I'm sometimes hitting a small snag when building pilots in Thingamy; actual workflow running engines where work flows seamlessly from person to person while all information and "tools" are delivered with the task:
"This is not how we're used to work! I'm not a farmer or fisherman that follows the weather or other outside instigators of activities! I am in control and like to fire up my apps and seek for information whenever I want - thank you very much. I grudgingly have to accept the "manager" but that's where I set the limit!"
What's referred to is how we've handled "knowledge work" since whenever:
With a new client onboard, a new idea on the table, project or problem to fix we created a folder. Literally, we took a fresh new cardboard folder and using a pen added the name of the client or idea or project to the back of it. The very organised even added colourful cardboard sheets with tabs to it and, using same pen, added names to the tabs.
Then we went about getting things done, choosing a dedicated project manager or client responsible who was the holder of the folder and who called for meetings where things were discussed and work was distributed.
Impertinent side-question: How many "Project Managers" do you think exists? And what actual work beyond doing sheepdog stuff do they do?
Add new technology (IT) and you can speed up everything (but no method change as such) - like the distribution of files (email), keep them all on one virtual table even if you're not in the same place (collaboration software) and avoid dusting blackboard erasers as the planning is now on your screen (project management/planning systems).
A typical individual "intuitive knowledge work process" would look more or less like this:
- Sit down at desk, read emails and get a new task or check rss feeder to see if "my files" have been worked on since last.
- Fire up some app; Word, Excel or some web based interface to collaboration - open file.
- Do your stuff, probably intercepted by a round of search and some coffee.
- Wrap it up, save and close "file".
- Fire up some other app and summarise, graphicalise and generally prettify what you've done lately into a "report", go to meeting and deliver.
- Rinse and repeat until "Project manager" says "huzzah" and offers drinks all around.
Habits feels safe but kills innovation.
In short, habits furthers nothing.