Sunday, February 15, 2009

CIA: Collaboration in Action

One of the greatest examples of effective collaboration is the partnership between 007 and Q in the James Bond movies.  Q would design and build gadgets that seemed to be uniquely suited to the next round of challenges and daring escapes James would encounter on his upcoming mission.  During each movie it appears that James just drops in to Q's lab after receiving his assignment to find everything he needs ready and waiting for him.


Being this ready for anything doesn't happen magically, but is the result of an agile development methodology.  Delivering information solutions is a constantly changing landscape that can benefit from applying the design principles used in Q's lab.

  • Rapid Prototyping - Every time James would drop by, the "latest" version of a new tool is ready to be tried.  Take every opportunity to show your users the look and feel of your solution, this will unleash their creativity and you will benefit from their increased engagement and suggestions.
  • Fail and Fail Fast - These gadgets would often have unintended side effects, or would explode spectacularly.  There was never any other reaction than cool, collected analysis to fix the problem.  Create an atmosphere where the ability to quickly fail, learn from the mistake, and try again happens as quickly as possible.
  • Open Environments - Tests were not undertaken in closed laboratories, but were instead conducted in environments that were open to other researchers and their devilishly handsome customers.  Have a physical environment that encourages collaboration with everyone that is core to a project.  Virtual environments are great, but nothing replaces in person communication.
  • Continuous Improvement - Every time 007 returns his shot up, smoking, destroyed vehicles, he provides feedback directly to the designer on what did and didn't work properly.  Find different channels to receive feedback from your users, and make a point of acting on it.

Business Intelligence is not something that is done well in isolation.  Encourage your team to use the above concepts, and look for every opportunity to engage the right people in your initiatives no matter what area of the organization they are from.

"Now do please remember to take care of all this equipment 007...DON'T TOUCH THAT!!...That's my lunch!" - Q

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