2.0 | Lessons Learnt

The recent proliferation of the term ‘2.0’ across almost every domain leaves me with a few questions as my research approaches completion. What is the big deal with ‘2.0’? Why has it suddenly become so important to re-invent so many processes that have been around for ages? Have we gone too far with extending this trend?

Following this, I want to see just how far the term has changed the way we look at traditional processes. As it turns out Web 2.0, Enterprise 2.0, Health 2.0, Government 2.0, Marketing 2.0, Bank 2.0, Classroom 2.0, Travel 2.0, Identity 2.0, Library 2.0, and Human 2.0 are just some of the trends in this ubiquitous paradigm-shift that has seen us question some of the most fundamental assumptions that have persisted for as long as we have experienced these domains. If you’re wondering what the big deal is, let me try to put this into context.

This decade has witnessed a phenomenal adoption of Agile Software Development processes; certainly Scrum, XP and even basic iterative practices have been around for longer, but the fact remains that this decade has certainly witnessed a tremendous adoption of Agile SD. What makes this relevant to the ‘2.0 movement’ is the basic fact that they have both required significant changes in the way we evaluate processes, with a much higher comfort level towards change. This is perhaps why so many 2.0 initiatives are best run iteratively, in small incremental steps which are more comfortable with an experiment-first-evaluate-later model.

However, it is easy to get carried away with the apparent ease of deploying open source web 2.0 platforms to fit perceived business objectives. In a lot of cases, 2.0 initiatives appear to present the classic situation of a ‘solution looking for a problem’. Research shows that the best approach to experimenting with 2.0 initiatives is to focus on the correct sequence of priorities.

1.       Start at the people. Whether it’s your employees or your customers, they are at the core of your business. Every quantifiable benefit of a 2.0 initiative can be traced back to the actual people it affects.

2.       Then look at the information. Once you figure out the ‘who’, then focus on the ‘what’. What information/data/knowledge is best suited for collaborative consumption?

3.       Finally, work with the technologies. Now you’re ready to get into the whole debate of open-source vs. premium platforms and how you are going to inject these platforms into your existing Enterprise Architecture.

I’d like to propose what I feel is the best approach to experimentation with 2.0 initiatives. From a famous talk by Sir Ken Robinson, ‘School Kill Creativity’:

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you will never come up with anything original.”


..Robinson, K. 2006. Do Schools Kill Creativity? Retrieved September 29, 2010 from http://www.ted.com/talks/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

Enterprise 2.0 Case Studies

The benefits of implementing Enterprise 2.0 are innumerable with more organizations looking to invest in what is arguably the best method of unlocking the tacit knowledge of employees. However, successful Enterprise 2.0 initiatives require business models that are customizable and as radical as the concept, itself. The Wikinomics Model is widely hailed as a dependable set of Enterprise 2.0 principles. It includes the 4 simple concepts of Peering, Being open, Sharing & Acting Global. The following case studies will help highlight this better.

citrix with movabletype

Citrix is a world leader in Remote Desktop Access (RDA), Web Conferencing and Cloud Computing services with products such as GoToMyPC®, GoToAssist®, GoToMeeting®, etc. With record employee growth in recent years, managing the tacit knowledge of employees was fast becoming a challenge for Citrix; a tool that could serve as a single Knowledge Management repository might possibly be the way ahead. Sufficient research by Citrix led them to the perfect solution – Movable Type, an open source, Enterprise 2.0 service. Movable Type enabled Citrix Online to create an internal blogging platform and also provided support for its secure LDAP integration, which was a critical success factor for procurement. This directly enabled peering within Citrix Online by integrating its massive employee base and legacy LDAP systems with the new service, driving easy enterprise-wide adoption. Citrix Online was also looking for an open, web based solution from the start, which could therefore be platform independent and feature rich. The success of the initial deployment led Citrix Online to share the service, enterprise wide. This deployment has enabled Citrix to compete in a global environment by investing in a powerful knowledge management system, which protects the intellectual capital of the company.

socialtext with emergentsolutions

Emergent Solutions is a global consulting firm specializing in leadership and strategy consulting. Relying on a team with specialist consulting and subject matter expertise distributed worldwide, it is little surprise that as the organization expanded, the need to ‘Harness Collective Intelligence’ assumed strategic importance. Christine Cavanaugh-Simmons (Founder & Managing Partner, Emergent Solutions) was quick to envisage the potential benefits of deploying Socialtext as both – a knowledge management solution for consultants and a highly effective service delivery platform between consultants and clients. To enable peering, a Socialtext Workplace was setup to allow consultants/coaches to host project information and collaborate through the service delivery effort. This – essentially – facilitated collaboration not just internally, but also externally with clients. In addition to this, internal communities were setup to enable social networking targeted at ‘lessons learnt’ through consulting projects. Sharing the content and project experiences openly helps foster a feeling of team spirit which enhances productivity. Emergent Solutions currently establishes individual Socialtext Workplaces for all its customers, globally. Emergent Solutions also deployed Socialtext Signals – an Enterprise Microblogging solution from Socialtext – to share project updates and news as well as customer successes. These lessons learnt have helped Emergent Solutions establish itself as a Consulting 2.0 pioneer, globally.

There are several highly successful Enterprise 2.0 deployments, worldwide. However to create enabling frameworks for Enterprise 2.0 successes, it is important to highlight the associated critical success factors. According to Andrew McAfee, these factors basically involve Technologies, Support and Culture. Carefully selected tools which are freeform, egalitarian and social, support for initiatives with incentives and clear goals and organizational culture based on trust, support and information sharing, go a long way in ensuring success in this emerging organizational trend.

Please Comment..

References:

McAfee, A. 2008. What’s Most Important for Success with Enterprise 2.0? Retrieved 08/08/2010 from

http://andrewmcafee.org/2008/02/whats_most_important_for_success_with_enterprise_20/.

SocialText .2010. Citrix internal blogs. Retrieved 08/08/2010 from

https://www.socialtext.net/cases2/index.cgi?citrix_internal_blogs.

SocialText .2010. The Transformation To Consulting 2.0. Retrieved 08/08/2010 from

http://www.socialtext.com/customers/casestudy_emergent.php.

Perpetual Beta

Perpetual Beta is a concept that is gaining a lot of popularity on the web in recent years. Gmail, Google Maps, Flickr, del.icio.us, etc are just some services that are popular examples of the perpetual beta movement. However, the concept of perpetual beta is not entirey new – it has its roots in the continuous improvement framework used in business process management which was applied to software-as-a-service deployments, on the web. One really good example of this that makes good use of the dynamics of a constantly changing web application environment is Classblogmeister.com.

Classblogmeister is a service in education that allows students and teachers to collaborate towards development of communication skills, continuous improvement of academic content, and help set development priorities for the Classblogmeister service. It covers a range of relevant content areas in education, very well represented in the application cloud:

Cloud

This is an alphabatized listing of the most commonly used words in the latest 100 teacher blog entries. You can also view a cloud of the most commonly used words in published student blogs.

america answer april awards begin bill blog book books called chart charts check class classroom come comment complete country doing done earth enjoy enter entry evaluate everyone examples excited feel field final findings following friday grade great green group happy help hope images important information inquiry internet keep knowledge learned learning library list looking making middot monday must paper pencils people picture pictures play please post project question questions read reading ready review rhyming school scos share sites social south start story student students studies sunday supplies task tell term terrorism text thanks thinking tuesday types unit video website websites week welcome word words work working world write writing

The process for setting up a Classblogmeister service is very straightforward. During a semester session, users may realise that there are certain features that require further development. The website encourages a community-driven development model supported through a feedback process.

This open approach to software delivery is evident in the usage indices of Classblogmeister. The latest statistics on the website indicate:

261,047  student & teacher bloggers

892,913  blogs posted

15  blogs posted in the last hour

1,113  blogs posted in the last 24 hours

5,588  blogs posted in the last week

A good example of the development flexibility on the website is the latest example – the entire code rewrite of the comments and feedback functionality along with new security features that were implemented on the website on 04/04/2010.

Some features included in this implementation:

  • Teacher Approval Required
  • Class Password Required
  • User must be a Class Blogmeister member
  • User Must be a Class Blogmeister member and a member of the class

Here are some videos on Classblogmeister:

Please Comment..

Harnessing Collective Intelligence

How Web 2.0 empowers professional collaboration in Agile SD.

The term web 2.0 brings to mind key aspects of its evolution such as Collaboration, Convergence, Participation, SEO, Syndication, Usability and technologies such as Open APIs, XHTML, Ruby on Rails, SOAP and AJAX, amongst others. While these aspects highlight the key impact web 2.0 has made on our lives, we are yet to realise the full potential of this trend of web development and how it can further enrich our web experience. Even so, some web 2.0 applications have in a very short time made significant strides in enhancing the way we interact within the limitations of the digital world. One such application I would like to elaborate on is that of web-conferencing and how it enhances professional collaboration in iterative software development projects across the world utilising Agile/Scrum/XP, overcoming traditional constraints of managing virtual teams.

What are iterative SD projects? Well, simply put, traditional software development – or waterfall SD – consists of the standard RADTM (Requirement gathering – Analysis – Development – Testing – Maintenance) approach in which each milestone has a rigid, defined place in a project plan based on prerequisites. The benefits of this approach are consistent development practices, adherence to timeframes and significant documentation of each stage to safeguard against scope-creep. The major problem is that the only true constant in a project should be quality. The customer should have the ability to change, redefine or reorder any project effort based on the dynamics of their business and business drivers that determine delivery priorities. This led to the evolution of standard SD methodologies into iterative SD practices. The only constant in an iterative SD effort is quality; scope and timelines are directly determined by the customer’s business drivers. Certainly, milestones are defined in a certain order, however, instead of making projections for the entire project delivery, the deliverables are mapped out into weekly, or fortnightly efforts (sprints/scrums) with a focus on feature demos at the end of each iteration. Each iteration is launched based on client go-ahead and the last iteration is reserved for code assimilation, check-listing and project delivery.

How do iterative SD projects benefit from web 2.0? The only method of ensuring project success in an iterative SD effort is to ensure equitable participation by all key stakeholders in a particular iteration through a system of daily & weekly iteration meetings, with periodic iteration demonstrations and status meetings. This becomes quite difficult to achieve given the increasing trend of virtual teams in IT. With the advent of web 2.0, technologies such as web-conferencing and practices such as consultative documentation review have greatly empowered professional and technical collaboration beyond the traditional limitations of distributed teams. Using web-conferencing product demos are now possible actively involving development, testing, maintenance and delivery teams as well as clients engaging them in active dialogue and collaboration through the process. There are a host of such technology providers that have solutions for live conferencing as well as web story-boarding which has largely replaced paper-based story-boarding as a highly effective tool for interaction between clients and service providers, allowing for the sharing, review and reordering of development priorities. The possibilities of stakeholder inclusion at every stage of the iterative process are virtually limitless. Web 2.0 technologies can be directly credited for creating numerous such platforms for better, more effective, professional collaboration in the IT industry today.

Where is this trend headed? Web 2.0 as a paradigm affecting online experiences is in a phase of constant flux and it might yet be hard to determine where exactly these trends are headed. One might only conclude that the driving principle for web 2.0 might persist in its objective for creating virtual interaction spaces that are inclusive rather than exclusive, and hopefully – grow from there. Please comment on how web 2.0 has shaped the way you communicate, conference or run projects..

Innovation in Assembly

Effective mashups of services is one of the most significant implementation paradigms in web2.0 design. One particularly exemplary implementation of this concept is ‘programmableweb‘, a service that serves as a one stop shop for all open API’s available for developers to create rish mashups. Not only does it offer constantly updated API’s of commonly used services such as GoogleMaps, Yahoo Services, Amazon, Ebay, Flickr, etc, but it allows supports a massive online community-driven repository of Open API’s, mashup examples, support groups and tutorials for developers looking to identify the best mashup practices for their own implementation requirements.

The main driving force behing this service is the trend where leading software/service providers share a common belief in an open, free-to-use mashup platform, created for the development, interoperability and compatibility of Enterprise Mashup offerings. This is achieved through the focussed development of Enterprise Mashup Markup Language (EMML). ‘Mashups written in EMML can be deployed to any EMML-compliant application.’

This benefits programmableweb in more ways than one..
As of today, programmableweb currently provides 1798 Open API’s offered to a community that has used these to build over 4700 mashups across multipe domains, all offered open source, free of charge; this no is growing.
The latest such example has ’27 APIs Combined to Build 12 Mashups’ such as Twitter, YouTube, Google, BBC, Billboard, Amazon, Facebook, and Flickr.
As a direct result programmableweb is fast emerging as one of the most respected mashup/API sources on the web, and a key member of the Open Mashup Alliance.

The only requirement is that any individual deployment using their mashup sources, should support EMML, in the effort to drive it as an industry standard. You can use these API’s to create a web 2.0 engine that maps directly to your business model and also while include all the relevant services that make your platform more collaborative and community driven.

I believe that the OMA model as applied by programmableweb is truly innovative as it offers virtually limitless possibilities for experienced and inexperienced developers looking to create an effective web 2.0 service mashup. Please feel free to leave your comments.

Sources:

http://www.programmableweb.com/

http://www.openmashup.org/

‘Transforming Information Management with Enterprise Mashups; Some ideas are too powerful to fade, as the Open Mashup Alliance hopes is the case for EMML’.
http://proquest.umi.com.ezp01.library.qut.edu.au/pqdweb?index=0&did=1952161611&SrchMode=2&sid=1&Fmt=3&VInst=PROD&VType=PQD&RQT=309&VName=PQD&TS=1269162572&clientId=14394. Accessed 21/03/2010.