Control, control, control

Stewart Mader is taking Kathleen Gilroy’s discussion of “Why can’t we build this on Sharepoint?” (here my take on it) farther, pointing out that some of the underlying principles are in some ways antiquated (“Sharepoint is still stuck in the 90s – don’t get stuck there too”):

– focus on the group not the individual, limiting the emergence of new informal social networks

Yes, finding like-minded collaborators starts with the individual, its competencies and interests, not necessarily with the work group he’s currently in.

– an overly mechanistic view of employees – overseeing many complex issues (motivation, informal organization overlaying formal organization, resistance to naive steering attempts, …)

Control, control, control…Sharepoint’s got it, and it’s the opposite of the open, minimally structured philosophy that makes the wiki universally useful for anything. Sharepoint also has an extremely complex, workflow-centric interface. Software should learn how you work, not the other way around.

I would add that one reason why wikis are so appealing is, that they leverage organizational realities, which are complex and messy sometimes. Free-form tools like wikis can support a variety of ways of work, of cultural settings etc., while overly-engineered tools don’t offer much slack and adaptivity.

One Response to “Control, control, control”

  1. Stwart Mader says:

    Hi Martin,
    Thanks for citing my post on your blog – you’re right that the appeal of wikis is their ability to adapt to many organizations, needs, etc. and your comment “that focusing on the tool side of social software won’t do the trick – it’s the implementation in a specific context that counts.” really sums it up nicely!

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