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Martin Koser

Sig, while I fully agree that management science (sic!) is kind of dismal I am hesitant in following you all the way with processes and process frameworks.

This focus on orderly processes and frameworks is too much for me - see, modern business should rather think about how to implement and use flexible platforms for emergent processes. And here I hold that wikis (as one essential element of Enterprise 2.0) are much more than mere sandboxes ;) They allow for the emergence of structure as deemed fit by the people that use it. Granted, we'll have a hard time implementing workflows etc. in wikis, but it must not be a place void of structure.

To me Enterprise 2.0 holds great promise - especially for knowledge work processes that don't easily fit molds but evolve and are interpreted rather than automated (well, wasn't that your very own point with Barely Repeatable Processes et al. ?).

It all becomes clear when we understand Enterprise 2.0 not so much as a collection of tools - but as a multi-layered approach to business that incorporates (changed) paradigms, principles, methods and (yes, at last and least important) tools.

Martin _ frogpond



I think we differ in how we understand the terms "process" and "framework":

First - "orderly" process is jumping to conclusions, I merely say "process". And with process I simply mean sequence of tasks, something that can be quite "unordered": If a physician is studying an x-ray he will ponder and re-read the notes on the symptoms obtained earlier, perhaps ask you more questions then make a decision as to send you back for more x-rays, off to another expert, to plastering, to surgery. Hardly "orderly" that, but still very much a process.

The thing about a sequence is that it's dependent on the preceding task, not on the following task - humans are better than machines and that is why they're hired so why not let them make decisions?

For that there must be freedom to choose - as you say "emergence of structure as deemed fit by people" - why "structure"? Replace that word with "path" and we're aligned.

Second part is that by definition no process can exist unless there is a framework - but by all means that framework can be lodged in my head. That's the framework I'm using when doing the garden on a Saturday, enough by all means when working alone. Engaging the whole family I would have to start doling out work orders while keeping an eye on them. Expand that and the full organisational hierarchy starts emerging.

This will happen even in a wiki situation - the "emergence of a structure.." that you mentioned - because a framework is required and there are no alternatives we will always fall back to the learned framework.

Note also that the terms "process" and "framework" inevitably invokes images of something strict, orderly, structured. It does not have to be - look to nature and you'll find all processes having "loose" frameworks that allows on-the-spot changes to the path even if all is sequential.

Back to the Wiki: If I spot an idea that triggers my interest in a Wiki or in a newsgroup I'll want to do something about it, I even know what to do with it. So I throw myself at it, commenting and whatnot. Two things can happen:

1. I make lot of noise and nothing much happens, two days later I give up. This in my view as there is no ownership to that idea, I don't own it, the original poster is lukewarm, it dies. BTW, no ownership = no accountability either.

2. Wide interest is spurred and the participants calls for action. Next step is typical; a leader is chosen, and his task is to take it away and make decisions. He then will delegate tasks and on it goes as a "new structure" emerges - quite the same as the good old organisational hierarchy. With one single difference from the given corporate one, it emerges from the bottom up. But the moment the new leader starts delegating it has reversed to the top to bottom again.

What I'd like to see happen in that case would be a framework where I could choose to "pick up" the idea and take ownership, then send out for comments, get it back for more and so forth. And most important that this "other" framework allows all to see what is happening, recognise the new ownership and thus produce accountability.

Oops, this is getting long, I'll stop here for now :)

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This is very interesting blog . I just wanted to say thanks you for writing and giving your knowledge to such an informative helpful blog.
So thanks!

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