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The topics discussed here grow out of the bread-and-butter issues that confront my consulting and software clients on a daily basis. We'll talk about prosaic stuff like Membership Management, Meetings and Events Management and Fundraising, broader ideas like security and software project management, and the social, cultural, and organizational issues that impact IT decision-making.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Monday Morning Links

Management Tools 2007
I found through Steve Shu's Blog a link to the Bain and Company Management Tools 2007 Guide. Food for thought for anyone working to re-imagine their organization, the guide consists of single page introductions to each of 25 management tools or processes, with an extensive bibliography on each.

Just ask your users?
In a recent post, I pointed to some writers on software testing who suggest that users are not the best testers of the applications they are going to use. They are just too close to the whole project. In a related vein, Neill Archer Roan suggests that getting too much input from your current customers can stifle innovation. Again, because they are too close to the product.
Asking customers about what they like or dislike about the current product or service will cause them (and you) to focus on incrementally improving what’s current. While I’m not against incremental improvements in products and services (I think they are very important, indeed), this focus won’t lead to innovation.
We've seen this in our own little company. Those of us meeting with prospective users are hearing feature requests and other feedback that we've never heard from our current clients. So if you are trying to make a quantum leap in the appeal of your products, services, or campaigns, you've got to solicit input from outside your current community.

Pondering Windows Vista.
Windows Vista has been available commercially for a few weeks now. We've been running a beta version on a few machines for about six months, and just last week I purchased a new laptop for myself with Vista Home Premium installed. We've had to wrestle through some compatibility issues - and some of the vendors whose tools we use have still not solved all their Vista problems. If you are pondering an upgrade for your organization, I'd recommend setting up Vista on one machine and verifying that all the software you routinely use in your organization is happy before you consider a company wide rollout. Confused about all the flavors of Vista out there? Get your bearings by consulting Windows Vista: A FAQ for Non-Profits posted on the TechSoup website. And expect a bit of a learning curve - even the Start menu works differently. Members Only run fine, I'm glad to report - although of course the Windows Help files no longer are supported.

Media that Matters.
My cousin Julilly let me know about a short documentary by a 17 year old American filmmaker that is really quite disturbing. Take a look at A Girl Like Me by Kiri Davis at the Media that Matters online film festival.


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