Culture change, collaberation and elephants

A colleague from the Novell European Support Centre sent me an interesting article from IBM research.

http://www.research.ibm.com/journal/sj/442/neus.pdf

Interesting in many respects – especially seeing the ‘team drawn elephant’ exercise brought into a discussion about collaberation methods.

The key piece that I was interested in was in the culture change required to bring about such changes in communication:

1. Keep it simple. We used a few simple methods in
assessment and intervention that were accessible
to the client’s employees. We did not overload
them with methodology or jargon.

2. Find passionate people. To drive change, you
need passion. You need people who understand
and are excited about the change.

3. Do the ‘‘emperor’s clothes’’ test on the organization.
Don’t require the novice to ask the
emperor’s advisor for permission to spread the
word about change.

4. Involve me, and I will understand. Cultural
change cannot be forced; it can only be facilitated.
Nothing is as powerful a teacher as firsthand
experience. We allowed people to experience
what open-source collaboration could mean
for them in their working environment.

5. Start small, grow fast. Start small with a limited
scope and the mission to solve a concrete
problem. Demonstrate value; then grow.

A really interesting idea – that may be difficult to implement in a corporate structure – is letting individuals find out about open-source collaberation for themselves.

I agree fully that to drive change you need passionate people; my open-ended response is ‘what happens if the enthused change-agents alienate the broader population?’

GroupWise Sequoia – and moving to Linux 100%

I’ve just upgraded to the latest Novell internal build of GroupWise Sequoia client on NLD – and it’s much improved.

Lots of small things in the Linux client have been fixed – and it seems a lot more responsive and less ‘crashy’ 🙂

Even small things like the startup parameters are now respected and work just great.

I moved my GroupWise caching mailbox across from Windows about six months ago – and went totally cold-turkey with Novell Linux Desktop. GroupWise was the one application that was making me wait. I was running a (ssssshhhhhh) unofficial build of the GroupWise Sequoia client; but now the 25 May 05 build is supported by Novells IS&T team I’m happier.

One tip I have is using ext3 rather than reiserfs as a production filesystem. I found that GroupWise caching mailboxes and reiserfs just don’t play well together.

I now use Novell Linux Desktop exclusively for my production laptop. I found that the IBM ThinkPad seems a lot more Linux friendly than my Dell Latitude.

So I’ve done it – I switched from Windows. Have you?

Is Blogging now a mainstream activity?

I’ve been collecting articles and information about how the blogging phenomena has started to change the relationship between Product Management and our customers. This is a more specific niche than how blogging is changing marketing for example – but still lots of data.

One article that caught my eye this morning was on the front page of CNN of all things. “Marketers Take A Shine to Blogs” basically stating that blogging is becoming mainstream. There is even the (now passe?) reference to ClueTrain Manifesto.

Continue reading “Is Blogging now a mainstream activity?”

Things you see on the train

(More catchup from last week – slightly delayed by events at the weekend)

I had to travel between Zuerich and Stuttgart on Thursday evening with John Mahon. We decided the best way to travel would be by train – so we took the DB ICE between the two cities – very relaxing, comfortable and a fraction of the cost of flying.

On the way just after we crossed the border between Switzerland and Germany we saw some old abandoned locomotives – late epoch steam and 60’s East German Diesel. Very eery – they were not preserved, but also weren’t in the decayed scrap stage either.


(Not my photo – but this is one of the locos we saw)

Now neither one of us would admit to being ‘an enthusiast’ 🙂 but I did note they were a lot of ex-DRG Class 52 sitting there rusting away. Google and some diligence on mapquest found me the answer.

It looks like this is a private collection at the Tuttlingen Railway Museum – and looking at the list there is a lot of rusting iron sitting on those sidings.

The Class 52 was built as a wartime workhorse – these engines are sixty years old – and most probably worked until the late 1960s across Eastern Germany.

Incredible to see these just sitting on sidings at the side of the main railway. It certainly made for an interesting conversation on the journey.

Smart Fun

Aside from being ill in Europe – there was time for a suitable amount of jolly fun.

Novell Zurich has a pool car – as you can see it’s ex-CTP – so it’s done a few miles.

Alan is a bit of a performance car man; while I’ve always wanted to drive a car that’s physically smaller than myself. I figured the result would be like the Shriners mini clown car.

Smart FunSmart FunSmart FunSmart FunSmart FunSmart FunSmart FunSmart Fun

Sick in England – the benefits of social healthcare

I was in Europe most of last week – visiting customers and having meetings in Bracknell, Duesseldorf, Zuerich and Stuttgart.

On Wednesday morning I woke up with a fever and felt really achy – I put this down to jetlag. I noticed that breathing was difficult and my side hurt like hell.

On Friday I flew back to the UK after meetings with a partner in Stuttgart; I was in pain before the flight; during the flight I slept, in pain and in a daze; when I got off the plane I felt like I was drowning and about to die. I got my rental car and drove to Nottingham where I went to the NHS walk-in clinic.

I was immediately seen and referred as an emergency to Queens Medical Center; I went to casualty (ER) and was admitted.

Turns out I had fluid and blood on my lungs; a partial collapsed lung; bacteria in my blood and atypical pneumonia. I was on intravenous antibiotics and was kept in for treatment.

I’m out now – but on a vast amount of antibiotics and painkillers.

The best part – it didn’t cost a penny. When the National Health Service works – it works very well.

London – early morning

I went out late with Alan and got the night bus back.

It’s amazing how alive London feels at 4am – the sun is starting to rise; the sky is lightening; people are still on the streets – either returning home or heading to work.

The one thing that struck me that was different from home in Utah was the ‘dawn chorus’ – just so many birds singing and contending for their own piece of space. There are certainly many birds at home; but they just don’t seem to sing their hearts out when the sun comes up.

That’s enough from early-morning London..

GroupWise client killer

My GroupWise client on the Novell Linux Desktop sometimes hangs – so I made a dirty little script to kill it. (Should be two lines of text in total for the script)

#!/bin/sh
ps ax|grep [b]in/groupwise|grep -v .sh|xargs –max-args=1|sed 1q|xargs kill -9

Paste this into a text file – say gwkill.sh; make it executable chmod +x gwkill.sh; maybe make a launcher shortcut on your toolbar.

Did this work for you?