I heard a great article on NPR this morning about a study which shows that when an individual quits smoking, this has a ripple effect on family members and friends, with the result that those in the social network are more likely to quit as well.
"There's no doubt that people are influenced by the behaviors of individuals that are not just one degree of separation from them, but two and three degrees of separation. There's a kind of cascading influence," says Nicholas Christakis, a professor at Harvard Medical School and a co-author of the study, which appears in Thursday's edition of The New England Journal of Medicine.
This story was an inspiration, as I see so many companies struggling with behavioral and cultural issues that affect productivity and delivery. If the clustering / hive intelligence effect that the article describes can work the same way within the social network of an organization, then there's hope for cultural change if a few key individuals will adopt the desired behavior, and spread this to their colleagues.
What issues is your company struggling with, that technology alone can't solve? Here are a few that I see all the time:
In most cases there are at least a few people in any company who are doing the "right thing" already. What will encourage them to spread their behavior to their network, and beyond? How can the social network be strengthened so that desired behaviors might spread more rapidly? And how can you start tracking this spread, to be able to show that positive change is happening?
Update - my colleague Marcel pointed me to a similar NPR article about social networks and weight gain / weight loss.
I have not been able to find much information on the Web about the differences between a MOSS 2007 Publishing Site and what Microsoft calls a System Site, which encompasses the Team Site and Blank Site as well as some others.
I put together this table based on my hands-on experience with and testing of the two types of sites. Download here:
I will be adding to this table as I learn more.
I don't like to post issues without solutions, but a client alerted me to this one today and I couldn't find an answer; I wanted to put it out there in the hope that someone can offer some input. Here's the scenario:
In your MOSS 2007 or WSS 3.0 implementation, you have a document library with checkin / checkout enabled. If a user with read-only ("Visitor") permissions looks at the document options from the drop-down menu on the document name, they have no option to check in or check out:
However, if the same user opens a document from that library, the document will open as read-only in its MS Office application (Word, Excel, etc.), but the user will see the "Server Document" bar with the message "To modify this document, you must check it out" and the "check out" button.
When the user tries to check the document out, they are asked to authenticate, they try three times, and then receive the error "Cannot perform this operation. The file has been deleted or someone else has it checked out."
The good news is that the application won't actually let you check out the document – it knows you shouldn't be able to authenticate. The bad part is that that toolbar shows up at all, and the user has to go through the authentication / bogus error process. How is it possible to prevent a user with read-only rights in SharePoint from seeing the "Check out" option in Word or Excel?
I posted this to the MSDN forum for Sharepoint general questions. (I've got a private bet with myself that someone will tell me this is supposed to be posted to an MS Word discussion group instead.)
Update 4/28/10 - I tested this with SharePoint 2010 and Word 2010 - For a document from a read-only document library, Word does not display a "check out" button, and does not allow the user to check out the document from the File menu. The document is displayed as a read-only document.
To note - for a user with Site Collection Administrator or higher rights, even on a document library where that user's rights are Read, it appears that Word does allow the Admin-level user to go through the steps of checking out the document (from the File menu), and even displays the document with the checked-out icon in the document library. When the user makes a change to the document and tries to save the document back to the document library, this message is displayed in Word:
To further complicate matters, if the Admin-level user tries to check the document back in, "Discard check out" is not displayed, only "Check out." If the Admin-level user checks out and then discards that checkout, changes that user made to the document are saved. Strange behavior of which SP administrators should be aware.
This blog was inspired by tonight's discussion at the Boston KM Forum.
In my work with clients who are implementing a knowledge management platform, I see the same scenario again and again:
The client has a lot of disorganized:
"I can't find anything!"
So the client does this:
Then they say:
"I get too many results! It's a big pile of junk!"
So they do one or more of the following:
When what might really help is this:
i.e., add a person.
A human to bridge the gap between the content and the people who need it.
Gian Jagai, who spoke tonight about his role as a Knowledge Manager, mentioned the need for a Community Coordinator, to facilitate the knowledge shared in a Community of Practice.
Dan Galant, the instructor of the Mindsharp course I recently took, said "Sharepoint is going to bring back Library Sciences," and that the best implementations he's seen are the ones where the organization hired a librarian to come in and organize the content.
They're both talking about the same thing – the need for a human to vet the content, to link information and technology and the user community. I'm not saying anything new here, but most of the organizations I work with don't have this role, and aren't planning to hire for it. Yet here are just a few of the ways this person could improve knowledge management at a company:
One of the main things I've learned from working with SharePoint is that no matter how well you set up this tool, and no matter how many features it has for facilitating knowledge management, the customer probably won't be satisfied if they are relying on the technology alone to do what they need it to do.
Unfortunately, the folks with whom I work most closely and feel this lack of user satisfaction most acutely are influencers rather than decision-makers, with no authority to hire this community / content coordinator.
I don't know the answer, but I want to start recommending this role as part of the SharePoint team my clients will need as they roll out their collaborative portals.
Thanks, KM Forum, for a great discussion!
I just learned this from a colleague who learned it at a SharePoint Developer class: When you create a custom Content Type for a document template, and add custom metadata fields to it, you can insert the metadata values into your Word document as Quick Parts.
Several elements need to be in place to make this work smoothly. In my example:
Then, with the document still open in Word, I was able to choose Insert -> Quick Parts from the ribbon, and my "Opportunity" field is available.
If the metadata field is already filled in for the document, you will see the actual data appear in your document (just as when you add the a Date field and today's date appears).
If the metadata field is empty, you can type the information into the document field, and you will see it will appear in the Properties (Server) window in the ribbon..
Lots of potential for bringing your paper forms online and ensuring better metadata compliance!
Update 9/8/08:I am not aware of a way to insert these document properties into an Excel spreadsheet in a similar manner.
Everyone has their list of Web Resources They Can't Live Without. In terms of SharePoint customization and web design in general, here's mine.
Heather Solomon - blog / website
Create a custom list form
Create a publishing page layout
IE Developer Toolbar
Visibone Colorlab – web-safe color picker
RGB to Hexidecimal Color Converter
Color palette generator
List of SharePoint-Based Public Websites
The CSS Zen Garden
I recently was in contact with Mark Miller at endusersharepoint.com. He's putting together some great material on content types, which is available through a free weekly newsletter. I highly recommend subscribing; here's an installment re: site columns and content types, which Mark gave me permission to share with my blog audience.
There are not many end-user-focused sites out there for SharePoint; this one is a really valuable resource with a down-to-earth point of view. Check out, for example, "How come I keep seeing that *^!#ing authentication screen?"
- T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot (1888–1965). From Eliot’s doctoral dissertation in philosophy; submitted to Harvard in 1916.