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Knowledge Workers

I am reading a bit about organisation’s theory… one of my favourite authors is Charles Handy.  He describes modern organisations as federations where individuals and groups are allied together sharing some shared identity; there is autonomy but also big variety. The centre of the federation does not control or direct but coordinates activities.  Workers need information to develop knowledge and create value out of it… Peter Drucker calls them (us?) knowledge workers. You cannot control knowledge workers you have to persuade, convince them, they have to be motivated by challenges… not by deadlines.

If there is such big variety it becomes almost impossible to standardise procedures… how can you build software for them?  Or How can you “force” a knowledge worker to use your software?

There might be another way around… why not design the software for them? something that can adapt itself to the particular taste of users, something that can provide information on time, from different sources, from which knowledge workers learn and create more knowledge and which can evolve as more knowledge is created.

Any thoughts?

Cecilia Loureiro
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Knowledge workers are easy to migrate to your new product.  Just make the new product work and work well for them, and they'll migrate themselves.

It is all those other types of workers who are going to be pulled dragging into your new product and will be complaining about every minor difference and making you feel like sh*t.

i like i
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

"There might be another way around..."

That's a lofty goal. We call it "work flow"; make the software fit the users' activities rather than the other way around. I'm sure there's plenty of opportunities for research on the subject.

Tom H
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

"There might be another way around… why not design the software for them? something that can adapt itself to the particular taste of users, something that can provide information on time, from different sources, from which knowledge workers learn and create more knowledge and which can evolve as more knowledge is created."

You have just spelled out the generic sales blurb of any vague Knowledge Management package under the sun. I think you need to narrow it down a bit. What exactly is missing from the current offerings and what would you change specifically to improve on them?

Just me (Sir to you)
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

there are many interesting issues for discussion... this is just a brainstorm.

for example, building software that does not require maintenance or updating... it would update itself according to the needs of the users. Of course you could say that we would lose our jobs… maybe not… they might change a bit though… developers would create pieces of software (you can call them intelligent components) and users arrange them at their taste and create the applications.

another interesting thing is that the software might be build on distributed technologies, to support the federations, each member of the federation would have a piece of software customised to his/her needs but still able to connect to the others (there is no centralised application server)  maybe something like OMG’s MDA, Corba, etc would help  … don’t know much about that though…

more … as we are dealing with knowledge workers we need to support storage, extraction, creation, and use of knowledge … yes, ... knowledge management but over distributed systems… sounds interesting…

and what about replacing the knowledge workers with intelligent machines?

needless to say that this is an hypothetical situation… a consequence of my readings about modern organisations and a few nights of insomnia... :(((

Cecilia Loureiro
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

I know what. Let's just call it an "operating system". We'll start with some core technology common to all, call that the "kernel". Then we'll layer on a command-line interpreter with any number of different "shells" from which we can launch individualized thingies, just a shot in the dark here, call those "applications". It's a start, no? Where do we go from there?

old_timer
Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Cecillia,

first I'd suggest getting some sleep.
Then I'd suggest learning about software architectures their history and current trends and evolutions.

To put it a bit rude, you sound like a alternative medicine zealot on mushrooms that by accident walked into a medical convention.

Just me (Sir to you)
Thursday, June 03, 2004

She sounds like her research program is in New Media. They're all clueless there so buzzwords and jargon go a long way.

In five years time, she will probably be writing papers on how to develop software. "I have an idea for a tool that will let programmers write their programs in an English form and then convert it to machine code, which is 1's and 0's (I really know this geek talk.)"

By 2011 she will have obtained her Professorship based on her paper about the revoutionary idea for programs that automate the writing of software.

Cynical bastard
Thursday, June 03, 2004

yes, and also  a giant meteor will fall from the
sky and cause a big explosion ...

i don't like to write very much, i prefer to think and predict the future.

Cecilia Loureiro
Thursday, June 03, 2004

it is a good idea to write programs that rewrite themselves and evolve.  are u waiting for my paper or Microsoft to tell you what do to? and where will u be in 2011?

Cecilia Loureiro
Thursday, June 03, 2004

Cecilia,

I suggest you also look at artilces, books from following authors. They usually concentrate on human factors in Software Development.

1. Ward Cunningham
2. Martin Fowler
3.  Andy and Dave (of Pragmatic Programers)
4. Steve McConnell


There are others like David Kelly and Tom Kelly of Ideo (Author of Art of Innovation). Many of their ideas are applicable to all kinds of Knowledge Workers.

Nitin Bhide
Wednesday, July 07, 2004

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