E2.0 Stag Party

An Enterprise 2.0 project is sufficiently different from a traditional knowledge management or IT project that it can be a little disconcerting at first. Some experts recommend what seems like a 1960s free love approach — anything goes and, by the way, I’m ok and you’re ok. At the other extreme are the traditionalists who believe that introducing any innovation within an organization requires lots of constraints to ensure safety.

If you’re starting a new E2.0 project, which approach do you take?   Neither.

I’d like to commend to you the “stag party” approach described by Ron Donaldson in his post Lines in the Sand.  He starts with the following statement:

A complex system requires boundary conditions, not too tight that they constrain and not too loose as they allow unacceptable behaviours.

He then goes on to list the rules his son’s friends agreed on to govern their stag weekend.  You should read these rules.  They are both funny and intensely pragmatic. Ron Donaldson called them “[b]rilliant, self organising, self regulating and in everyone’s best interests.”

Coming back to your E2.0 deployment, can you reduce your concerns  to a small handful of rules? What minimums does Mum (or, as is most likely in your case, senior management) require?  Do these rules protect the most vulnerable and valuable while still permitting sufficient flexibility for learning, growth and enjoyment?

From his postmortem of the stag weekend, it’s clear that the rules worked.  Everyone behaved appropriately for the context and, while there were some perfectly predictably after-effects, everyone survived and even enjoyed the experience.

It seems to me that if we can ensure that with our E2.0 deployments, we’ll have done pretty well.  What do you think?

[Photo Credit: Jack Spellingbacon]

Share

2 thoughts on “E2.0 Stag Party

  • July 15, 2010 at 3:20 pm
    Permalink

    Vaguely reminds me of Asimov's “Three Laws of Robotics”:

    1. A robot may not injure a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

    2. A robot must obey any orders given to it by human beings, except where such orders would conflict with the First Law.

    3. A robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Law.

    Not to trivialize, either. You are making what I think is a very important point regarding the need for some direction or guidance when venturing off in uncharted territory, which is what an E2.0 project or implementation is. We wouldn't set off on a trek in unfamiliar woods without a compass and a map. To do otherwise would be foolish, even dangerous. On the other hand, it isn't necessary to have one's trip limited to a particular path regardless of what happens or what is encountered along the way.

    BTW – “If the tent's rocking don't come knocking” seems a bit ribald for a Mother & Father not to worry a bit about, eh? I swear, I'm not a prude. Just sayin'.

  • July 16, 2010 at 4:21 am
    Permalink

    Rick –

    Personally, I prefer another set of rules I once saw posted on a wall:

    1. No matter what the issue, remember that your wife is always right.

    2. When in doubt, refer to Rule #1.

    All joking aside, thanks for the reminder of Asimov's laws. In that
    case as in this one, the important thing is to craft a set of
    guidelines that are proportionate to the true (rather than perceived)
    risk, bearing in mind that humankind has survived extraordinary
    challenges before and will certainly survive E2.0.

    – Mary

    VMaryAbraham
    AboveandBeyondKM.com

Comments are closed.