Darwinistic Information Management - Native Work Habits vs Reality of Systems

By John Brunswick posted 03-21-2011 13:46


Coffee cups hold tremendous insight into information management (besides holding my favorite beverage).  While cleaning my office desk last week I had a revelation about how we manage our physical items versus information within our KM activities.  A series of coffee cups, old airplane tickets and some physical mail were no longer relevant to my needs at hand and I placed them in the waste bin.  Other items like client notes were filed for later use.  The final items on my desk remained as reminders of pending activity.

All items in question had undergone Darwinistic Information Management.

I did not methodically choose which items stayed on my desk - my primal needs at that given moment in time had.  You may be asking what this has to do with document management.

Why do we give all Information an Equal Voice within our electronic systems of record?

How much time do you spend filtering and sorting when browsing or searching within a document management system only to have you eyes skim over row after row of completely stale data.  It is painful and time consuming.

Reflecting on this new view of information surrounding me, we give equal screen real estate, user interface controls, etc to all information, regardless of its actual significance to a task that we are attempting to achieve at the moment.  What can be done to help increase our work efficiency and get us back to nature?

  1. Life Raft Test - You are on a sinking ship.  If someone told you that you could only take X amount of data onto a life raft - what would you take?  This is probably a good indicator of what should actual fall under the category of being available for retention.  You can take these results and place them into practice on your actual data to clear the the clutter.
  2. Artifacts vs Perishable Content - certain materials inherently require retention for future reference, materials like ad-hoc collaboration assets may not require any sort of long term retention.  Identify the ones that don't and purge them periodically - these are the coffee cups.  I elaborate more on this concept in a discussion of Content Migration Strategies.
  3. Time Sensitive Browse and Search - some of this will be left upon various software vendors to implement within their solutions, but any times that you can help to guide a user based on date of information.  End users will be able to more quickly locate materials that they have been working through by using relative times of when the materials were last touched.  Generally as people work, the scope of their efforts may expand beyond a single document, again why ranges of time relevancy are important.  Perhaps it would be possible to shade certain results in a series of rows based on this?

With all of the thought placed into information management, I suggest we occasionally turn back to our animal instincts to see what they suggest.


#ElectronicRecordsManagement #ContentManagement #enterprise2.0 #retention