Last week I had the opportunity to attend a workshop that every Business Process Management practitioner should be present in order to set you free from bias, prejudice and noise. The conference User Modeling, Adaptation and Personalization held in Spain and next year will be in Canada.
The workshop I attend ASTC: Adaptive Support for Team Collaboration, covered important research topics like:
- Team formation for research
- User Modelling
Nowadays, these topics are in every BPM mouth, blog, twitter message, regarding social BPM, ACM, whatsoever.
I have experience as a project manager that when coordinating people in big projects and specially in crisis management, that:
As a manager, a project manager, a head of a business unit you cannot impose knowledge workers rules to execute work, because knowledge workers take plenty of time to understand how to comply with it rather that perform the work someone assigned instead. You need to spend time to coordinate and join the right team to achieve the outcome or resolve the problem.
Curiously this is one the first conclusions from this workshop, and you should made a serious reflection about it instead of wasting time looking to ACM, Social, call what you want, methods/ software/ architectures /visions / frameworks.
Jim Sinur’s latest update about Social BPM alerted to the perils:
A number of folks think Social BPM is adding some nice interfaces with social software only
Gloria Mark keynote: An activity awareness visualization approach supporting context resumption in collaboration environments, brought some important aspects regarding how knowledge workers behave, interact and how it must be sparked and coordinated in order to achieve outcomes. Gloria presented it’s ideas based on experience working with Boeing and NASA and other dynamic and stressful business contexts. I’m aligned with the conclusions and I have a bitter feeling about Social BPM and ACM, like this outburst – Plato’s cave.
Now, switch off the system stuff (the case, the data, dynamic, unstructured, ad-hoc, adaptation, flexibility, scada). The challenges that must be addressed are:
- Different dimensions of distance
- Activity awareness
- Supporting social arrangements
Different dimensions of distance:
There are some distances category to look for:
Language: machine translation does not work
Time zone: impact on work progress
Contextual: some teams “start” working on the same page after learning business language and environment.
- Cultural: The typical Spanish approach vs Portuguese. Spanish finish everything next day, Portuguese start working at 7pm and finish work at 2am next day.
- Contextual: It can take 1 day or months to a team speak the same language but in the first case, if you have 4 hours to accomplish something, 1/4 of the available time is already burned.
Articulation is the way to make it work. To foster goal achievement, to eliminate barriers that block collaboration.
You can argue: “It can’t be denied! ACM software enables articulation”. Are you sure about this?
I remember in a crisis situation the team I was coordinating was all together around a table, papers where all over the place, flip-charts sheets were being written, there was no time to document anything. Time was spent discussing solutions, making impact analysis. looking to results. If info was to be share among all the team it was sent to a big screen.
If communication tools are so intelligent, why the fail to become effective when time is come to use it?
Methods are deeply embedded within team cultures, how can systems be so smart to adapt to cultural differences?
You cannot tell someone to archive a document using a special code, tag or folder. Just let the person to create the content.
Content/workflow systems can be user friendly and allow users to take control the interface, but they don’t have time to learn how to interact and on every project they participate, also due to the fact they change everytime.
People need to access to data to think and for reasoning purposes. They cannot waste time writing/structuring the tasks. They need to have their minds free to achieve results.
Don’t impose. People won’t obey.
This is all about how people interact and the medium used to communicate. Lot’s features that can be used in a ACM system right?
Good quality audio is critical.
Surprised? This means:
- It’s not so important to enable document/flow/e-mail/data sharing.
- It’s not so important video capabilities.
Video is important for presence sensation and awareness but is annoying distracting. Video does not support dynamic team coordination.
Supporting social arrangements
It’s all about how you gather a team , manage interactions, distribute the tasks, erase the alarms and set clearly the outcome. It’s not about project management. It’s about human socialization and have the right persons performing the tasks.