|Research, training, consultancy and software to reduce IT costs|
Using technology to create structure
How can we use technology to support the evolution of structure?
Over the last couple of weeks I have been considering how, for all but the most routine work, it is wrong to impose too rigid a structure on the work before it starts, and that we need to accept that structure will evolve as the work proceeds.
There is a lot that technology can do to help. Computers are good at holding different deliverables, and make it easy for us to change and rearrange them to create the structures that we need. Although we take them for granted, office applications - such as word processors, spreadsheets, and project management software - are great tools for gradually building and refining our ideas. Collaboration tools, from simple file sharing and email to sophisticated platforms such as Microsoft Sharepoint, allow us to work together on shaping structure.
To explore this further, I thought I would go though some of the thoughts we have had on how to use Metrici Advisor to create structure. Although Advisor is ostensibly a tool for carrying out pre-defined assessments, most situations demand something more fluid. Often the idea of what we are assessing, the objectives, the materials, or the people involved, are not known before we start.
To help build structure, here are some of the things we have been doing to support our clients:
All of these help turn initial ideas into more formal structures. So far, however, this use of Advisor has been reactive, using the tool to overcome specific client problems. There is much more we could do proactively to support fluid and evolving fact-finding and analysis. For example:
These kinds of features help bring order and structure to the ill-defined and messy situations that exist in the real world, and this is a good direction of travel for any tool that supports fact-finding, consultancy and advisory activities. Of course, I do not know exactly what we need, but that, like everything else, will evolve as the work proceeds.Next: Client or server?
Minimal IT: research, training, consultancy and software to reduce IT costs.