Shibabrata Mondal - 06/Mar/2016

Information we need at Work

Information Ecology
Information Ecology

(image credit: www.usability.gov)

Lou Rosenfeld and Peter Morville in their book, Information Architecture for the World Wide Web, introduced the interdependent nature of users, content, and context. Rosenfeld and Morville referred to this as the “information ecology” and visualized it as a venn diagram.

  • Context: business goals, budgets, schedules, technology infrastructure, human resources, corporate culture, legal issues.
  • Content: Data in documents, images, audio and video file, messages.
  • Users: respondents, visitors, actors, employees, customers.

Rosenfeld and Morville discussed the Information Architecture of the Internet. Here we will discuss the Information Architecture of the intranet, specifically, information knowledge workers need, within an enterprise, to do their work more effectively.

In a paper Thomas Fritz and Gail C. Murphy at British Columbia University explores information software engineers need to do their work effectively. Some of these are applicable to any worker, specially any knowledge worker. Few of the questions described in this paper that are common to all knowledge workers are listed here.

Who is working on what (people specific)

  • Who is working on what?
  • What are they [coworkers] working on right now?
  • How much work [have] people done?
  • What have people been working on?

Work item progress

  • What is the recent activity on a plan item?
  • Which features and functions have been changing?
  • Has progress been made on blockers (blocking work items) in your milestone?
  • Is progress (changes) being made on plan items?
  • [Is an entry] in newsgroup forum addressed to me because of the class mentioned?
  • What is coming up next week [for my team]? [What is my team doing?]
  • What am I supposed to work on [plan on wiki]?

Other Questions

  • How is the team organized?
  • Who has made changes to [a] defect?
  • Who has made comments in defect?
  • [What is] the collaboration tree around a feature?
  • Which conversations in work items have I been mentioned?

These are the important work related information and news that knowledge workers need to carry out their job effectively. There is a need for tools and processes in place to enable knowledge workers to autonomously find answers to these questions. It may also be important for answers to some of these questions be pushed to the users at the right time when they are needed. Additionally, easy access to answers for these questions will definitely accelerate the on-boarding of new employees to teams and projects.

Wizergos Meeting and Action Item Management tool is built with an information architecture that organizes and shares data in a way that makes answering some of these questions simple, easy, and effective.

Shibabrata Mondal

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