning. Preparing a presentation is. Attending a presentation might be.
  • Powerpoint is a bad tool for learning. It is even a mediocre tool for presentations!
  • On the other hand workshops and attending good (interactive) presentations can stimulate learning and aha! moments.
  • Team meetings and status meetings are not suited for learning.
  • Next steps might be follow-up meetings and formal prose in wikis.
  • This is the first step after the meeting to really get something. This is the best and fastest way I know to keep the energy level up.
  • A very simple and yet effective way to capture the results of a meeting is to take photos and put them on a blog.
  • 3) moderate the meeting 4) collect the findings for later use.
  • but you have to use the tool ¨meeting¨ correctly. 1) set the expectactions right 2) have the right set and mix of people
  • … learn new facts and new point of views and get to something that was beyond your own abilities.
  • A meeting is also a tool for learning and eventually drawing conclusions. You meet with people, exchange ideas,…
  • (Ha, OraTweets can be 256 characters long! So I have to break them up fro Twitter)
  • I'll share some of my OraTweets from the SocialChat #5 on Learning in Meetings…
  • The SocialChats are summarized and captured for later reference.
  • e.g. we had "Video conferencing – niche to have or needed?", "How can we give back to the community?", "How can we improve communication?"
  • Each Friday we have a one hour SocialChat in OraTweet. The topics are proposed and voted during the week.
  • Another idea to generate traffic and buzz for corporate microblogging are social gatherings.
  • Commenting on blogs creates OraTweets.
  • For instance status updates in OraTweet show up on your profile page in Connect (our internal Facebook)
  • One important factor for successful E20 microblogging is the integration with other social software.
  • Compared to Sweet at Sun OraTweet is actually used. How comes?
  • We have a corporate microblogging system at Oracle called OraTweet


« July 2016