Leadership

Writing a Charter

Another post on the nuts and bolts of putting together business documents.

A charter or terms of reference (TOR) document outlines a basis for the exercise of authority by a group. The group may be an existing team, or specially formed for the purposes of fulfilling the charter or TOR.

Balanced Scorecards and KM

Knowledge Management is a discipline often accused of running programs whose success is essentially unmeasureable. This then leads to accusations of "not delivering value", and sometimes even the scaling down or elimination of KM programs within the organisation as another "failure".

Information and decisions

Tom Davenport makes an excellent point in his most recent post about the challenges of decision making:

We have lost much of the connection between the supply of information and the demand for it in decision-making. Despite the fact that companies often justify IT projects on the basis of better decisions, there is seldom a direct tie between the information a particular system produces and the decisions that are supposed to be based on it.

Picking incompetent managers

This article from FastCompany.com had my head nodding. In reality, most of them boil down to one of three categories:

  1. Avoiding change of the status quo
  2. Seeking a political advantage
  3. Inability to recognise what's important

Read the whole list. It's worth a look.

Writing Strategic Initiatives

Update: I'm now the Director and Principal Consultant at knowquestion, a specialist consulting firm in Information and Knowledge Management.

If you like what you read here today, please feel free to contact our firm to find out more about what we can do for you.

Okay, so you've written your strategy document and got it all signed off by management. Now the hard work begins.

12manage

They have re-organised the page on me, but I'm pretty sure that 12manage is the same web site that I've found, lost, found, lost and finally found again.

Essentially, it's a resource listing just about every management tool, technique, fad, and jargon under the sun. So if you've ever wanted to learn more about Business Process Re-engineering or Six Sigma, this is the place to start.

Signs of a failing project

An abbreviated version of the list from Bob Lewis's excellent column, Keep the Joint Running:

Goals The goals no longer make business sense
Scope The scope keeps expanding
Plan Tasks are "stuck" at 80%; tasks take over a month; or no task planning at all!
Optimism Project manager "hopes" everything is going well
No demo Can't produce a working demo by the appropriate point in the project
Testing Continuous testing and bug lists aren't shrinking
Team The team members want the project killed

Writing a strategy document

Update: I'm now the Director and Principal Consultant at knowquestion, a specialist consulting firm in Information and Knowledge Management.

If you like what you read here today, please feel free to contact our firm to find out more about what we can do for you.

Three types of consultant

  • Expert
    An expert brings domain-specific knowledge to the table which the company does not possess.
  • Facilitator
    A facilitator manages the processes required to effect change.
  • Doctor
    A doctor's primary role is to diagnose problems and prescribe appropriate solutions.

Or to put it another way, one type of consultant explains the "what?", the second manages the "how?", and the third diagnoses the "why?".

Suboptimize the parts - optimize the whole

My favourite saying about organizational effectiveness is:

"To optimize the whole you have to suboptimize the parts."

I've stolen this from Bob Lewis and although it sounds trite it covers a whole lot of assertions like:

  • organisations should capture knowledge locally to facilitate its reuse globally;
  • a benchmark is only as useful as what it actually measures (rather than claims to measure); and
  • money spent on training is more than repaid by productivity improvements.
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