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On Wednesday, we launched a short three question survey about our social business channels, which will remain open until the end of March. We'd really love it if you took a few moments to answer at least two of the questions and help us gauge our efforts. And, if you feel so inclined, there is a third free text question where you can give us your unfiltered thoughts and suggestions.
We really do value any and all feedback. This is another chance to really help drive our success in this space by ensuring YOU get value out of it. But without feedback, we have no way to tell if you are indeed seeing value, or which bits of content are providing you with the most value.
The link above will take you to the survey as hosted by SurveyMonkey... of course if you came to this blog directly, you've already seen the pop-up version of the survey (if it wasn't blocked by your browser settings). We'll also be Tweeting and Facebooking about the survey over the remainder of the month as well... so, as the political joke goes: Vote early, Vote often! And thank you for your support
image credit: Some rights reserved by John Morton
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... to do the same.
Problem: Ineffectual meetings. Meetings that take longer than they should. Too many meetings. Meetings that consistently sound like this five minute video... "The Conference Call" by David Grady.
But what about those meetings you HAVE to attend just in case something comes up, or to stay informed about developments and progress on projects or programs? Easy. That is what wikis, discussion forums, blogs, and RSS feeds are for; staying informed when it matters!
Collaboration does not mean scheduling a one hour meeting. Collaboration can be done at any time of the day, regardless of your colleagues' availability. Using internal wikis, blogs, and discussion forums, you can not only collaborate more effectively and have written record of your progress, but you can do so across time zones and geographic boundaries. Using RSS feeds, you can keep an eye on any updates from a single location across communities and functional groups.
(Ooooooh, here comes the work plug! In the interest of transparency, yes, I work for IBM, and yes IBM owns Lotus. That said, I honestly -do- think the tooling I am about to discuss is effective and worthwhile, and I don't say that about much!)
Using Lotus Connections, you can build communities to support collaboration and reduce the number of "essential" meetings you attend. Because Lotus Connections has wiki, blogging, discussion, bookmarks, file storage, and many other capabilities, the online collaboration can take place at your discretion. Priority management can now be more effectively accomplished as you no longer need to balance those silly meetings with getting actual work done. And because Connections is built with RSS features, you can set up your feeds in the tool of your choice to stay up to date with all the items YOU care about and participate on your own terms.
While I use Lotus Connections for a wealth of reasons in IBM, I find the most beneficial part of it all is the RSS capabilities. The RSS feeds I watch for the various communities I participate in allow me to quickly glance at updates and determine if the information is something I need to focus on now, if it can wait, or if I need to pay attention to it at all. Information triage, as it were, in milliseconds. This has truly been the single most effective tool to combat information overload I have used to date.
So, now that you've divested your self from those ineffectual meetings... are driving the meetings you do attend with a new vigor and granular focus based on specific agenda items posted to your wiki (and updated later with details of the discussions)... and are globally collaborating with colleagues across time zones, what more can you do to reduce meetings and influence people? The answer: Work on your meeting etiquette.
Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way... and I'll say right up front, I have broken every single one of these at one time or another, so don't think I am throwing stones in a glass house here:
But don't take my word for it all... check out "The 22 minute meeting" a six minute iGNiTe video presentation by Nicole Steinbok. Here's the link to the instructional poster too. Nicole makes some stellar points via some very amusing fashions.
I truly hope this has given you some good tips, tricks, or tools to use to make your day to day job more effective and efficient. If for nothing else, I hope it gave you pause to think about what you can do as an individual to help make sure your meetings are run as crisp and concisely as possible, with few distractions, clear goals, and shorter run times. After all, if you can make a small difference, imagine what we can accomplish if we ALL make those small differences....
image credit: (cc) flickr user Ha-Wee
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Get on the KCS train! We've run the numbers, reviewed the data, and found the top support documents from last month. These are the docs which were most commonly reused over the course of our TSEs assisting with calls.
With our KCS (Knowledge centered support) ideals in mind, our reuse data tells us these docs should be of great benefit to you all.... We hope highlighting this content here will help you as well, and maybe even save you some time in resolving issues or finding the right answers...
image credit: flickr user Mike Miley
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This issue is being investigated by IBM Rational as a high priority and a fix for the Java we ship for our products will be made available. Updates will be made to this alert as new information becomes available.
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There are three new demonstration modules for IBM Rational BuildForge on the IBM Education Assistant for Rational website:
The IBM Education Assistant is a collection of multimedia educational modules designed to help you gain a better understanding of IBM software products and use them more effectively to meet your business requirements. Take a tour of IBM Education Assistant
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Use the IBM Rational ClearQuest Full-Text Search Administrator tool in ClearQuest version 7.1.1 and later to set up, configure, and administer the full-text search feature. From the Download Description:
This tool replaces existing full-text search tools such as cqtssetup.pl and cqtsdbcrawler.pl, which are included in ClearQuest 7.1.x. The tool hides the complexity and low-level details of setting up, configuring, and administering full-text search. Use the Rational ClearQuest Full-Text Search Administrator tool to run a set of command-line options from the server where the full-text search feature is installed.
Sounds great, right? Well go on, you can get it here: http
image credit: (cc) flickr user QuinnDombrowski
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Visits (2979)
This week, we asked Rational Support IBMers what tip or trick they'd like to share... below you'll find some great advice about global collaboration, using Lotus Notes and associate applications more effectively, and information on making Support Portal more effective for YOU!
First up is Wendy Page, an RCS Software Advisory Team manager, with some recommendations for collaborating with global teams. Wendy notes:
"When working with remote colleagues, especially in foreign labs, I take a couple of minutes to ask them about something in their locale before beginning a work conversation.
For instance, when I next talk to my CDL development team, I will ask them about their New Year's Holiday, whether they traveled to see family, what traditions they cele
Paula Cox, a Rational Client Programs manager, has some great tips for using tables in Lotus Notes:
In Lotus Notes (perhaps we can have a thread on JUST Notes tips)...two things have made everything easier.
Debra Johnson, another Rational Client Programs manager, has even more advice surrounding Lotus Notes:
One of the things in Lotus Notes Teamrooms, email, databases etc., that Paula Cox (thanks Paula- she is our Lotus Notes guru) taught our team was to use the 'shift' plus the 'minus' key to minimize the open documents. This helps if you need to find a category or event from the list. To use this function, click in the results, then press the 'shift' and 'minus' keys; it will collapse everything in that window to the highest level.
Lastly, our eSupport guru Pat O'Connor gives us some simple but highly effective tips on using the Support Portal:
For the IBM Support Portal:
So, there you have some great tips and tricks from the people who work with these tools, sites, and distributed teams every day... do YOU have any tips to share? Anything that you find makes your life a little easier or efficient? Work related or otherwise, we're all ears and eager to learn new ways to improve!
image credit: (cc) the incomparable flickr user AndyP UK
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Rational VoiCE India 2011 will be held on Wednesday, February 22, 2011 at the Leela Place Hotel.
To register and see a complete agenda, go here> Rational World Wide VoiCE Events-VoiCE Bangalore, India
To whet your appetite, here's a quick list of the tracks...
Want more info? Check out the more detailed session abstracts for these VoiCE tracks to be presented in Bangalore on February 22nd, 2011 (Additional information is available on the Private VoiCE community for those who have registered for this event). See instructions on this page for joining the VoiCE Community.
If you would like more information about these VoiCE events, please contact the VoiCE team at firstname.lastname@example.org
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Visits (2887)
Passion.... Joe Robinson recently wrote an interesting article on the topic over at the Huffington Post. In that article he posits that "Stocking up on positive events is important because we're usually in a losing battle against the negative avalanche barreling down on us from all sides." In the support world, we often see this exemplified, as we only get calls when there's an issue; no one calls us to tell us when products are working perfectly. I think Joe is on to something with his article, so rather than dwell on the problems sitting in our queues, let's talk a bit about our passions and what really gets us excited.
What ARE our passions in RCS? I'm glad you asked...
For Conny Postma, one of our Accelerated Value Specialists, passion is about her family: "I'm the proud mother of a teenage boy. My husband has been a stay-at-home father for most of the time." But that's not the whole of Conny's passion either as she goes on to note: "That gave me the opportunity my to pursue my other passion: working in Support! I really like to dive into technical issues, while at the same time talking and dealing with real human beings, also called clients and colleagues. But, also I'm very passionate about Astronomy: If time and weather allows I'm staring into the night sky and admiring the wonders of the stars and planets that surround us. That is such a peaceful and relaxing experience... "
Taking a different approach to the question, Kelly Smith, whom you all know as co-author of NFRS and overall knowledge activist, tells us her passions revolve around effective and open knowledge-sharing! She notes: "Email is where knowledge goes to die, says Bill French, and this blog post explains it much better than I ever could. In short, if you are providing an answer, that answer is best captured someplace it can easily be found and reused by others... and usually, that's not in your head or in your inbox. Worse, if it's in MY head, chances are that *I* won't even be able to find it when I need it again. Working smarter means not answering the same question over and over again... but providing the answer once where others can find it."
For myself, I find my passion in various places depending on what my life needs at any given moment. Sometimes I like to dive into a project that involves building or modifying something with my hands, like my latest kick to modify a vintage 1930's phone to a digital system functional for my day to day work. Other times, I have a driving need to create in a more artistic manner, which is where my love for photography comes into play. Even other times, I simply find passion and enjoyment from helping other people solve issues plaguing them; no surprise why I work in support on that one... but more than all, I find passion in writing; communicating thoughts and ideas to the world, be it in blog form, technical documentation, or just day to day correspondences. Of course if I just have to get away and clear my head, I hop on my motorcycle and ride off into the sunset... wheels on the ground, of course.
You've heard a few of ours, now we'd love to hear what -your- passions are. What drives your life beyond work? What passion keeps you coming back to work?
image credit: flickr user SanforaQ8
AcdntlPoet 2700019V2G Visits (2891)
There's no doubt that "social" is the new web. Over the past two years we saw businesses adopt social networking at an unprecedented pace. But what will this year bring in the social spaces? More particular, what role will social business play in software support in 2011? We posed that very question to Rational Client Support and found a myriad of ideas and opinions.
From one of our Rational System Architect and Modeling TSEs, Pritesh Patel, we get the high level view of social business: "The information highway has become a social gathering place where more and more people using it are being seduced by digital media. You no longer have to invite someone for a cuppa tea to have a chinwag and gossip. In support, we have a huge bucket full of data (gossip) that we share. We can now reach out to our clients and provide them with necessary information, which can then reverberate across our various social-business channels. All major organizations are using these tools to create a buzz and that's what we're doing also. We promote support and build a different kind of rapport with our clients."
Sumant Renukarya, a Rational Synergy and Change TSE follows on Pritesh's view with: "We already see a major shift in the way the information is spread, thanks to social networking. At support, the following points play a major role with social networking: social business provides quick access to the required information like specific product related installers, fixpacks, readmes, etc. Promoting events and hence better attendance. And it adds a personal touch with clients, developers, and support personnel."
One of RCS' Knowledge Managers, Phil Wall, points out that: "Social Media in 2011 needs to be more interactive. We have been serving up information, videos and education through our Notes From Rational Support, Twitter, and Facebook channels almost like how a Newspaper reports the news to subscribers. What will make our social business channels more interesting to our community in between relevant information sharing?"
And that, dear readers, is a great question. What will make our presence more interesting? I'll leave you with these two additional questions in hopes of finding out:
What do you think 2011 will hold for software support in social business? What would you like to see from us in these spaces?
image obtained from: flickr user Rosaura Ochoa, illustration by Gerardo Obieta