THE WELCH COMPANY
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111-2496
415 781 5700
S U M M A R Y
DIARY: October 3, 1990 10:06 AM .......;
Called Ross re exchanging cpu's; discussed SDS; called Jeff re SDS.
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0202 - Seawest Company O-00000420 0201
020201 - Mr. Jeffery S. Ghilardi O-00000420 0201
020202 - Vice President
020204 - Project Development O-00000420 0201
Loan to Ross to learn SDS 900520
0503 - ..
0504 - Summary/Objective
050501 - Follow up
050503 - Talked to Glenda, she will ask Ross to call back.
050506 - ..
0508 - 1431 Ross called back
050901 - Advised Millie and I are going to Sacramento Friday evening, and
050902 - would like to stop by and pick up the computer and take to
050903 - Sacramento. We will deliver his computer to him on Sunday on the way
050904 - back from Sacramento.
Product scope analysis
Help & Profile system
Learning SDS on the Job Frustrating Need Company Support
Overkill Accurate Communication Less Important than Accurate Fiancial
MBA Degree Supported by Company Need Similar Support for SDS Otherwis
Learn SDS Gradually Immediate Benefits Encourage Faith, Ross Armstron
Learn Flexible Structure Difficult Complex Powerful Frustrating
MBA Paid Learn SDS Like Companies Support Getting an MBA Degree Learn
Literacy Takes Time to Learn Children Paid to Learn Not Expected to b
571401 - ..
571402 - Sent these remarks to Ross and Jeff, ref DIT 1 and 2, so they can
571403 - comment as they feel appropriate. As well, Ross asked about the view
571404 - of others on the difficulty in learning SDS, so Jeff's comment should
571405 - be poignant. Jeff, asked about how sequential discussions on the same
571406 - topic are handled. This record illustrates the procedure.
571409 - ..
5717 - Discussion with Ross.
571801 - I asked Ross if the memos sent to him correctly represent his views
571802 - about using SDS?
571804 - ..
571805 - He said the memos are generally accurate. He asked the purpose of the
571806 - inquiry?
571808 - ..
571809 - We reviewed our meeting on 900809 where Ross seemed to indicate SDS
571810 - supports a variety of tasks that are not common to other programs, nor
571811 - to standard management practice. ref SDS 3 3M4H and ref SDS 3 4L7F
571812 - More recently on 900819, he indicated that other software programs
571813 - support SDS capabilities, and so SDS isn't really helpful relative to
571814 - other tools that are easier to learn and fit with company culture.
571815 - ref SDS 4 0001
571817 - ..
571818 - Ross said this is not his position.
571820 - ..
571821 - Ross noted that SDS has a lot of support that surpasses other systems
571822 - available at the company; but, even though added capability may
571823 - improve personal and organizational productivity, SDS is hard to
571824 - learn. The need to invest time for learning new skills discourages
571825 - using SDS on the job due to limited time for learning. Reduce the
571826 - learning curve, or provide time for learning - that would be great!
571827 - Otherwise people have to get by with what's available.
571829 - [On 910626 Ross making good progress using software and methods
571830 - other people are using at the company. ref SDS 5 AH6L
571832 - ..
571833 - [On 030826 Sean O'Keefe testified before Congress that corporate
571834 - culture in government and industry prevents improvement, causing
571835 - continued failure of the Space program managed by NASA.
571836 - ref SDS 8 8K4G
571838 - ..
571839 - Ross asked about the views of others on learning SDS?
571841 - ..
571842 - Everyone feels SDS is harder to learn than popular software, as Ross
571843 - and I discussed on 890809. ref SDS 1 MK4P For example, Morris Jones
571844 - at Chips and Technologies mentioned, also, on 890809 very similar
571845 - views about the challenge of retooling skills for applying integrated
571846 - functionality to improve productivity and earnings. ref SDS 2 6162
571848 - ..
571849 - I asked if using SDS to create a spreadsheet for knowledge that
571850 - "connects the dots" from daily working information into useful
571851 - knowledge is harder to learn than using Lotus 123 for doing a
571852 - spreadsheet on financial analysis, as explained in POIMS? ref OF 4
571853 - 0504
571855 - ..
571856 - Ross recalls learning Lotus 123 by using the manual in a few days.
571858 - ..
571859 - By contrast, Ross spent many late nights trying to learn SDS, but
571860 - could not use SDS well enough and this was frustrating, because while
571861 - everybody expects accuracy in numerical analysis that justifies extra
571862 - time and effort to learn new skills, people can get by remembering
571863 - only the gist of things on the job, because nobody can do any better.
571864 - Ross noted that without SDS nobody can achive accurate communication
571865 - the way spreadsheets enable accurate numerical analysis, so there is
571866 - no demand for people to improve, and this makes the effort to learn
571867 - SDS seem like overkill.
571869 - ..
571870 - Ross recalled a lot of time was spent in class when he got his MBA
571871 - degree on doing analysis with an "audit trail" for "traceability back
571872 - to original sources" to ensure accuracy of the work. He said this
571873 - sounds great in class; but on the job, nobody does this. He feels
571874 - that without SDS the amount of time required for good management
571875 - prevents common use, so there is no tradition on the job that creates
571876 - demand for accurate communication, like there is for accurate
571877 - numerical spreadsheets enabled, for example, by Lotus 123. He spent a
571878 - lot of time learning Lotus 123 because others were using it, and he
571879 - had to keep up in order to be competitive at work. Ross feels he is
571880 - as good or better than others remembering the gist of the story, so he
571881 - doens't have to learn SDS in order to keep up with others and get
571882 - ahead at the company. If SDS were easier to learn, or if the company
571883 - paid for training, like when he got an MBA degree, he would like to
571884 - use SDS. But learning to retool basic skills takes more time than he
571885 - has available while getting his work done, doing family matters, and
571886 - so on.
571888 - [On 910626 dynamics of learning management on the job over many
571889 - years of trial and error and observing others, makes re-tooling to
571890 - use good management skills seem like overkill. ref SDS 5 BO80
571892 - ..
571893 - Ross explained that the integrated design of SDS, where functions are
571894 - complementary so that each supports the other to improve productivity,
571895 - requires learning many things initially in order to accomplish
571896 - anything with SDS. Delay in being able to use SDS for getting actual
571897 - work done is frustrating in relation to expectations based on learning
571898 - other software in 20 mintues or so, as Ross noted previously on
571899 - 890809. ref SDS 1 5U6K The need to make an above average effort, in
571900 - fact way above average, in order to get above average results inhibits
571901 - making the effort to learn SDS, again echoing Morris' objection on
571902 - 890809 to learning integrated technology. ref SDS 2 6162
571904 - [On 910626 Ross making good progress using software and methods
571905 - other people are using at the company. ref SDS 5 AH6L
571907 - ..
571908 - Ross feels that an intuitive way to apply function keys would be a big
571909 - help, but observed that many functions in SDS are not availabe in
571910 - other programs, so users have no experience from which to intuit how
571911 - to apply SDS functions.
571913 - ..
571914 - Ross indicated that if the company paid managers to learn SDS for
571915 - improving communication, the way people are supported in getting an
571916 - MBA degree, then demand would grow to learn SDS for improving
571917 - productivity, earnings and stock prices. Without company support,
571918 - learning SDS seems too difficult on the job.
571920 - [On 931130 Ross' position is supported by Drucker saying people
571921 - have given up on improving communication. ref SDS 7 3851
571923 - ..
571924 - We reviewed the cost/benefit issue.
571926 - ..
571927 - So far, no one has used SDS enough to realize this capability expands
571928 - the power of basic literacy, which is the foundation of civilization
571929 - and so people cannot be expected to except on faith that SDS adds
571930 - power to the engine of productivity.
571932 - ..
571933 - Another factor that inhibits investing time to learn is that until
571934 - people have learned enough of SDS to create a data base of
571935 - organizational memory, the power of knowledge is not evident in using
571936 - SDS. This takes a number of months. Therefore, when people are
571937 - learning SDS on the job, and have specific tasks to get done each day,
571938 - in the beginning SDS merely sounds helpful, but cannot contribute to
571939 - getting things done for several months of learning and then creating a
571940 - record on the job. People who start out with skills can contribute
571941 - immediately, but there are very few people in the world with SDS
571942 - skills. Therefore, to the new user, the initial cost of time,
571943 - frustration and lack of progress are very real, while promises of
571944 - improved productivity seem remote and less majestic at 2:00 am, when
571945 - you shut down SDS after trying to figure out how to create a link, or
571946 - something else real simple that only takes two key strokes. When you
571947 - don't know those key strokes, there is no end to the amount of time
571948 - that can be expended trying to learn them.
571950 - ..
571951 - New users are seeing all cost and no reward, just like students in
571952 - school learning alphabet technology. The difference is that children
571953 - in school are not exected to get things done on the job, while
571954 - learning a new way of working.
571956 - ..
571957 - If the market believed that by spending several weeks learning SDS,
571958 - productivity and income could be increased by 50% to 100%, they would
571959 - beat a path to invest those several weeks. This is where research is
571960 - needed. There is no recognized authority people can rely on to keep
571961 - going at 2:00 a.m. in order to reap a tangible reward. So far, un-
571962 - substantiated hope is being crushed by painful cost.
571964 - ..
571965 - I have to create customers who provide meaningful substantiation, by
571966 - helping some key initial users transition themselves to reach the
571967 - benefits, as occurred with Carney, DNRC and CSCJ.
571970 - ..
5722 - 1848 called Jeff at Seawest
572301 - I asked Jeff for his opinion on SDS now that he has been learning and
572302 - using it for 3 weeks.
572304 - ..
572305 - He said he is making good progress, but has only minimal sense so far
572306 - of improved personal productivity or quality of work. He expects
572307 - improved productivity when he is no longer learning while doing.
572309 - ..
572310 - Jeff finds the Diary Summary retrieves information much faster than
572311 - Wordperfect; tasks that took 5 minutes, now takes seconds. He has
572312 - just begun doing keyword record selection with the Diary Summary, and
572313 - so now is careful to craft record descriptions to facilitate this
572314 - feature. Jeff has begun to link records to further speed access to
572315 - information. He has not, however, applied the Control field and
572316 - Subject Index, the heart of the SDS data management system.
572318 - ..
572319 - He feels very comfortable with data entry procedures, using split and
572320 - justify functions to edit narrative (even though he still has an
572321 - "Enhanced Keyboard" that is not very functional in using function
572322 - keys). He uses Wordperfect to write letters, but is opening it from
572323 - within SDS, so his correspondence is placed in the context of related
572324 - events and documents, and can be managed with the Document Log.
572326 - ..
572327 - Jeff would like to modify the format of standard SDS reports. This
572328 - requires custom programming (I explained how to use the Editor Printer
572329 - Profile to modify fonts, line spacing, margins, etc.).
572331 - ..
572332 - I asked how learning SDS compares with learning Wordperfect (it has
572333 - been several years since he went through that experience)?
572335 - ..
572336 - Jeff thinks SDS is substantially more difficult to learn -- he
572337 - estimates 10 times more difficult than Wordperfect, because SDS
572338 - requires learning both wordprocessing and extensive data management.
572339 - If he did not know me, he would have trashed it a long time ago;
572340 - however, the level of frustration is coming down. He is using Help
572341 - now and finds it pretty much tells him how to do things. Initially he
572342 - tried to avoid using Help, and was frustrated by failure.
572344 - ..
572345 - Jeff feels the most frustrating thing about SDS is that you must use
572346 - SDS in order to learn it. He feels you have to experience the variety
572347 - of matters that come up during a day, week and month in order to apply
572348 - the variety of features in SDS, and until this occurs many of its
572349 - features appear complex. If there is not a big problem that needs
572350 - support, then the effort to learn and use the features seem like
572351 - unnecessary overkill. If there is a big problem that needs support,
572352 - there is not enough time to learn SDS features, so people learn to get
572353 - by using the gist of the story, assumptions, guess, gossip, hunch and
572354 - hope. Paradoxically, the strength of SDS for skilled users -
572355 - integration - is a hurdle for beginners, because the concentration to
572356 - master one skill, causes the User to overlook related functions. It
572357 - seems confusing at first, especially while trying to accomplish real
572358 - work.
572360 - ..
572361 - He feels on-site training and support would greatly assuage this
572362 - problem. In order to justify payment for this, we must demonstrate
572363 - the value exceeds the cost of the training. Jeff is part of the
572364 - research, but a broader sample is needed.
572366 - ..
572367 - My offer to transition new Users for free looks like the only way to
572368 - get this done. They have to get some reward to stay in the game.