Listening to Doug and His Documents
Doug's Legacy Lives Through Continuing Use of His Work
On November 5, Henry van Eykan explained work he is doing to
preserve Doug's life's work,
as a richly deserved legacy of leadership for innovation over the
past half-century, evidenced by Doug's award of the
National Medal for Technology
announced on November 9. Henry's goal is to make Doug's documents available
for research, so that the power and wisdom of Doug's ideas can encourage and
enlighten generations to come. This aligns with
recommendation on April 24 concurring with
Adam Cheyer's suggestion that the team
listen to Doug
about the mission of the DKR project. Recently, on November 15, Adam
again urged that the team "listen to Doug" about the definition and scope
of OHS and DKR, which is the culmination of Doug's work, by
relying on Doug's documents. .. At that time, Eric
asked about the documents
Adam had in mind, since Adam's
letter did not cite references. This is a strong point, because Doug
requested in his letter on October 25, that the team
comment by providing links
to relevant portions of the record. It was suggested in a
letter to Henry van Eykan on November 9 that linking current work to Doug's
documents is the best way to preserve his legacy, and, also, to ensure
as the best practice for evolving beyond Doug's original ideas,
within the meaning of bootstrapping.
.. Limited time, and personal knowledge of Doug's documents,
from a long history of working with Doug, likely caused Adam to
omit references to Doug's documents in
on November 15, and, again, on November 16, when Adam set out the
definition of DKR that calls for
reliance on the record, which inherently conflicts with Adam's
sole reliance on a telephone call with Doug. As well, limited time and a sense
of personal knowledge are probably the reasons Doug did not cite any of his
documents in the OHS Launch Plan, that calls for citing the record. When we are
busy, and feel that we "know" something, there is a lot of incentive
to take short cuts, by making unsupported assertions. Once Henry completes his
work, it will be easier to align the work with the record. However, it is not
clear that any of us will ever have more time, so it will likely forever be
easier to take short cuts on sound management practice, regardless of station or
personal commitment, as discussed in the
letter to the team
on September 20, 2000. Therefore, our only hope is to create tools that make
it faster and easier to use good practices, i.e., to get more done in less
time. This does not mean that we can create tools that make bad practices
successful. Therefore, we not only need tools, but also support to create a
culture of knowledge.
.. Of course everybody knows there is limited time, but many are unaware
that much of what we "know," in the moment, conflicts with the record. An
example is the letter on November 15 indicating documents that relate
to a "repository," are not available, and proposing a sensible
new idea of an
OHR. Since Henry has not completed
work on preserving Doug's documents, it is understandable
that people will overlook from time-to-time
the length and breadth of Doug's distinguished record.
In this case, however, Eric's letter on June 14, 2000 specifically cites Doug's
paper on January 1, 1998, Technology Template Project, as the
foundation for OHS, and it clearly describes a "repository" for
Dynamic Knowledge Capture.
That seems pretty close to a
Dynamic Knowledge Repository (DKR). At the same time, Doug's 1992 paper seems
just as clear, supporting Eric's idea, that the
OHS is the repository, i.e.,
there is no mention of a DKR, and "Groupware" sounds like the tool set.
Since Doug cited the 1992 paper on December 22,
1999, as the lead document for the Colloquium, there is some justification in
relying on it.
.. The aim here is not to quibble about documents, nor to resolve whether there is
to be a DKR, an OHR, or a DHR. The new core team will take up these issues in
earnest when they commence work after the first of next year, reported in the
meeting at SRI on October 17, 2000. Eric noted on August 24, that some people
are uncomfortable relying on archives. He, also, noted on November 16 that
consistent use of terminology is desirable, which necessarily requires relying
on the archives i.e., the repository, as he earlier proposed on April 24. Adam
called for listening to Doug on April 24, and recommended relying on
documents on November 16; yet, nowhere does Adam cite a document. On October
25, Doug requests that the team link to the record; yet, nowhere is there a
link in the OHS Launch Plan. Doug would likely agree that reliance on second
hand conversation is a not a sound basis for taking action, for the reasons set
out in the oldest manual on sound management practice: the Bible. It is full
of references, showing the
that is the core of augmenting
called out today in lofty manuals like
and in the OHS Launch Plan.
.. My aim is to discern if there is demand for tools that empower people to
follow good management practice, i.e., to perform Knowledge Management.
It sounds like there
might be, under this record, where everybody is calling for action that nobody
is taking. Andy Grove calls this
It seems to me, however, that the DKR
effort is more than that, so...
.. Here is a proposal.
I will license SDS for $300 per year, or sell it for $1,000. If anyone cannot
afford that price, in the interest of promoting Doug's important work, I will
give it away to individuals, so that we don't get bogged down in pricing
issues. We will enter into an agreement that any products which emerge as a
result of using SDS will entitle Welch to a nominal royalty, say between 1% -
5%, on revenues generated from using those products. This allows folks to
re-engineer, use the source code, or whatever, and create their own products
using open source, or a proprietary model, so long as they pass forward the
Welch entitlement to a royalty on revenues generated using the SDS core POIMS
capability for knowledge management support to work intelligently.
.. We may need more work on this scheme, but this is a start.
Once you have this power, you will be able to have fun making connections that
comprise KM, as you have seen in Welch webmail the past year. Training
required to apply the power of knowledge will be provided in group and
individual settings for a reasonable price. We actually need to formulate a
training program. You must recognize that SDS is not something you are going
to pick up in 20 minutes. If you want to do knowledge management, you have to
commit not only dollars, but time.
.. A major deliverable in purchasing SDS, will be the record of the DKR
project, and related records, so that folks start off with stuff to begin
linking and looking up, using the ontology (subjects), developed for the
project. If all you get is the SDS program, that is fairly sterile. But in
this case there is a large record that everyone has helped develop, which makes
it easier to get going doing Knowledge Management. This will answer a lot of
questions about how a DKR works, and how it relates to a tool set, which Doug
calls an OHS.
.. Training one person to learn Knowledge Management is hard, but training
many may be easier, because everyone can help each other. This means the first
few months people will begin communicating about how to use SDS, so everybody
gets up to speed. Some will want to jump out and start worrying about C++ and
the DOM, after the first day, others after the first week. We need to focus
first on learning Knowledge Management by doing knowledge Management with SDS
everyday creating communications like this letter that applies traceability to
original sources, for at least a month or so. Then we can begin to talk about
writing up requirements that might make use of XML and other methods to
strengthen the core of KM, and expand the scope to broader enterprise support.
.. There are some really big issues out ahead that nobody has ever
contemplated, except maybe Eric in his letter on January 25, 2000. He noted
that a connected environment will boggle the mind. I think there are some ways
to work through that issue, but it remains to be seen. All we can do is try.
.. I am not going to sell SDS individually. If only one or two people express
interest, that will be rejected. We need a group of folks working together for
this scheme to get off the ground. If that happens, then we need to meet and
work out the specific terms and planning for training that everybody can live
.. This provides a framework for gaining experience doing Knowledge
Management to accomplish the goals Doug has set for an OHS and DKR program.
It, also, empowers the team to begin incorporating Doug's life's work to guide
this project, and others, day-to-day. That is the lasting legacy Doug deserves
for carrying the torch of progress over the past half-century.