Just a quick note to let you know that I have accepted a new role in IBM, still focused on collaboration, communities, and knowledge-sharing, but outside of Rational Client Support.
It's been a great ride, and I'm looking forward to new opportunities and challenges. Notes from Rational Support is going strong and I leave you in the Most Capable Hands of my Wonder Twin, Jason O'Donnell and the growing cadre of bloggers in Rational Client Support.
They, and everyone else at Rational Client Support, inspire me every single day with their dedication and passion for client success. You've got a great bunch of people to work with.
It has been my pleasure and joy to share knowledge with you here, and I hope we have been able to make a difference for you. So, of course, consider this one last plea for feedback from me. If you have found this blog to be of value to you over the past several years, a quick comment would be greatly appreciated.
As always, you can find me on t'internets as kellypuffs. (And hopefully, Jason will let me come back with the odd guest post now and then
* Jason's Editorial Note:
As you may have already noted, we are also adding other post authors to our growing list of contributors (it takes a lot of people to replace Kelly!), and will continue with this trend to make sure the blog here remains a solid and valuable resource for our clients and other IBMers as well. It is our commitment to take Kelly's work here and carry on the ideals she set forth when she began this blog: open, transparent, and authentic communication and collaboration for mutual success.
So we've got six weeks of the Working Outside the Inbox under our belts. The first five weeks were GREAT. We saw steady declines in our inboxes, and in the amount of mail we had to send out, and the proportion of good mail (per
Things were looking good for our fearless adventurers and we were riding the wave. Cowabunga!
Week 6? Not so much.
Which makes for a good blog topic. What about those speed bumps?
Sometimes, it all starts with one email. I'm sure you ALL have been there. One individual sends an email to a very wide recipient list. The recipients start replying .... to ALL. After a while, more folks chime in, either with their take on the situation or begging people to take the discussion elsewhere. Some of the other people on the email thread .. their heads (and their inboxes) are exploding. Several requests to move the email thread to a discussion forum prove fruitless, and there you go.
Or, you might be working on a sensitive project that is not suitable for sharing, or are dealing with an executive request (also not suitable for sharing). Sometimes email IS the best solution.
Perhaps you are working an urgent issue/project with people who are far outside your group, and driving them to a more collaborative solution is just not possible at this time. That's ok too.
Repeat after me, one more time: Change is hard.
This isn't a sprint, it's a marathon. There will be speed bumps and there will be weeks that go better than others. And that's OK.
Don't get discouraged, keep on keeping on, and even when things are going pear-shaped, look for the wins. You might have a huge email thread going on, but you've also got a lot more people than ever before realizing that it's not the best way. And what about all those other wins you've realized ... use cases identified, patterns adopted. There's good stuff happening - a lot of it.
And remember, each speed bump is just another opportunity to model a better, a SMARTER way of working.
Well, your intrepid adventurers have 3 days of Working Outside the Inbox under our belts and I thought this a would be a good time to discuss in a little more depth about how we are doing this.
Lets start with Step 1: Stop replying to email. This step would really be more accurately described as Mindful Processing of Email but that doesn't sound nearly as provocative and attention-grabbing, and wouldn't make nearly so many people's heads explode, which wouldn't be nearly as much fun.
So listen: this is what we are really doing.
Think of this as stopping the reflexive knee-jerk reaction of working in your inbox, simply reading and replying. We've all become very well trained by our inboxes: receive an email, send an email. Read your incoming email and then...
Stop. Think. Ask yourself a few questions along these lines:
Change begins with us (and you!)
Here are some wild and crazy ideas on how you can work effectively and openly and without being chained to your inbox:
Use the content repository or content management system of your choice as long as it's NOT YOUR MACHINE. Don't become the bottleneck, or the single point of failure. Put your stuff where people can find it and get it. When people email and ask you for that information, give them a link to the information where you've posted it.
Use wiki pages for knowledge capture and on-demand access. One example, instead of keeping your project status or metrics in a spreadsheet on your machine, think open and transparent and provide that data on a wiki page. if your manager expects a weekly status report, put it there.
discussion forums for collaboration, idea sharing and brai
Use the community blog for news, announcements, and community-wide communications. Why blog? To take advantage of all the technology that allows us to share knowledge more widely ... tags, RSS feeds, aggregators, search.... the list goes on. Rather than sending an 800mg email that immediately plunges 20% of your unsuspecting audience into "mail jail", try blogging your news. Oh, the 80% who aren't in mail jail? I posit that 40% will not read it anyway, either deliberately or by accident when it scrolls "below the fold" amidst a barrage of other people sending news, asking questions, and, worst of all, sharing files.
Besides, I bet a couple of weeks from now, someone's going to ask you for the information again anyway.
Speaking of sharing files.... There are better ways. Instead of mailing a slide deck to 10 people for review and comments, use Connections and if you MUST send an email, send a link to where you have posted the file (or the wiki page from which you are working) so that it can benefit the greatest number of people, who can then bookmark it / subscribe to it / grab the RSS feed, or otherwise self-serve when they need the information. Which means the doc owner doesn't need to send the updated file out to a cast of thousands either.
Oh, it all just makes so much SENSE.
So no, we're not giving up email entirely, and there will be times that we will (gasp!) send an email. We're just going to be mindful in our work and aim to get the maximum value from each interaction.
So, stop and think.
Just because a conversation starts in email doesn't mean it belongs there.
kellypuffs 06000168YK Visits (2630)
Hello there! @kellypuffs here. Jason has kindly invited me to guest-post, and I just wanted to share a fun little haiku deck I put together, riffing off a great article that appeared in Social Media Today, in which the author reminds us that the same simple rules we live by also apply to social media.
Enjoy and happy Friday!
Editor's Note: If you will be at IBM Innovate 2013 next week, stop by the Social Playground where both Kelly and Jason will be hanging out and helping to answer questions about social business involvement. We'd love to meet you in person and have real-life conversations!
kellypuffs 06000168YK Visits (2264)
Read a great article in the NY Times this week about the perils of being always connected: Silicon Valley says "Step away from the device".
As much as I love love LOVE the interconnectedness that this new technology allows us, I too find I need to unplug in order to recharge and reconnect with the real world around me. I spend the vast majority of my waking hours during the week interacting with the world via laptop, tablet and smartphone, working out loud. I could easily spend all weekend sitting in front of these devices too, so I find I need to make a conscious effort not to do so.
Like some of the others interviewed in this story, I find I need to balance this connectedness with "me" time on the weekend: family time, meditation, art, writing, playing music, and puttering. I screen my calls and enjoy the peace and quiet. Time to reflect on what I've learned and done over the past week. Time to breathe deep. This is made much easier by the fact that I am an introvert by nature. I'm not afraid of spending time in my own head.
Todd Henry, author of the Accidental Creative, talks about Unnecessary Creating, which is one of my favorite ways to digitally detox. Give me a coloring book and LOTS of colorful markers and I can lose myself for hours. I've also been teaching myself to write Tengwar, which is totally unnecessary, but so much fun. Yes, I am a geek.
Again, perspective and mindfulness are wonderful things. Don't let yourself become uni-dimensional. Although it may be hard to believe, here is a LOT more to the world (and life) than can be found on t'interwebs.