3 responses to “It’s All About the People, Right?”

  1. Hariraj

    Very good perspective, often lost in the hype.

    Yes, typically planning on collaboration has to include ‘initiating’,’driving’ or ‘sustaining’ the change in culture. Translating this into ‘hard speak’ (better digested by engineers like me) involves delving into organizational change management. In this realm, we have concrete methods and management techniques to implement the changes to these “loaded terms” as you call it.

  2. Kevin Smith

    This article is 100% right on the money. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve done a demo for a potential client and realized less than 10 minutes in – this will never work for them. They don’t have the drive to use this (or probably any) tool to support an influence their culture.

    When I ran a large organization a few years ago, we had a great enterprise app that we built in-house and used for managing work, but that wasn’t our secret weapon. The secret was what we called our “Guiding Principles” – things like “reach left and reach right,” “no surprises,” etc. In combination with the tools we had, this was a very powerful combination. In fact, we didn’t miss a single project date in 16 quarters.

    But, too many businesses look at “Enterprise 2.0” applications as something that will automagically make them more collaborative, more responsive, and more innovative. Bullshit. Any app from any vendor is only as good as the culture that drives how the app will be used. The best app in the world in a culture that doesn’t promote the assumed attributes you mentioned will be a dismal failure. Even with the “platinum support” package…

  3. John Doe

    I work for a large internet company that has unfortunately only ended up with “little more than wikis, databases, and open work spaces at the end of it all” while constantly pushing everything exactly as you’ve listed above. It really does come down to the people in charge. I see people in groups where managers are more hands off and the culture is generally more loose, but I personally experience micromanagement from a classically old-school “boss”. Ironically, this is new to me as I am in my early thirties and did not experience this in any prior jobs at other similar companies. So yes- it really is about the people inside too. Unfortunately some managers see collaboration and sharing principles (when applied inside the corporation) as giving too much voice to the peons; they would much prefer to be the authoritarian who then gets the credit from higher on up the ladder. On the other hand, my experience is that these same types also champion their people a bit more (at least if you’re on their good side)- so while the flat hierarchies feel great day to day, there seems to be more of an every-person-for-themselves vibe when it comes to attempts to shape a career path within an organization.