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Posts tagged ‘collaboration’

Giving Good Feedback

One area I am attempting to become better at is giving feedback to both my peers, those whose work I supervise, and those I work for. I am a very analytical person and I have come to realize that I tend to observe a pattern and then try to digest it rather than simply expose that pattern. In other words, I’m looking for the answer. So I am working to simply give timely feedback to people rather than give them the answer.

Obviously there is much more to feedback than this small example. A recent article called “The art (and science) of giving good feedback” outlines a few rules for making feedback useful. To do this, it has to not only be timely and specific, but also not demotivating to the person receiving it. One surprising anecdote in rule #3 says to “praise the actions, not the individual.” This seemed somewhat strange, but in fact reinforces the things that made the person successful, thus giving some reference point to look back to when trouble is encountered.

The article has several other great rules and advice. Check it out: The art (and science) of giving good feedback

Mapping Facebook to Real Life

The social software of the Internet has been a real curiosity for me over the past 3 years. People are essentially putting their entire social life on display without giving it a second thought. Things that were once kept amongst a close knit group of friends are now being shared with total strangers without a second thought.

Looking at this a step further, relationships are being built in cyberspace in ways that would NEVER take place in the real world. Could you imagine having a conversation with someone 140 characters at a time in real life? And what exactly does the “Poke” button on Facebook do? Here is a quick video showing you what real life would be like if it actually mimicked Facebook. Enjoy!

Privacy Threats Are Abound

Facebook quizzes seem relatively harmless. But a recent app the ACLU put together as a quiz demonstrates the amount of information you make available when you take the quiz to find out what Wizard of Oz character you are. The article cited below notes that “Once details about your personal life are collected by a quiz developer, who knows where they could end up or how they could be used. Shared? Sold? Turned over to the government?”

While these questions may seem alarmist, the report certainly sheds light on exactly what is private on Facebook – really nothing. You may think you are only sharing photos and information with your friends, but the reality is that you shouldn’t put anything on Facebook that you do not want shared with the entire world.

Read More -> Facebook knows too much, ACLU says in warning of quizzes

Welcome to Amateur Hour

Bhutan — Gong – Rinpung Dzong
Originally uploaded by sgluskoter

IBM yesterday announced that it is reverting to the pre-y2k licensing model for Lotus Notes whereby everyone would be entitled to the developer client for free. In many ways this is a good move on their part. My first experience beyond the Notes mail client was building a knowledge base for our fledgling software support group back in 1996. I was at an insurance underwriter with 33 different versions of software and no coherent way to collect and share solutions. Lotus Notes was the answer and the development tools were built right in. 

Thinking back to those days though, I remember some of the pains of everyone having a developer client. Users were within a few clicks of hosing their mail file (you had top level ACL permissions to your mail file so you could change anything you like). Then there were the “power users” that would throw together some little app and expect to throw it out on the server. That wasn’t that big of a deal in 1996 – LotusScript was new and over the heads of non-programmers. But today, there are a lot of people in corporate America that fiddle with javascript mashups and the like and I think we will see some of these folks end up with a Designer client on their desktop.

So my question to you is this – are you ready for amateur hour? Do you have your servers sufficiently locked down to prevent publishing of unapproved databases? Think about it – it’s not difficult to write some LotusScript or Java code, deploy it to what is thought to be a hardened server, and gain access to the CEO’s mail file. All cleverly disguised as an app based on the discussion template.

My advice is this: Harden the crap out of your server. There should be one, maybe two names explicitly on the server doc allowed to create new databases or new replicas. And you should have a gong. Set up a gong in your little area and make a game out of publishing requests. Have the requesters come demonstrate their apps to you (you do have a separate development environment, right?). And dance around with a mallet. For better instructions, watch this video clip and you’ll see the band’s day end at the 57 second mark with the gonging.

Just an idea. Have fun and be safe out there, kids.

Be Careful With Your Online Footprint

There have been many articles over the past couple of years telling you to watch what you say online. The same holds true for who you associate with. Your Facebook, My Space, Blogger, etc. pages are burned into the archival powers of the Internet for years to come. You are leaving footprints every step of the way. Many have warned that this information may be used against you when applying for jobs. And that is true – I know hiring managers that will do a quick Google on your name before hiring you (note to self: take down picture of me & Michael Phelps).

We are starting to see incidents of companies disciplining employees for their online behavior. Offending postings don’t have to be made on your employer’s computers or networks and they may well be made during your personal time. While you may think the constitution protects your freedom of speech, it only does so to the extent that the government won’t stop you from expressing yourself. If the private sector takes umbrage with your words, they are free to dole out the discipline. It would be just like dis’ing your friend – he wouldn’t be pleased, why should your employer be any different?

A recent article expoesed this phenomenon in the world of journalism. A reported had sent ‘Friend’ requests to managers so that they would join his Facebook page. Only, they weren’t really his friend. In fact, one turned him in for his ciriticism of the company. A News Media Guild representative summed up the situation:


“We have seen about six Facebook problems over the last two months, with employees — maybe managers you have as friends — reporting potential issues to management,” union guild chief Kevin Keane wrote in a memo to union members last week. “You must be careful who you allow on as friends.”


To take it a step further, you need to really be aware of the friend of a friend concept and not put anything negative out on these social networks. I know you still will, but I at least warned you.

Read More –> AP Reporter Reprimanded For Facebook Post; Union Protests

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