Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Information overload!

When I was a kid I read these stories of people swamped by email and other aspects of i-overload. I probably dismissed it contemptuously as a case of geezers out of their league.

But now I'd either have to admit I was wrong, or I've been outpaced by the growth rate of i-overload.

On my current project I hold a fairly 'responsible' role. And I've been feeling the pressure of a daily stream of mails from different aspects of engineering operations and business teams (apart from the regular trickle of non-project mails).

But I couldn't put a handle on it until I came back from a four-day absence.

My Inbox had 300 emails - an average of 75 emails per day. Just thinking about it drives me nuts. Personally I think it's quite impossible to do justice to volumes like that unless you can quickly develop a policy of prioritizing the senders on a relevancy scale and junk irrelevant senders / threads.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Apocalypse of the two elephants

That's what David Clark of MIT named his theory about the timing of standards. When a new subject is discovered it is accompanied by a flurry of research activity. Time goes by, interest wanes and the activity drops off. Until there is a renewed surge of activity due to industry funding & adoption of the subject.
The theory claims, a standard should be timed right in the middle of the trough between these two peaks of activity. Released too soon, the standards flirt with inadequacy as they could miss out on the benefits from significant research. Timed too late, and the industry funding would have led to adoption of first-mover technology making it hard to topple the defacto standard in the market.

This was in the context of the defacto tcp/ip derailing the de-jure iso-osi standard.

I can't help relating to the world of management. Stuff like BPR came and was adopted by industry immediately. Many burnt their fingers on it.
In that context it seems that industry rushes to adopt new management concepts even before they are thoroughly researched or understood.

Is it that leaders love fads? Or is it that the pressure to deliver forces them to grasp the next best ray of hope that comes their way?