An Information Worker’s ToolboxPosted on March 1st, 2011 No comments
I want to pick up on a theme hinted at in the previous post about Craftsman and Contract Mangers…..
Even though I am pretty much a contract manager now, I aspire to be a craftsman. Someone who is a master of their trade. Someone with that amazing ability to deliver outstanding quality reliably.
Those last four words are worth repeating: “Deliver outstanding quality reliably.” That ability to get it right first time is quite rare. Its valuable. People are prepared to pay money for that sort of thing. In some ways we expect this to happen as a matter of course ie. things are going to turn out exactly how we want them to, but they rarely do. Unless you are, or have hired - a craftsman.
I find one of the most interesting aspects of really good tradesman is their tools. They are rarely shiny and new but more likely to be well used and battered but well cared for all the same. The tradesman will know exactly how they work and any idiosyncrasies that may have. They produce predictable results and you have confidence in them. Each one will have a specific purpose and place in the toolbox.
Check out this video I have attached below. It shows a real craftsman using his tools I think it illustrates what I am talking about really well.
Having trusted, reliable tools is rare in the information/digital world where new and improved seems to trump tried and true every time. People say…”What you are using a SWOT analysis technique for? You should be using this new technique which is like SWOT on steroids!” or “You are still trying to using Agile? Lean is the new thing you should be implementing.” etc.
The result is that we (ie. information workers) seem to spend all our time trying new tools and always feeling unsure if its working or not and then moving on to the next shiny thing. The risk factors are always high and it is rare to find someone that amazing ability to deliver outstanding quality reliably.
Of course what you are thinking now is that it’s easy to “deliver outstanding quality reliably” if all you are doing is just building another widget. That guy in the video has obviously made that exact bench many times before and he was just following a known process and had specialised tools for that process. The life of the information working is never like that. Its always about discovery and is never about building widgets.
I agree. But there are tools that can be applied to the discovery process. There are tools that can be used repeatedly and together, can form an information worker’s toolbox. I just don’t see that same level of trust and care about these tools in my day to day experience. I have started putting my own information worker’s toolbox together and over the next few posts I will describe what they are, why I used them and what I get out of them.