Sunday, December 16, 2007

Web2.0 - Are The Inmates Back In Control?

An interesting post here by knowledge leader David Gurteen here in response to another thought leader's piece (Lee Bryant of Headshift fame) here.

Lee speaks of the risks associated with government IT Department potentially limiting the value of Web2.0 technologies by not embracing (in some capacity - not suggesting obviously a full circus) an agile development approach. David has made the comparison between these comments and the trends around Lotus Notes development many years ago.

Lee's quote (as isolated so well by David) below is something many have seen, or will see in the coming year:

"The same IT folks who rail about the "risks" of sharing and online social networking are also responsible for creating systems so unusable and inflexible that they lead users to dump entire databases onto CD and lose them. I think it is fair to argue that IT systems that do no understand people are a bigger risk than human-scale web computing that treats people as adults."

What is surprising is that in some rare cases, it is Knowledge Management "leaders" (not used in the sense of true leadership, but in reference to job titles) themselves who threaten the success of Web2.0 via their background, inexperience, lack of understanding (or fear) of new technologies, and/or simply the bad blood between KM and IT.

This reminds us of the classic "must read" text by Alan Cooper which everyone should be dusting off and reading again (The Inmates Are Running the Asylum: Why High-tech Products Drive Us Crazy and How to Restore the Sanity). This original text not only introduces goal directed design theory, but also the theory (simplified into nine words for this post) that IT development should not be run by IT developers.

As an FYI - when mentioning the lost CD, Lee is making reference to this story of the UK's Customs and Excise Department finally admitting that they had lost two CDs containing 25 million highly confidential Child Benefit records and the bank details of 7.25 million individual recipients.

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