Basic People Principles

The basic people principles used in Electronic Handbooks are outlined as follows:

Processes determine tools. Tools should help people do their jobs as they see it. Forcing additional tools on people only adds more burdens to their jobs. Additional requirements should be integrated into existing processes.

Everyone's processes should be supported as best as possible. Organizations see their jobs differently which is often a good thing for process improvement. Tools should facilitate rather than hinder this creativity. At the same time, tools should provide underlying mechanisms for unified multi-organization data collection.

Tools are role-based so that data is collected during process execution. As people partake in the processes, the data is automatically entered in the system. If data collection is done after the fact, the quality of the data generally suffers.

Tools are people-based so that users require minimal training. Determining which steps to use in the tool should be obvious. For each of the substeps (i.e., forms and documents), there should be clear templates, instructions, and samples.

Tools are web-based so that all users can easily partake. The effort needed to install special software on user's computers can take up an enormous amount of resources. This is especially the case if the number of participants is large.

Everyone helps build the tools. Joint ownership in the processes and the underlying systems is crucial for overall acceptance.

Greenbelt, MD
November 2004