1. How will IBM Verse make people more productive?
2. Can we help make people more productive with Verse?
For all I can see, both of these questions are still unclear, but Nathan's just posted some great thoughts about them.
This marketing video from March shows a portion of IBM's vision for Verse:
Keep in mind that this is a marketing video, so the real Verse may or may not perform as shown.
So far, it appears to be a web-based front end to IBM Connections, Domino-based mail, and other IBM collaboration tools. It is unclear, at present, how many of these tools will be required to experience the features shown in the video.
It looks like Verse is big on sharing and collaboration, but less so on personal productivity -- that is, actually getting work done. My research and work with thousands of people has shown me that, no matter the collaboration, knowledge work is inherently personal.
In this area, Verse has less to offer.
Verse does add a form of the "Waiting For" from David Allen's Getting Things Done, which is a positive step. I'm looking forward to seeing their next video and, of course, to seeing the real product in action when it ships.
P.S. Here are Hogne Pettersen's thoughts on Verse as "promiseware" competing with Microsoft.
If you use eProductivity or have some interest in it, head over to Inside.eProductivity for the details: click here.
A few years later, I came out with eProductivity, which has been introducing IBM software users to David's "GTD" methods ever since. For typical professionals who are stressed out, overloaded, and dominated by the latest and loudest thing in their inbox, eProductivity is a fantastic new way to work.
You might say, "10 years old? That's ancient for software!" Remember, Microsoft Word came out in 1989.
What's more, eProductivity is a proven way to work, which is more than can be said for all the advertising fluff floating around.
I know that sounds like I'm bragging, but I don't have to say a thing about eProductivity. People who use it say these things for me. For example, one of my managers just posted this fantastic customer story from an IBMer on Inside.eProductivity.
Here are a few choice quotes:
I have now been using eProductivity for almost three years. When I first installed eProductivity, I had approximately 700 emails in my in-box . . . I now rarely have more than 6-10 emails in my in-box, and I am almost always able to end the day with none.
I am also able to view, in a simple and intuitive way, all of the actions I need to take and the individuals that I waiting to provide me with information.
With eProductivity, I feel that I am always on top of my emails, actions, requests for information, and calendar. As mentioned above, my in-box is almost always at zero, while at the same time I know I have every required action covered that was initiated by an email. It allows me to feel like I am in control of my time.
"I am in control of my time." Mission accomplished. I created eProductivity in the course of my consulting work to help frustrated users of IBM software achieve this exact thing.
Do you feel in control of your time, using whatever tools you have, working however you work?
GTD: the secret sauce of eProductivity
"Getting Things Done," is a personal productivity method used by millions of people around the world (including me) to gain clarity and focus in their work. It's based on the principles from the international bestseller, Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity, by my colleague David Allen.
This set of habits and practices, known as GTD for short, helps people:
- Process all their inputs in a way that make sense. This includes, email, voicemail, snail mail, idea, notes, conversations, articles -- any source of information that means something to you.
- Get a clear view of what they need to do
- Decide what's most important to do
- Do it
- Review what they've done and need to do, to make sure nothing slips through the cracks
For more about GTD, see here.
The power of GTD is built into eProductivity from the ground up: eProductivity is designed to support, facilitate, enable, and (to a certain extent) teach the habits and practices of GTD.
I've personally been using GTD for over 20 years, and it's been enormously effective in my life and work. I originally designed eProductivity to help bring this power to my consulting clients.
Getting Things Done with eProductivity is a real, proven, new way to work
The methods of GTD are simple, intuitive, incredibly powerful, and radically different from how most people work, and it's been catching on since 2001. All it takes is learning to think about your work in a new way.
Let me make that clear: a real new way to work starts with how you think about your work, not with a fancy new piece of software. So even though GTD may not have been born yesterday (or even this year), it's still very new to the hundreds of people discovering it every day.
In the same way, eProductivity has the power to take frustrated, overloaded IBM software users and introduce them to a whole new way to get clarity and focus. Prompts are built into the program to get professionals to think differently about their work, which includes their to-do lists, supporting information, and waves of "stuff" coming at them every day.
I have no plans to stop using eProductivity. All the shiny new programs I've tried that promise a new way to work have turned out to be simple email clients with a few bells and whistles thrown in, plus the promise to serve up only what's important to you so you can ignore everything else. So far, that hasn't panned out. Even if it did, these programs still don't give me the tools I need and want to get clarity and focus in the midst of information overwhelm.
The new players are still unknown (and based on what I've seen so far, my hopes are not high). What is known is that many, many people have been successfully getting things done with eProductivity for over a decade.
I'll keep introducing people to a new way to work for as long as I can, which I hope will be for some time.
More about GTD:
The Atlantic: Busy and Busier: Productivity expert David Allen talks with James Fallows about the future of getting things done
That National: Freeing Your Mind to Get Things Done
I also get to experience this same thing with students in my Intro to Robotics course. This course isn't just a bunch of computer science geeks doing geeky things: I use it to prepare my students to work well, both in their personal and professional lives, by teaching them essential life skills.
I know teaching life skills through robotics sounds far-fetched, so I'm going to prove it below.
In this course, one of the exercises I teach is the After-Action Review. This consists of five questions:
1. What was supposed to happen?
2. What actually happened?
3. Why did it happen?
4. What did we learn?
5. How can we do better next time?
On Monday, as I lead them through an After-Action Review, I wrote the answers to the final question on the board (as you can see on the left). The action under review was the students' preparation for their final in-class competition (which involved designing and building a robot in teams), but the answers they came up with also translate to work and life in general.
Note that these are not in order of importance or priority. They're all lessons learned. Here's what my students had to sayplus applies to best practices for life:
Continue Reading "Best Practices for Robotics Competitions, Work, and Life in General" »