Developer's Blog

Flooding E-mail: Reason and Counter Measure

posted Mar 13, 2010, 3:01 AM by doc usui   [ updated Apr 14, 2010, 5:22 AM ]

Flooding email is very common at workplace. I think one of the possible reason is that e-mail is the general communication tool.  This versatility is great for software developer side but is this convenient for user side too?

For example, let’s imagine a web shopping site with no shopping cart and online payment system. Even site haven’t these function, we can order its product by email in which we write product name, count, address, card number and back and forth several times. Like this way it works but are you convenient?

Then let’s look at our workplace. At workplace, we are working to get our job done.  And to do this, we use email to get some job request from your boss or colleague, and brake down the job to several executable tasks and write e-mail to get someone’s help.  And we will add some additional information by e-mail, and get output by e-mail and summarize the all information and finally we use e-mail to send final output to the job requester.

This way of information handling is just not messy, but takes more time to search old mail, easy to miss-understand by different version, easy to lost, easy to forget due date.  So I feel we are working pre-shopping cart age at workplace and this the reason why we have flooding email.

ChainOfAsker is not versatile communication tool like email but it is designed to handle job and can handle it better than e-mail. This is same to other software like Excel is good for calculation PowerPoint is good for presentation.

And office software accomplished one step evolution by Object Linking and Embedding(OLE) technology. By applying this technology, Microsoft Word become organizing application which can embed Excel or other OLE object as a document parts like graph, photo, diagram and established document oriented work environment.

So now we can concentrate our attention to Word document without paying attention to each table or graph because these are the child parts of targeted document and can be managed through Word document.  I think this approach makes our document developing job extremely convenient.

I think we need same evolution for  groupware. Current groupware is providing an E-mail, ToDo, or personal scheduler but these are parts functions to get our job done but current groupware is not providing a function to use these parts functions by organized way to get our job done.

ChainOfAsker is an organizing or parent application with job oriented approach. Because we can get job by “Request”(equivalent of e-mail function in current group ware ) and create “sub-Request”(equivalent of ToDo function) and can add  various information by “Additional information”(equivalent of electronic board or file system function) and get notified(equivalent of scheduler and ToDo function) when we must react.

Like this way ChainOfAsker keep information link from job oriented view. So I believe ChainOfAsker can make our work planning and executing job extremely convenient like OLE done for document development job. And also this approach relieve flooding email problem too.

Self Planning: Energy Source of Autonomy

posted Mar 5, 2010, 10:21 PM by doc usui   [ updated Apr 2, 2010, 10:59 PM ]

It is widely talked that member’s motivation, enthusiasm and desire to get it done is very important in the collaborative management.  Then what is the most important to produce these attitude?  I think it is to delegate  planning right(= Each member develop their work plan by themselves) to each member.

The reason why I think so is that everyone like to work based on his/her developed plan, and if it is his/her planned task and schedule, everyone try to get it done to keep their credibility in the team. Self motivated work increase their successful rate of the task. And once they can complete their planned task, they will get respect from team member, it make them happy, the happiness make them confident and conduct their job more proactively.

Even he/she encounter the trouble or failure, they will eager to find root cause of the failure to fix the problem because it was their developed plan. And finally they find root cause of the problem and recover the problem. This is the learning process through failure and they never repeat same mistake..

But if they failed based on your plan, it is your failure but not them. So given plan have no power to educate them through failure but just increase management job, deteriorate manager’s credibility and degenerate team’s moral.  As this way, we can breed team’s motivation and autonomy by delegating planning right to each member.

Delegation can be done without any IT tool but it is also true that delegation means increase of planner and more planner means more difficult to grasp whole project view. Then I think ChainOfAsker is one of the possible option to keep whole view under multiple planner environment. 

ChainOfAsker is a mix of top down work brake down procedure and bottom up scheduling. By using this feature, we can adjust the chunk of the job which we will delegate to the size which each member can digest. I think a little bit  bigger is the best to stimulate member’s challenging mind.

Might be this is a little bit risky process but I think without this process we can not cultivate member who has both eager mindset and superior technical skill. But please remember that we no need to fear this process because we are already doing this delegation when we ask something by email.  So I think ChainOfAsker is the safer way than email because we can keep watching whole project and of its progress under delegated multiple planner environment.

Why I've Developped ChainOfAsker

posted Feb 26, 2010, 11:51 PM by doc usui   [ updated Mar 5, 2010, 6:42 PM ]

Thank you to visit ChainOfAsker support site.

ChainOfAsker is my one year weekend private work to realize what I think most required function to manage our daily job. I have been working engineering development and management job mainly for production line design. installation, CAD/CAM software system design and  Information management system.

The reason why I developed this application is simply I could not use effectively current groupware and project management tool to manage my job.

Current groupware has many useful functions like e-mail, ToDo, Schedule. Although these functions are very useful but I felt that current groupware is not providing procedure and mechanism to use these functions in an organized way to plan and propel our daily job.

Compare to groupware, project management system has clear planning and follow up procedure but their project manager centric approach does not match more cooperative working style which I want.  For example,  I usually ask what I want without showing how to do it. Because I know they can plan it by themselves and they like to do it by themselves. I think this kind of job delegation is widely used in our workplace.

I have been thinking what way of support style best fit to manage our daily job and one day I found that all of our  cooperation start form asking someone to do something. And soon I recognize that we can built job planning and follow up system based on “Act of Asking”.

It takes around 9 month for programming and 3 month for web site, user manual, and demo video preparation. Client side is developed by Microsoft-Silverlight and Server side is developed by Google App Engine Java and using Google server to run server side program.

There are a lot of discussion on the web regarding management or project management style like Project Management 2.0, Collaborative Management, Cooperative Management, or Participative Management  but I think all these emphasize rapid action plan change under the member's cooperation rather than preplanned schedule.

ChainOfAsker is a tool to support these way of Management style but this tool is not developed based on these methodology but it is developed more primitive procedure of our cooperation procedure “Act of Asking”. So it all up to you how to use this system even you can use this system old project manager centralized planning style by creating very detail request just below your root request and ask to do it with specific duration. 

I think it is realistic to use mixed way because we have a both well trained member who want to create his working plan  by themselves  and the junior member who need detail task indication. So as you ask something by e-mail, you can issue detail step by step request for junior member and for experienced member, you can issue rough request to leave room for experience member to develop their work plan.

ChainOfAsker has function to create Work Breakdown Structure and Gantt chart So you will feel this is project management system. But I think "Act of Asking" is a everybody's daily job conduct to work together. So please use ChainOfAsker casually like when you ask something by email. 

I believe once you use this tool you will recognize importance of  planning capability(or change, or evolution of plan to meet latest condition ) of each member by seeing increasing requests in the team. So I think this the tool for everyone who work together. 


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