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

June 9, 2000

04 00067 61 00060901

Mr. Lee Iverson
SRI International
333 Ravenswood Avenue
Menlo Park, CA 94025

Subject:   Changes Need Accountability
OHS ZWiki at Bootstrap

Dear Lee,

Responding to your letter today, good to see progress with ZWiki. The initial rendering shows a lot of potential to accomplish Doug Engelbart's request to enhance project communications by adding linking in email, noted most recently on June 1, 2000 at SRI. It is a strong first step on pilot testing starter technologies that can empower the project team, proposed on May 4, 2000.

To experiment, I started to put Eric's Atomic Data Structures, submitted separately from v0.8, as reported on June 5, 2000, into the section for Data Structures in your new ZWiki environment. This aligned with incorporating the same material in my set of Eric's spec's, per his instruction in a letter, also, on June 5, and stating that each team member is playing the role of DKR/OHS system.

The effort was relatively smooth, providing a significant sense of new capability that can empower the team. Empowerment has a lot of potential to improve the work, reported on May 10, 1997.

Decided to pull back, however, because the record on July 7, 1997 shows empowerment without accountability tends to diminish quality, causing errors, extra cost and delay that leads to entropy. If anyone is empowered to quickly and easily enter anything they feel might go here or there, we would have a mess, akin to allowing anyone to modify the design of a car or a house. Not sure I would want to take that car out for a spin, or trust the roof in a house constructed by such a method. The point I am leading toward is responsibility and accountability. We have been discussing Eric's requirements in meetings and correspondence, and then Eric has exercised professional judgment in assessing the record, and deciding what to add or remove from the requirements, as he did recently on June 5, 2000.

Sometimes a better design emerges if assessments are done collaboratively, analysis of pros and cons are entered in the record with attribution, as called out in the current draft, and then judgments by assigned professionals about what to incorporate in the official work product, such as a product specification, are made based on the record. Since, the DKR project has not had time to follow that procedure, Eric has done an outstanding job in the absence of support.

Perhaps there is a place in the DKR for ZWiki allowing anyone to amend a knowledge resource, but product specs is not the place to start.

Therefore, recommend a procedure whereby we continue to discuss through email or the pending Zope methods, and that requirements, glossary, use cases, or whatever, be assigned to individuals and teams, who have sole responsibility to publish project work product, subject to review and approval of DKR management, as it eventually develops. Such assignments should be made in writing, going back to Eugene's presentation on March 30, 2000 explaining accountability is a good practice for project governance.

A powerful use of ZWiki, or any accessible web site, is to have a systematic way to put anchors in the record, so that requirements, definitions, use cases, etc., can be easily cited in communications and related work product. This builds a common culture by allowing everyone to work from common resources. The more people rely on the record, the more valuable it becomes, and this builds interest in wanting to influence its content. Such influence, however, needs careful management.

Just some thoughts.



Rod Welch