Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Interactive Exercise

Interactive Exercise I see the session working as follows:
  • Marj's presentation/demonstration of the toolsDelegate interaction
  • Interactive exercise using collaboration tools

The first part is pretty straightforward, a more succinct version of the DGPC presentation.

The interactive piece I see unfolding as follows:

Overall question:

  • How can you improve the briefing note process using collaborative technology?

Sub-questions (or categories):

  • When is a briefing note necessary?
  • What information should a briefing note contain?
  • What levels of approval are required and who has overall authority?
  • What is the process for creating content for a briefing note?
  • How can those responsible for content collaborate to create the content?
  • What issues are important to consider?

This exercise needs to be positioned as a brainstorming session. Much like a breakout group gathered around a flip chart would do in a 2 day workshop...wait a second, that is what this is, except the reporting back process is captured and is part of a document. In a brainstorming session, there is no right or wrong answer and there are always more questions than answers. Whatever product we end up with will be the result of informed briefing note creators spending 20 minutes together talking about how they could use collaborative tools based on a brief demonstration of the possibilities.

Getting Ready for SMLF

At our meeting last Thursday - these one week-long projects are becoming habitual - we talked about the format of the meeting and agreed to have a dry run to ensure that we have an opportunity to recognize and resolve any technical issues.

The dryrun has been scheduled for Tuesday, May 22 at 3 pm in Gamble Hall.

Some of the things we will be testing include, in no particular order:
  • accessing and editing the wiki through telework
  • inviting 11 "regions" into a WebEx meeting
  • jumping in and out of the firewall - from wiki to blog back to wiki
  • 11 groups accessing the wiki at one time (but we will likely only have 5 laptops for the dryrun - we should try to get as many as possible)
  • creating placeholders for the question - all on one page of the wiki? one sub-category per page?

We also agreed that there would be 11 Information specialists, each one sporting a fashionable t-shirt emblazoned with a stylized "i", to provide assistance and support to each of the laptop groups.

We also need to be prepared to respond to the inevitable question: "Quand seront disponibles ces utils technologiques?"


BarnRaising Some research on Wiki creation revealed that what we are doing with the SMLF group next Thursday is referred to as BarnRaising http://www.wikipatterns.com/display/wikipatterns/BarnRaising. Essentially, BarnRaising involves getting a like-minded group (I think everybody at the SMLF would agree the briefing note process can stand to be improved!) together at a designated time (Thursday, May 24 at 2:45 pm) to create content on a wiki together. Just when we thought we were on to something...it has already been named!At the bottom of this web page, which is really a wiki about wiki patterns and anti patterns, there is some terrific information. Recommended reading for sure!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Things we dont want to think about, but need to talk about...

I'm starting this entry, not because I want to, but because we need to be prepared. Rather than clog the to-do list entry with feedback intermingled with ideas, I thought I'd start this entry instead.

We need to consider what could go wrong and have action plans to address that. This is the place where these types of discussions need to happen. I think we are better of to start listing what can go wrong and how we will address it. If we have an action plan for each, then we are set. So, for the pessimists in the crowd, here is your chance to let it all out.....

I'll start .....

1) Can't get an internet connection
2) Can't sign on to telework
3) One of the laptops dies
4) We can't to Web EX
5) We can't get at the Wiki
6) We can get at the blog
7) We don't have the bandwidth
8) Two people edit the document at the same time
9) The people aren't interested in doing this
10) The interactive portion isn't interactive enough or can't accommodate enough people so we start losing the crowd.
11) Marj is sick that day

I'm sure there is more......

Our Next Challenge!

Well it is now 7 days and counting.....

We've taken on a great challenge but I'm confident that with the team we have, we are up to it. Thanks to everyone for your support, ideas, and confidence that we can make this happen. This goes a long way to showing that the IM/IT team here at NRCan can turn ideas (even risky ones like these) into action.

As we discussed today, we have lots to do to prepare for next week. Anna is preparing a list of tasks for everyone that will help us keep track of what we need to do before Thursday. We are working under pretty tight deadlines since the long weekend kind of gets in the way, so there is alot we need to get done before the dry run on Tuesday:
- set up all accounts for remote access and google signon
- set up the new blog
- ensure that we have some good content to navigate through
- appoint the 11 information specialists. All must attend the dry run on Tuesday.
- bring great ideas of information to navigate through for the demo on Thursday

I'm sure Anna has alot more on her list and will add more here. Keep submitting your great ideas and checking in here for latest updates! We can do this!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Moving Day

SSO has completed the transfer of Collabpathfinder Blog to the internal blog. as per the Chris W's email below:

I've recreated the files and rebuilt the blog as best I could etc.. from the original http://collabpathfinder.blogspot.com/ and placed within the http://wwwint.nrcan-rncan.gc.ca/collabpathfinder/ blog.
I've added the original users. So they may want to login and modifiy their passwords.
The passwords are their lastname and first initial... for example... John Doe would be 'doej' etc.. etc..

Note that we are still sorting out format etc and there will be a bit of learning curve moving from one blog system to another but as with other blog software it is quite basic. Please have a look and start posting content when you can. If you need assistance let me know.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Blog and Wiki for DGSPC

A key outcome from the presentation to dgspc was the request by the committee members to use the the blog and wiki for their policy committee work. We are now trying figure out how to set these things up from two perspectives: Technical and IM support.

Technical aspects

A lot will depend on their requirements but our initial take on this is that unless they feel they need to restrict access we can use the Wiki101 for the collaborative document work. If not then
we will look at how to restrict access to authorized users or if all else fails create another wiki instance (not my favorite option)

It will take a bit of work for the internal nrcan blog since:

i) Blogs have to be created by the blog admin (not such a problem we know how to do it now)

ii) If an individual wishes to comment on a blog, admin has to create an account, in other words users cannot self-register. We could use anonymous accounts but this is not a preferred option. Marc Primeau and I have agreed to pool some resources to sort these issues out as quickly as possible

iii) Finally there are some performance issues re speed, with the blog that need to be looked at.

IM aspects

As was noted at the meeting yesterday blogs and wikis could have significant impacts on culture and the way we work. I would guess that this is also true for dgs and associates. for that reason we should be sure that there is adequate support re bliki orientation for all the key participants. The more Marj's we have rolling up their sleeves and using the technology the better. We hvae begun discussions with Rose and Thorne..and Stephane on how we could provide this kind of support through the libraries.

We are planning to meet very soon with DGSPC committee members to get a better fix on their needs. I will update after that, but in the interim, if there are considerations we have missed, options we should look at or even questions that should be answered please comment.