The Everything 2.0 Discussion – the Real Issue

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by: Sigurd Rinde

Been itching to jump into the 2.0 discussion but have held back as I am a bit counter-every-theory… but why the heck not, risking much head shaking allow me a quick brain dump on one aspect of everything 2.0:

Work is a process, tasks in a sequence. Any type of process requires a framework, just like water will have to find the riverbed to become a river. No framework no process, even if the framework only resides in your head when doing the weekend chores. 

The framework we have for people processes/manual processes/knowledge work/Barely Repeatable Processes is first of all the organisational hierarchy to distribute and control work, plus the usual building blocks like deadlines, budgets, meetings (the most important cornerstone) and double-entry-bookkeeping (basis for the ubiquitous "data models"). 

With that framework controlling the processes, delivering work and organising feedback we have system which youngest part is only 514 year old, oldest harks back to before pen and paper. And the framework-science; management theory, has not made huge strides since the Roman Army despite Harvard Business School, McKinsey, BCG and 40,000 management handbooks in print at any time. Dilbert is not the only one unhappy with that framework.

With Everything 2.0 hope arrived, and many threw themselves onto it seeing how these methods often allows work to happen outside the hierarchical framework. It felt good for awhile, and everybody talked about the dawn of something new. 

In 2005 Hugh told us "somebody asked me to explain why corporate blogging works" talking about the membranes surrounding different parts of the organisation and suggested that "Blogs punch holes in membranes like like it was Swiss cheese". Precisely. 


There is one thing missing; such methods do not deliver a new framework. And without a framework no process. And without process, no enterprise. 

Take a wiki – I often use the term "sandbox", fascinating place to be, but not much process-wise; little or no process ownership and thus no progress accountability. Excellent though as single task, single question, single write-up methodology – Wikipedia, SAP’s SDN/BPX and in my early Linux days; the butt-saving newsgroups.

Actually, being even more "counter" than Dennis who in a guest post solicited this comment from Tim O’Reilly: "Dennis, this post demonstrates a shocking ignorance of what Web 2.0 is really all about. It’s the move to the internet as platform…" 

In my reality Dennis understands very well what it’s about – an ignorance for what enterprise is about; a social group with a purpose that requires sequential tasks. An environment that is fully dependent on a process framework – the context and process he calls for – and the Web 2.0 does not deliver that. At best it is a set of nice and useful single-task tools and the "internet as platform" is pretty much a non-core issue and beside the point.

Ah, well, just had to pipe in…  🙂

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