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Have You Ever Been Beat Up By A Tiny Older Woman?

Have You Ever Been Beat Up By A Tiny Older Woman?

May 15, 2008 0 Comments

I have.

And, more recently than you might think. She had experience that I didn't and she knew how to use it. I didn't stand a chance.

Some of you know that my role on the Progress Actional product line is both external and internal. I spend a good amount of time evangelizing Actional and Service Management, but also trying to understand how to leverage community technologies to make the evangelizing easier and more permanent.

I'm trying to institutionalize the tribal knowledge Actional "elders" have learned so that the whole company benefits.

I came across an interesting article, "Now Everything Is Fragmented," just the other day on this topic. It really expressed the frustration here in the Progress Tribe, and in part the "old-school" vs. "new-school" thinking on the subject. You see, everyone wants best-practices, canned RFI answers, and even a single ROI model we can use to measure how much money Actional will save our prospects.

What they ask is easy, but, in my experience, marginally useful. Though, as I thought about this article, and my problem, I realize that I could look at two different personas - one for which this information is very helpful, and one for which it is not. People with experience, who can think, need stories. They take these stories, explore new situations and find they have what they need.

SOA What? Yeah - it's that time. And, to be honest. SOA not much! I haven't written in some time, and the article above really stuck with me. I let it run through my head on last night's swim, and this is what I got. I hope you find it interesting enough not to hate me.

But, there are a couple of generally useful take-aways, that I'd like to point out:

  1. Personas matter greatly, but only in the context of your goals. In my case, I listened to my users, applied my experience, and realized that two personas would greatly simplify my model. Looking at the world that way, I'm able to prioritize my objectives and address one persona or the other (or both), and be able to explain why I'm doing so. This helps me communicate throughout the organization way more effectively.
  2. Communities are about conversations. Sometimes the conversation is around content - like a best practice or ROI model - but sometimes it's about the story (experience). By nature, we're story tellers, and we need a way to capture those stories institutionally and need to train (and hire) people who can use them.

And, a final piece of advice...  This tribal knowledge, this experience, needs to be kept in the company. And, it needs to be nurtured. The people with the stories, these living databases, without them, the community not only falls apart, it simply ceases to exist. Students of knowledge, which I like to think of myself as one, know the value of experience and move mountains to get close to it.

david bressler

View all posts from david bressler on the Progress blog. Connect with us about all things application development and deployment, data integration and digital business.

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