THE WELCH COMPANY
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 2003 18:02:39 -0700
03 00050 61 03041701
Mr. David J. Snowden
IBM Global Services
Proposal on SDS and Com Metrics
This is a proposal for IBM to consider SDS and Com Metrics as "solutions" that
provide products and services which add bottom line value to customers with an
ROI of 10:1. This high rate of return reflects the fact that knowledge is a
more powerful cognitive resource than people derive from current practice
relying on information technology like, email, meetings, Powerpoint, the
on September 20, 2002
requested an explanation of SDS and Com
Metrics that does not require clicking links. This letter has
links for the purpose of support and so do not require clicking
anything unless you wish to check original source or get more
information for context.
SDS and Com Metrics are fully explained in
Here is a short explanation from the record of a
presentation to PG&E on September 1, 1994.
Communication Metrics is a management science that uses the SDS
program for an intelligence support role to improve "knowledge"
work. The need for this role comes from limited time that
increases reliance on talking, which, in turn, reduces analysis.
Under current practice, constant meetings, calls and email
overwhelm human cognition, causing mistakes, stress and conflict.
communication the biggest risk in enterprise.
Every meeting, call, and email sows the seeds of error and crisis, as explained in
The Com Metrics support role can be thought of as a journalist
for management that uses the SDS program to keep a diary of daily
work. Alignment with objectives, requirements and commitments is
added to prevent drifting off course. This new role to align
daily communication complements the role of accounting that
aligns daily finances with budgets. Since communication is a
predicate to action, adding alignment saves a lot of time and
money; I call this role a
Communication Manager. (see NWO for more details)
This role has been used to support work on
Pacific Gas and Electric Company
(PG&E) for several projects; by the
US Army Corps of Engineers
(USACE), and in support of work
SRI for OHS/DKR. ..
USACE published a report on October 7, 1997
showing that Com Metrics
at the rate of 10:1.
The Com Manager uses the SDS program much like an accountant uses
a spreadsheet to align finances, and so SDS has been described as a
spreadsheet for knowledge,
as shown in POIMS and
discussed with Intel
on September 27, 1995.
SDS means "Schedule Diary System."
The design integrates time and information management through a
diary and a schedule that includes support for contacts,
documents and context. Support for "context," as you might
imagine, is complex, because it is both a science and a craft.
This is accomplished through a system of organic subject
structure that enables the user to organize free form information
so that relevant parts can be located quickly when needed. This
is commonly called "meta data" in KM circles, however, as near as
can be determined, efforts using meta data fall far short of
requirements for context management enabled by SDS.
SDS is implemented with eight steps that improve listening to
understand and follow up new information from meetings, calls and
documents, per Drucker's article in the
reviewed on October 25, 1999, and an
on May 10, 1994.
These 8 steps provide a new way of working "intelligently" to
meet new realities that require greater attention to analysis,
reviewed on November 20, 1993
noting the overwhelming tendency to
omit analysis, reviewed on June 9, 1994.
Using SDS for Communication Metrics entails...
"Report" like a journalist, capture the story of calls,
meetings and documents (e.g., email) in the flexible
structure of SDS records that create Knowledge Space for
constructing and preserving organizational memory showing
the chronology of cause effect, see
"Organize" - develop and assign organic subject structure
for managing context to expand span of attention and
discover correlations, implications and nuance used for
steps 1, 3 and 4. SDS makes organizing fast and easy to
save time finding information quickly and accurately when
needed that improves remembering only the gist of the story. see
See also tending the
Garden of Knowledge. ..
"Analyze" - write a story to give data and information
meaning in relation to time (sequence), needs and values, so
that understanding cause and effect is comprehensive and
consistent rather than fragmentary and conflicting relative
to history, objectives, requirements and commitments, see
"Align" details of daily work with links to history,
context, correlations, implications and nuance that disclose
gaps in understanding and conflicts that can be corrected to
refine accuracy that avoids mistakes and discovers
opportunities for saving time and money. see
"Summary" provides perspective with multiple views of
meaning that save time by enabling people to understand large
quantities of information and decide when to pause for
studying more detail, see
Action Items drawn from analysis and alignment are managed
comprehensively and in context to plan follow up. see
Schedule tasks to implement planning for timely follow up.
POIMS. .. After doing 7 steps to "be prepared" then provide.....
"Feedback" - respond to email and other communication that
refines accuracy of knowledge; and, perform action items
discovered through steps 1 - 5. Link response to the SDS
Knowledge Space for clear, concise, complete communication
that builds shared meaning with triangulation of...
actions taken and planned
These 8 steps sound complex when written out, but people
ordinarily do all of them albeit mostly in their head. The SDS
program provides an environment where a greater share of common
mental tasks can be externalized for crafting and refining
accuracy through a simple plan, perform, report "intelligence"
process that is facilitated by the flexible structure of SDS.
to you on September 18, 2002
addressed your question on June 10, 2002
asking how many people have purchased SDS. At that time you were
not familiar with Com Metrics support services.
Subsequently, IBM's work marketing
solutions that consist of
products and services came to light on July 30, 2002
and so may justify
consideration along the following lines...
I delayed following up your request on Septyember 20, 2002
about SDS, because in September I began supporting a new person,
Gary Johnson, using SDS at Boeing. This yielded experience on
the level of effort for training and support to develop skill
using SDS and providing Com Metrics services.
Gary has recently reported that SDS is making an impact at
a few days ago on 030413 says in part...
"Part of the power in the SDS design is connecting elements that
are related based on where you are in knowledge space and what
you are doing there. The flexible structure of SDS, explained in
Rod's record on 890523, ref SDS 1 P13O, makes creating
connections fast and easy, and this in turn reveals more
connections that are helpful, but are otherwise overlooked in the
absence of having a fast and easy way to make connections. In
other words, understanding cause and effect from
linking one thing we know to another is a self-reinforcing
dynamic that continually refines understanding to avoid mistakes
and discover opportunities." ..
Gary's experience transitioning from conventional work practice
to doing Knowledge Management with SDS suggests a possible nexus
with IBM's efforts to market "solutions" that entail products and
Organizations like DOD, IBM, Boeing, Intel, Microsoft,
Proctor and Gamble, Lockheed, Safeco, what ever is left of Enron,
et al, want better earnings. This requires better management
which is a "solutions" opportunity. SDS and Communication
Metrics offer a powerful story that can complement IBM's current
products and services, i.e., "solutions."
In an earlier letter I pointed out that
IBM has previously considered SDS,
and on November 14, 1994
made plans for marketing along the lines in point 4. ..
Later IBM decided to purchase Lotus Notes. Experience on that
initiative over the past 9 years or so has shown that IBM's ideas in November
of 1994 for using SDS to provide KM support are not easily
implemented with other tools, shown by the record on November 30, 2000
slow progress with Raven. ..
As a result, consideration might be given to make a follow up review that
picks up where the prior team left off in order to go forward
with a new SDS effort at IBM. Marketing expertise and customer
channels offer an ideal opportunity for IBM to provide a powerful
new solution of Com Metrics
support and training services to
complement the SDS program.
On July 29, 2002
SRI endorsed SDS
as a unique KM solution, saying in
"Based on experience interacting with SDS records prepared for
Doug Engelbart's OHS/DKR team that was meeting at SRI, shown in
your record on October 17, 2000, I
believe SDS technology and related work practices aim to
accomplish a large part of what is commonly called Knowledge
"We are currently looking for an appropriate research project to
experimentally deploy SDS. I believe research is appropriate for
SDS at this time. While interacting with the record demonstrates
self-evident benefits, those not directly involved retain
appropriate skepticism about the viability of adding anything new
to daily communications."..
SRI's recognition that SDS offers a
new way of working
model of providing a "solution" that requires both tools (SDS)
and services (Com Metrics) along with training an support.
Putting marketing savvy and muscle behind any initiative
increases the chance that new ideas will sprout up faster and
stronger. For example, if Gary Johnson were performing Com
Metrics at Boeing under the support of IBM, this would provide
considerable weight and visibility to ensure that near term
cultural sieches and personalities do not cause an arbitrary end
before benefits begin to acquire a self-sustaining dynamic.
By copy, I am notifying Ross Armstrong who supported the prior
effort with IBM. Bill DeHart sponsored SDS at PG&E and supported
the meeting with IBM on 941114.
Gary Johnson can be contacted directly about his experience using
SDS at Boeing, as can Morris Jones at Intel, who has contributed
since 1983. As well Pat Lincoln at SRI can be contacted for
details on SRI's experience with SDS.
Finally, on several occasions you have asked for feedback on your excellent
paper Complex Acts of Knowing... Careful
is in the record on
June 8, 2002.
In sum, you follow the literature pretty well by showing how lack
of a coherent theory of knowledge presents an innovation loop
that stifles progress within the KM community. Your idea of
"knowledge" as a "flow" and "thing" is supported by experience
using SDS; and, further, your support for "stories" as a building
block of knowledge leads in a fruitful direction.
.. Thanks very much for consideration.