Keeping Projects on Track

Just last week, a colleague asked me to run down a few of my experiences about projects that go awry. Here are a handful that we have observed:

1. Inconsistent team participation – This is especially true of longer term projects. One of the worst things that can happen is to have team members turn over. So much of a project is about context and getting people to share a common understanding of the problem and solution. When team members (whether internal people or external resources) turn over, it is very difficult to achieve a consistent understanding of that context and the direction of the project.

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The Physics of Friendship

The Physics of Friendship Science and technology news
By comparing people to mobile particles randomly bouncing off each other, scientists have developed a new model for social networks. The model fits with empirical data to naturally reproduce the community structure, clustering and evolution of general acquaintances and even sexual contacts.

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Taxonomies and change: the nature of the beast

An interesting problem was posed to a mailing list I am a part of…

Imagine that you have been using a single hierarchy to structure and organize your information for years, and it has been very successful up until now…

But now it is time to move to a different content management system, and not only that – business has changed (of course), and not every way of organizing and understanding the information could possibly have been anticipated. (Or perhaps you did anticipate some, but for practical matters limited the amount of metadata you might apply to content.) So you have new ways that users want to search and navigate, but never considered these at the start. What do you do?

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Two new free conference call series – Search and Content Management

I wanted to post a preliminary note about our new Jump Start calls planned for September and October.

Each series will consist of 4 – 90 minute calls each with 2 – 3 presenters who are experts and practitioners in their fields.

Here is the tentative schedule:

Content Management Jumpstart:

Each Monday 1:30 – 3:00 EST September 25th through October 16th – Topics will include:

  • The basics of content management
  • Building a content management business case
  • Content management frameworks & governance
  • Integrating content management with business processes
  • Tagging, metadata and taxonomies
  • Content publishing models & reuse
  • Personalization & targeted content
  • CMS selection & deployment
  • Web content management & syndicating content
  • Global content management

Search Solutions Jumpstart

Each Friday 1:30 – 3:00 EST, October 13th through November 3rd – Topics will include:

  • Business trends and search – the value of effective search and making the business case
  • Issues and challenges in deploying enterprise search solutions
  • The nuts & bolts – understanding and evaluating search tools
  • Issues in implementing search and building search applications
  • Tuning search systems
  • Evaluating search infrastructure
  • Integrating with taxonomies, tagging systems, etc
  • Complex federated search
  • Natural language queries and semantic search
  • Future developments in search

Register for any or all of the free sessions

Past attendees have considered our calls to be some of the best they have attended.

Design for social tagging

A few comments in the feedback surveys from last week’s Taxonomy Community of Practice call on social tagging demonstrated a growing interest in design for social media. Part of Rashmi Sinha‘s presentation during this call covered some key elements of design for social tagging, leaving our attendees wanting more!

We are hoping to have another call on social tagging in the near future, given this interest, but in the mean time, visit Rashmi’s blog to get her views on findability in tagging applications. She talks about faceted browsing interfaces, clustering, and pivot browsing.

There is also an interesting presentation on social information architeture by Gene Smith from nform (a Canadian user experience firm), originally given at a Webvisions 2006. Gene covers three main ingredients for social IA: capturing user actions, aggregation and display, and feedback. On page 24, he shows an interesting diagram which illustrates user actions on an axis of social intent and engagement.

Join the mailing list at to be notified when we will run the next free social tagging call!