One of my fellow HP bloggers, Tom Hall, posed a question on my 200th Blog Post concerning how I use technology to increase productivity. Hall’s question led me to reflect upon my attempts to use technology to make not only myself, but also the people I work with, be more productive. The measures that have worked (and continue to yield sustainable, long-term returns) are those that stick to the basic principles of knowledge management and collaboration in today’s globalized environment.
Here are the top 5 measures that have worked best for me based upon my experience:
1. E-mail attachments. It is tempting to share an artifact by attaching it. Copy – Paste – Send. However, the first draft of an artifact is rarely the final version. Artifacts continue to evolve across multiple point-in-time versions. Therefore, it is most important to share the reference to the central location for the artifact rather than the artifact itself. Hence, URL references are more effective long-term than attachments.
2. Use metadata. Technologies to accommodate metadata that define the attributes of an artifact have matured. Diligent tracking of these attributes eases the search and retrieval of the artifact. It also facilitates the grouping, sorting and filtering of artifacts in more ways than one. Remember, information is one of the most valuable assets in your enterprise.
3. Meeting Logistics. Virtual meetings the norm today. Basic steps, such as providing the correct link to the virtual conference room, the phone number, the passcode in the meeting notice save minutes—and depending upon the number of attendees—hours. Using templates to facilitate systematic execution and dissemination streamlines this process, and could be a best practice.
4. Meeting Content. Providing references to the meeting objective, agenda, and shared content in meeting notices allows participants to jump into the discussion right away. These can be part of the meeting notice itself. In the event you have recurring meetings, this could be a rolling agenda maintained in a central location where the items are moved around based upon priority and time-sensitivity. Updates to the given entry in the central repository can serve as the minutes too! No additional e-mails. And remember, no attachments!
5. Discussion Boards. Discussion threads triggered by an e-mail blast can be captured automatically in centralized discussion boards. Opinions shared can be available long-term in these discussion boards rather than a subset of private mailboxes. Context-specific searches can yield nuggets of wisdom within these threads that will be readily retrievable. Done right, enterprises can have a growing “Wikipedia” of sorts, within their firewalls, in the context of their needs.
Such basic applications of technology have consistently yielded productivity returns for me. Individual benefits of speed and access through mobility, BYOD, wearable devices and flexible displays improve our overall quality of our own life as an individual. However, for a single person to be effective, their environment must be productive.
What has worked best for you? How have you applied technology to improve productivity? Has your organization considered extending tribal knowledge to an enterprise level? Please let me know.
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