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The Geek and Suit Collaboration – Chapter One

What if you worked in an environment where your boss said: “no more emails”, just put it in the wiki?  This was the proposition introduced by our collaboration team a while ago and I see echoed in the wisdom of Enterprise 2.0 aficionado and Associate Professor, Harvard Business School’s Andrew McAfee


What has this to do with the geek and suit collaboration?  We are challenged to illustrate how geeks and suits can best share ideas, collaborate and ultimately create something of value for the BPX community.  And we now have our wiki which, as we understood, allows for collaborative publishing.  Why such collaboration might be an important activity for innovators and creative types as well as knowledge workers, technologists and business folks to be engaged in, is pretty well outlined in McAfee’s blog .

Our search for ways of engaging  “more business-IT / geek-suit boundary spanners” (a term coined by  McAfee )  brought us to the following idea:

  • Create a “true life” story of a Business Process Improvement project, complete with a cast of characters and scenarios describing the business and IT roles in the work environment
  • Give those characters names, faces and personalities as they simulate what happens when “Geeks” and “Suits” interface to innovate a process and generate revenue or save money for their organization.
  • Allow the community to write the script (see example ), describe characters and comment on the action , define or critique the solutions or add hurdles, issues, or challenges for our heroes (and yourselves) to surmount.
  • Provide access to some cool new wiki tools (soon to be launched)
  • Joining the game can earn you a copy of the newly published: “Mastering Enterprise SOA with SAP Netweaver and mySAP ERP” as a reward for active participation and the ability to showcase the results in the TechEd clubhouse as well as here in the wiki.

The Concept

Create a cogent, credible, entertaining and educating story with characters, context, and solutions to demonstrate and illustrate the work of business process analysts, business process owners, business process architects, consultants and developers in business process improvement activities

The Benefits

  • Enhance skills needed to navigate business process improvement cycles
  • Learn how other colleagues are doing this
  • Earn access to books and other learning content
  • Work alongside members of our own SAP Process Office who will be assisting, coaching, learning and participating in this “BPX in Action” Pilot
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    • The Matt Stephens link is very helpful, thanks.
      I am still waiting on a promise of our own architects to blog about “personas”.  So rather than wait, we started gathering folks from around the globe (community members) to help us build the ones you see as “roles”.  It’s interesting as real developers, architects, business owners start to flesh out the characters.  I see that Matt Stephens uses very simplistic “stick figures” in the the link you provided, Anton.  Is there value in using more elaborate graphics?  Does that help in any meaningful way to visualize.  Can’t wait for us to have the embedded flowchart wiki tool.  Have been conversing with some artists, designers and even an animator about the scenarios.  What makes most sense?  Simple?  More visualized?  Would a visio-like tool be helpful?
      • hi marilyn,

        the stick figures are fine, they’re kind of a standard for use case diagramming (UML). but what’s more important in that article i mentioned is the persona. the stick figure isn’t just ‘user’ (or John Doe) but it’s Maria. Maria has a real curriculum, a ***, an age, a social context and an intellectual background. People using this approach go so far to even attach a foto of Maria (taken for example from some commercial image service).

        So, if you think of your own editor, supply a possibility to attach Maria’s profile to the stick figure.

        It simply is a difference to ‘know’ that geeks are different from suits and to be confronted with Susy Geek, being 25, female, Major in Physics, 5 time regional skateboard champ and member of 2 W3C standards bodies and Ralf Suit, 40, male, autodidact business expert, founder of 4 successful startups, father of three and now CIO of Mega Corp.

        Concerning the rest of the tool questions, I’d stick to standard and well-known notation conventions and maybe just enhance them with illustrative features to lower the barriers for those who do not yet know those notations.

        regards, anton

    • This interview has a sidebar which sharpens the debate around how important or less important the advant of the wiki and blogging are (the importance of social media).  I would love to have that kind of debate in the clubhouse.