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8/27/2008
05:01 AM
Paige Finkelman
Paige Finkelman
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Beware of the Overload

Finding the right tools to manage your workload is crucial. But tread lightly - as information overload isn't a better problem per se - it's just a different problem. Having one's work flow interrupted with updates and reminders doesn't lead to increased productivity. On the contrary, it hinders focusing attention on tasks and moving them along to completion.Staying afloat in the depths of one's email is a daily struggle for most of us. It's difficult to carve out time to devote to other time consuming projects. Luckily there are collaborative tools that can help ease the strain. But just as important as the existence of the tools is the best practices associated with them. Here are a few I came up with:1. A community can't be force fed. It needs to take on an organic growth and naturally evolve. As a bottom-up movement, the members of the community shouldn't need outside motivation to contribute. The benefits of membership should speak for themselves.2. Be considerate of existing processes. Don't anticipate replacing your email client with a wiki (just yet).3. Know which tool is most appropriate for the task at hand, and use accordingly. Don't try to fit a square peg in a round hole.4. Keep company policy top of mind when using tools. This policy should be communicated clearly. Removing a member's post is justifiable, so long as the policy for what is appropriate content and what is not can be referenced as due cause.5. If you're in management, be prepared to hear the truth - this may includes some things you don't want to hear. A community is an excellent forum to spark debate and discuss issues business processes. It allows those in lower level positions the opportunity to have their voices heard.As your organization makes the choice about which tools to implement, email me to share your story on the best practices you've embraced at pfinkelman@techweb.com.

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