440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700

Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2000 13:18:49 -0800

03 00050 61 00122201

Mr. Pat Lincoln
Computer Science Laboratory
SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Subject:   Improving SRI Management

Dear Pat,


Thanks again for coordinating with Vicky, following up my letter to you yesterday.

Vicky has responded by proposing meeting next year, so that is a slight step forward.

One of the more difficult aspects of KM for folks to grasp is that improving management is one part tools, and two parts people, per the letter to Curt yesterday. One part of the two parts people, is growing a cadre of Com Managers who can pilot the tools to generate intelligence.

The second part is leadership that recognizes the first part is generally not welcome in the beginning, so folks need help to deal with the emotional shock of introducing a player, who helps everyone else work better.

This leadership "help" can come in the form of directions, guidance and suggestions that are often Machiavellian in character, because we have to influence conduct, and we want it to be voluntary, so it is more likely to have the requisite enthusiasm needed for success.

So, here is my Machiavellian idea for the day. Having an open ended plan to meet next year, has about a 1% chance of ever improving anything at SRI. We can bump that up 10 fold, to 10%, which is still not much, as follows....

Call Vicky and say you would like to attend the meeting with Rod. You have these days available...., will any of them work with her schedule? Maybe she needs to call others she wants to attend, but the point is ask her to propose a specific date, so other stuff can be scheduled around it. You personally don't have to attend the meeting, we are just looking for a nice way to accomplish a hard fact of Communication Metrics. Recall Com Metrics is implemented by SDS. The Schedule Diary System recognizes that improving management begins with scheduling time, because time is the critical factor that distinguishes knowledge from information, and so is the core "metric" of conduct; and conduct impacts productivity and earnings, which is the purpose of the exercise.

I called and talked to Curt this morning. He received my letter on the event for Doug on Wednesday, and confirming Curt's offer to meet, but said he has not read it.

Com Metrics and SDS will be shocking for Curt, as it is for everybody in the beginning. But, if SRI wants to improve management, there has to be willingness to change conduct, introduce alignment and accountability. It turns out that fear of accountability turns into gold by getting credit for getting things done. But, in the beginning, people don't know that until they get experience with Com Metrics. So, we will keep our fingers crossed that Curt engages this opportunity.

As we have discussed, KM is really a research project, so it should be ideal for SRI to research per the letter on October 11, 2000. What could be simpler?

I know this is a long letter. Thanks for considering these ideas.

Happy holidays, and best wishes.



Rod Welch


  1. DeHart, Bill,
  2. Jones, Morris E.,
  3. Park, Jack,
  4. Welch, Millie,