Michael Sampson has been focused on the effective use of collaboration technology since the mid-1990s. I met him at a 1997 EMA conference, where we co-presented on the future of unified messaging -- and we've been friends and business colleagues since.
For several years, I've encouraged Michael to write a book on Lotus Notes for collaboration. I even contacted IBM press to see what's involved - a lot. Michael shared that in the absence of significant market awareness of Lotus Notes he did not think a book around Notes made as much business sense as a book around SharePoint. (Michael's been a long time Lotus Notes user and advocate; we continue to use Notes to collaborate.) For the past few years, Michael has been focused on the use of SharePoint for collaboration. Michael's just published his second book on collaboration; this one's called "SharePoint Roadmap for Collaboration." I had an opportunity to be a part of the review process and I think the book is excellent. If the examples were changed, it could easily be called "Lotus Notes Roadmap for Collaboration." What's important are the principles, which are true regardless of platform.
I've asked Michael to write a guest post for the Notes on Productivity blog, because having gone through the copy of his second book, the themes are just as relevant for Notes people as for SharePoint people. I highly recommend that you buy a copy of Michael's second book, both to learn about SharePoint and to read about the principles of effective collaboration that Michael addresses.
Tonight I reread The Difference between "Tools" and "Technologies" by a colleague and personal knowledge management expert, Steve Barth. I first read the article many years ago in the context of my KM research and PKM presentations at KMWORLD. Steve talks about tools and technology from the perspective of the knowledge worker and their different impact on knowledge worker productivity. He describes a phenomenon we have seen with our Notes customers for many years but could not easily explain. But this post is not about our product, it's about a fundamental shift in thinking that happens when the the technologies that people use become personal.
Here's an experiment for you to do or imagine doing - either way will work:
Call 100 end users of vanilla Lotus Notes and and ask them what they think of Lotus Notes.
Now, call 100 Lotus Notes end-users that use eProductivity (or any other personal application for Lotus Notes) and and ask them what they think of Lotus Notes.
Why the dramatic difference in user perspective?
Simple. The people in the second group have made Lotus Notes personal. I know this to be the case, I've been asking people for several years and the answers are reasonably consistent.
In the first group, Lotus Notes is just a technology, imposed by the organization. They may or may not even see the connection to the work they do. When people see themselves using a technology, something's wrong.
In the second group, Lotus Notes is personal.
Technologies are pushed down by the organization. Tools are picked up by the user.
When technology becomes productive and fun it becomes a tool that people care about. It becomes personal.
When tools become personal to someone, they care for them and they get passionate about it. Think iPhone.
The solution to making Notes users happy is to find ways to shift their perspective from Notes as an impersonal technology to Notes as personal tool to get things done.
So what can you do with this information? Think about the way that Lotus Notes is deployed and used in your organization. How do you and your users perceive it? Ask yourself what you can do to make Notes personal.
Allen currently uses a customized version of IBM's Lotus Notes for PC, which he calls his e-productivity suite. It syncs automatically with his phone, so he can add notes on the go. Allen isn't planning to commercialize e-productivity anytime soon, though. And he's wary of most to-do-list software on the market.
Chris got it mostly right. David Allen does use Lotus Notes for collaboration and personal productivity - he started with Notes 3 -- and eProductivity is the solution that tursn Lotus Notes into his ultimate personal productivity tool. David's wary of most to-do-list software because most that we have looked at (and we've examined well over 125 apps) don't appear to "get" the fundamental principles of task management at the personal level. (That's why out of the hundreds of to-do-list apps, there are only two that are certified as "GTD-Enabled.")
If you are a reader of this blog and for some reason you've not yet clued in to the fact that I think Lotus Notes is a powerful tool for getting things done, I encourage you to investigate further. You're in for a real treat!
IBM announced LinkedIn and TripIt sidebar widgets for Lotus Notes 8 today. These are the first two in a planned series of widgets closely integrated into the Notes 8 interface. Widgets such as these ones can provide a nice productivity boost in Notes by mashing together tools or websites that you use frequently into a single view. No more (or not as much) clicking around to different windows to get the information you need.
Chris Toohey of Domino Guru has done a nice job of reviewing the new widgets. Recommended reading for a closer look at the benefits.
I may have an opportunity for a few enterprising IBM Lotus Business partners that want to help people purchase and install Lotus Notes.
Here's the situation: Last year we launched the public version of eProductivity™ for IBM Lotus Notes. eProductivity™ is the software application that makes implementing David Allen's “Getting Things Done®” (“GTD®”) methodology in IBM Lotus Notes, easy. We designed eProductivity to be simple enough to install and use that an end-user could do the installation himself with no support from the Notes Administrator. Over the past 24 months, we've proven this model works well as over two thirds of our customer installations were installed by end-users with no Admin support. Unintended consequences... As a result of our creating eProductivity for Lotus Notes, we are seeing many non-Notes users requesting to migrate to Lotus Notes in order to get eProductivity. These are not huge numbers... yet. The largest single site was only 100 users and most of these requests so far are from SMBs or individual users. That's a problem for us. Continue Reading "I'm looking for a few IBM Lotus Business Partners" »
On the business side of the house, we rely on a number of productivity tools, and most of them them aren't our own. One of the tools in our toolkit is IdeaJam, by Elguji. IdeaJam makes it possible for our customers to have a voice in the feedback and design process. It simply works. IBM knows this and has awarded the Elguji team with a reception on Times Square. Well done, team Elguji!
Kelly Forrister recently posted a new podcast on the GTD Times blog featuring David Allen and Buzz Bruggeman of ActiveWords discussing the productive benefits of ActiveWords:
One of the tools David Allen uses on his PC is ActiveWords, a tool often described as “solving a problem you didn’t know you had.” It essentially streamlines the navigation and common tasks we do all day long; send emails, go to web sites, create new tasks, insert text, open files and more...
When it comes to saving time in daily tasks in Windows, ActiveWords delivers. And you can learn more about how it does that by listening to the podcast linked below.
In the spirit of looking at productivity tools for a variety of platforms, we can't overlook the fact that the world doesn't use Notes yet. For Outlook users that want to get things done, the folks at NetCentrics have just released the most recent version of their Getting Things Done Outlook Add-In, version 3.0.
NetCentrics and the David Allen Company have been working together to develop the Add-In as a trusted system for Outlook for over six years, and during that time the product has been upgraded many times.
This particular upgrade focuses on a number of enhancements and some nice new features. Key among the enhancements is the integration of the menu items into Outlook’s “ribbons”, so the Add-In works more naturally with the ribbon concept. As far as new features are concerned, NetCentrics listened to its customer base and created a really powerful project management capability, which pulls together a number of the existing features into a project management function. This new functionality can simplify the management of projects and the tasks and actions related to your projects.
There are a number of other new features and enhancements in the 3.0 release that will be of interest to anyone who is passionate about Getting Things Done and is an active Outlook user.
You can learn more about the Outlook Add-in here and read about the new functionality here.
I’ve known and interacted with the folks at NetCentrics for several years, and they are top notch. If you use Outlook and want to make it a “trusted system” you can’t go wrong with the GTD Outlook Add-In.
Of course, if you use Lotus Notes and want to make Notes your trusted system, then eProductivity is the solution for you.
These two tools do what their names say and I've already found them indispensable to help me locate file and folder names that were either too long or that contained characters that would cause my backup software to choke.
These tools have now earned a place in my productivity tool box