Observable work – more on knowledge work visibility (#owork)

My post on the visibility of knowledge work last week generated some some excellent comments and excellent blog posts around the web. For my own benefit I wanted to gather up what I’ve come across so far and put it in one place.


Greg Lloyd, CEO at Traction Software, kicked things off. pulled together some key threads of the conversation and gave us a better label – “observable work.” His initial summary:

I believe that principles of open, observable work like open book financial reporting to employees – is a simple and powerful principle that people at every level of an organization can become comfortable using. In my opinion, wider adoption of observable work principles can succeed with support and encouragement from true leaders at every level of an organization – as Peter Drucker defines that role: “A manager’s task is to make the strengths of people effective and their weakness irrelevant–and that applies fully as much to the manager’s boss as it applies to the manager’s subordinates.” Enterprise 2.0 and Observable Work

Greg also pointed to an excellent post by John Tropea at Library Clips:

why do I have close to total awareness of people in my personal life that requires low effort, but yet in the workplace I don t have this ambient awareness!

In fact it may be more crucial to have micro-blogging/activity stream networks in the workplace as we share and work on the same/similar/related goals and tasks within our teams, across teams, workgroups, and enterprise wide so the more we are aware, the more we can be on the same page, and have better coordination, cooperation and collaboration surface opportunities (emergence), have the best people on the right tasks, and generally have the ability to be more responsive and adaptive.

7 thoughts on “Observable work – more on knowledge work visibility (#owork)”

  1. Jim — Thanks for posting the summary and followup questions. Here are links to two other recent posts that may be helpful:

    1) Musing about learning by doing – @jobsworth Jun 27, 2010
    http://bit.ly/aBFIpR – blog post and link to video

    “We learn by example and by direct experience because there are real limits to the adequacy of verbal instruction.”

    @jobsworth summary of key points discussed in blog post and video:

    # Experience-capture tools are getting better, cheaper and more ubiquitous
    # Communal tools for sharing are getting better
    # The Maker Generation is more inclined to share:
    # The need for experience-based learning in the marketplace has never been greater
    # There’s an increasing focus on education worldwide, with more appetite for radical approaches
    # Trust in historical command-and-control “broadcast mode” institutions has never been lower

    2) Strategy: Space Matters – @tom_peters Jun 25, 2010
    http://bit.ly/cSu63Q – video and transcript.
    Tom explains why who sits next to whom in your office can make a huge difference.

    Hypothesis: E2.0 technology and observable work, physical distance separating people can become less of an issue if you find effective ways to promote situational awareness using social network and collaboration technology.

  2. Paula,

    Excellent point. Hadn’t made that connection but organic is good in this context as well

Comments are closed.