We (love to) hate standards!

When you grow from a small group to a larger tribe of professionals working towards a common goal, you have to start agreeing on procedures and protocols to hand over tasks between individuals and groups.

Whether you work in parallel, or in serial with other groups; whether information is exchanged frequently (agile), or handed over to another group (waterfall), you need to have clear communication standards established.

There exists a pertinent need for documented standards, which everyone involved understands and agrees to.  And…it’s the agreement to standards where conflict often arises. Imagine working on standards, without the consent from all the stakeholders. Or worse, implementing standards without getting input from all parties involved or affected by the change.

One thing is clear, it is better to have some sort of standard than none. It is equally problematic to have more than one standard, with every group having one for themselves. In those situations, its a challenge for groups to adhere to a common standard, since they are already attached to the one that they created.

Yet, a common standard would eventually make it easier for all groups to work in sync, and reduce the transaction cost of information exchange. People will spend less time translating the data and/or reworking it. Consistency in information format, when coming from any group, will help make the final output look cohesive to an external agency consuming the output.

Eventually, everyone would embrace the common standard, and start to ‘love’ it…or will they!?

Calendaring

calendar-150x150Calendaring is a big beast to tackle in any organization, specially if there are multiple sites and platforms involved.

Do you host it in house? Or use hosted services? Or use web based solutions?

Google has a great, free to try and use, calendaring solution for small businesses. Once setup for your organization, Google (Apps) can bring in much needed collaboration tools. Now, you can use any flavor web browser to use the services, irrespective of the OS platform. You can also use it on many handheld devices as well.

The challenge comes in when you try and integrate it into your existing desktop applications like Outlook, iCal, etc.

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Technology consulting for the AEC community