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Ways of working

Best practices?

There is much talk in certain circles about "best practices" in the use of telematics. Such "best practices" are generally seen as a series of rules elaborated by experts about how things best be done by users. As such they constitute a relatively rigid system that is not only hard to enforce but often quite inappropriate in a fast evolving context. In addition, such "best practices" pay little or no attention to the user as the most important source of ways of working. Despite this, increased attention has to be paid to how we develop new ways of working not only as an arm in a highly competitive world but also as a way of ensuring that the use made of new tools be appropriate to us and our world.

The most flexible and appropriate approach to developing ways of working would be to enable and empower users to do it themselves. Three steps would be involved:

  1. Raising awareness of perceptions of ways of working;
  2. Becoming articulate about those perceptions in exchange with others;
  3. Developing new ways of working and recommendations for improvements in infrastructure and regulatory structure to facilitate those ways of working.

To illustrate how this might work, let me tell a short story. A manager of a large organisation told me she planned to encourage employees not to print out documents available on the internal information system because she felt it was unnecessary and wasteful. I asked her why people printed out such documents. To keep a tangible record. To be able to read it thoroughly. To be able to make notes directly on the printed pages. Imposing a no-print rule would conceal these valid reasons and would probably not be efficient. Yet each of these reasons points to a problem that can be solved relatively easily and in such a way that less material would be printed.

Time has to be taken to question our perceptions of the way we use the Net and to discuss it with others. In doing so developing new and more effective ways of working will come naturally.

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ISSN: 1664-834X Copyright © , Alan McCluskey,
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Created: June 10th, 1996 - Last up-dated: June 10th, 1996