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Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’

More on Microsoft’s collaboration efforts in developing Windows 7

October 22nd, 2009 Comments off

CBS News echoes many of the same things mentioned in my previous post regarding the design/deployment of Windows 7 and the unprecedented cooperation between Microsoft and PC manufacturers.

Windows 7 Born from Vista’s Frustrations. Vista’s Headaches Prompted Microsoft to Change How They Do Business. October 22, 2009.

Microsoft eliminates barriers in Windows 7 development

October 20th, 2009 Comments off

WSJ_LogoA hidden article in today’s Wall Street Journal about the benefits of collaboration within a company and also working with other value chain members.  In this case, Microsoft knocked down some barriers that had placed workers into different silos that they felt led to issues with development of Windows Vista to prevent the same issues from occurring again in Windows 7.  They also worked with key PC manufacturers to avoid similar pitfall with external entities.  By all accounts, the launch of Windows 7 and future sales and reviews will be much more positive than the same experiences with Wind0ws Vista several years ago.

To Rebuild Windows, Microsoft Razed Walls — Three-Year Effort to Create Latest Version Meant Close Collaboration Among Workers to Avoid Vista’s Woes. Nick Wingfield. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: Oct 20, 2009. pg. B.9

Collaboration, Quality, & Value Chain

August 31st, 2009 Comments off

A great piece was posted recently to the strategy+business site.  It encompasses a lot of the concepts we discuss in class such as collaborating beyond your company’s legal borders to build better ideas with customers/suppliers than can be built acting alone.  Quality initiative often drive these collaborations but many companies have expanded on the concept for other reasons and even to bridge gaps across internal departments.

As companies outside the computer industry adopt the collaborative precepts of open source to improve their research and development efforts, they too undergo some major management shifts. P&G, for example, once known as an obsessively secretive organization, has thrown open its laboratory doors and invited outside collaborators to help develop new technologies and products, and at the same time is sharing some of its own intellectual property freely.

This is a lengthy piece, but really does cover a lot of ground including quality, culture, collaboration, kaizen (coninuous improvment), innovation, alignment of goals/rewards, and fostering trust.  It also covers pitfalls that companies may have learned to avoid given past failures in this area .

But the quality movement of the 1980s also had many failures. Under such names as “statistical process control,” “Six Sigma,” or “total quality management,” the practice of quality-oriented management was frequently misunderstood, misapplied, and eventually abandoned, often at the expense of customers, employees, and shareholders. Today, many companies that once embraced the concept — for example, some manufacturers of cell phones and appliances — are being challenged by Korean companies that have borrowed more successfully from Toyota’s quality playbook.

Perhaps the biggest barrier to a style of open collaboration is that it contradicts what many managers are comfortable with.  And it requires them and their companies to change.  Change is seldom an easy task at organizations because it represents a shifting of powers and may require actually pushing the culture to change, which can make lots of folks unhappy.

Open collaboration is already facing the same formidable barriers that held back the quality movement, especially in traditional companies. The persistence of hierarchical thinking, particularly a reliance on experts rather than the expertise of knowledgeable employees at all levels, can undermine any open collaboration effort. Also, although much of the publicity around the movement has focused on finding outside ideas through joint ventures and partnerships, it can be far more difficult, and more important, to cultivate and tap in-house creativity. Executives in many Western companies have never been comfortable soliciting the opinions of employees — especially rank-and-file workers — in any systematic way.

Companies that recognize this trend and capitalize on it sooner than others will likely have the most success in the marketplace in the next several years.  In fact, companies that fail in this regard may no longer be around when the dust settles.  Check out this great piece when you have a chance.

The Promise (and Perils) of Open Collaboration. Companies like IBM and P&G have prospered by opening their borders, but there are cautionary lessons from the quality movement of the 1980s.Andrea Gabor. strategy+business.  Autumn 2009.

Language & Culture in Mulitnational Organizations

June 16th, 2009 Comments off

The link below is to a lengthy piece about native and non-native English speakers working together globally within organizations where English has been mandated as the “lingua franca” either formally or informally.  Reading the whole analysis is probably overkill as far as how it relates to our course, but the example of the role organizational culture (and cultures of different geographic regions too I suppose) plays in the process of sharing information/knowledge, even among those that want to share this information, is interesting.

We can draw similar parallels in our classroom environment given the high percentage of students that do not speak English as their first language.  This class is hard enough, but throw in a language barrier and it is truly admirable the effort and performance exhibited by so many that could very easily choose to give up instead.  Congratulations to those of for whom English is not your first language — perhaps the attached study will give us all some insight into the kinds of choices we can make to make the communication barrier lower for everyone.

Walking Through Jelly: Language Proficiency, Emotions, and Disrupted Collaboration in Global Work. By Tsedal Beyene, Pamela J. Hinds, and Catherine Durnell Cramton. Harvard Business School, 2009.

Clarity Is Missing Link in Supply Chain

May 18th, 2009 Comments off

This article uses the term “supply chain” but you can effectively substitute “value chain” instead and draw the same conclusions.

Communication amongst value chain participants is one of the biggest barriers to overcome in order to capitalize on opportunities the market presents.  Today’s Wall Street Journal looks at what happens when information is not shared as well as it can be, especially in times of economic collapse such as what we have seen in the past year.  The damage is not limited only to individual players in the value chain, but up0n several participants because the performance of one value chain participant is so tightly tied to the adjacent participants.

For a man who sells the chip “brains” that power millions of TVs, cameras and other gadgets, Levy Gerzberg found himself surprisingly unplugged last fall. In just a few short weeks, business virtually stopped.

He still marvels at the speed of the collapse. “I think about it today, and ask, ‘Why did it happen so fast?’ ” says Mr. Gerzberg, CEO of chip designer Zoran Corp.

Especially telling is that all of the individual decisions made without the cooperation of other value chain participants may have been overdone, resulting in lost sales and perhaps lost market share to companies that made different decisions whether by chance or by design.

The cumulative result: The tech pullback may have been overdone. In March, Best Buy Co. said it could have sold more electronics equipment in the three months ended Feb. 28, but its suppliers’ deep cuts made it tough to keep shelves stocked. Suppliers “all decided to build a lot less,” says Best Buy merchandizing chief Michael Vitelli.

Clarity Is Missing Link in Supply Chain. Phred Dvorak. Wall Street Journal. (Eastern edition). New York, N.Y.: May 18, 2009. pg. A.1

Value Chains – Successes and Failures

April 19th, 2009 Comments off

Some insights into value chains that is more current than what was presented in the module. As usual, you just need your NetDirect ID and password (the same ones that get you into D2L and the portal) to read these.