‘How to’ collaborate with diverse stakeholders – an exploration

Given that most organisations have many policies and procedures covering various legal and compliance requirements and that there is already an industry process model, Electronic Discovery Reference Model, why do I still feel the need for a collaboration framework?

Furthermore, there are technology vendors/suppliers providing various forensics and investigations related tools and software for ediscovery/disclosure. Also, this year there are several organisations providing trainings/seminars on ediscovery/disclosure. Not surprisingly, lots of trainings/seminars have been conducted focusing on the ‘what’ and ‘why’ of ediscovery/disclosure. When the ‘how to do…’ is encapsulated or prescribed in process models or in cookbook approaches like ‘tips and traps’, the application or rather the act of performing the ediscovery/disclosure activities will still need to be carry out by people and team of people. Process models and ‘tips and trap’ will add to the heap of processes and procedures for organisations. Also, people generally trump or ignore procedures especially if there are too many to chew.

From my own real-world lessons, having worked with several major organisations in large projects/programmes involving software development/implementation, ediscovery/disclosure activities will require not only tools, process models and procedures. Like software development projects, ediscovery activities involve many stakeholders with competing needs and interests, many dependencies all requiring resources to be used effectively. Why not utilise a project management approach to manage the resources?

As far as I am aware, most or practically all commercial strength project management approaches and methodologies do not provide any framework for dealing with the people aspects in managing projects.

For example, PRINCE2 has detailed description of managing product deliverables and also steps for managing risks. I recalled in a PRINCE2 Practitioner training course, the instructor said something along the lines: ‘For effective project management, the people skills are crucial and are not covered under PRINCE2 trainings or in the manuals’.

Moreover, even if ‘best practice’ guidelines such as the IT Infractructure Library (ITIL) is adopted by organisation, the challenges of co-ordinating and working with diverse teams of people as when in an ediscovery scenario will be even more pressing. People cannot be certified against guidelines or even standards e.g. BS 15000, the IT Service Management Standard.

Individuals and team dynamics are what make an organisation ‘tick’. It is also common to hear other phrases such as ‘people matters’ or ‘we value people’. However, when it comes to tapping into (or the buzzword –empowering) individual to deliver the required value, the ‘tick’ becomes more like a loud bang. Loud bangs are generally not welcomed (unlike in Chinese celebration where the loud bang from fire crackers are said to drive away demons/back luck etc) as noises are deemed as unpleasant causing discomfort and unanticipated consequences. Is this why people avoid or simply fail to cope with the dynamics of people interaction?

Perhaps I have lost touch with my own abilities to do what comes naturally. How to get back in touch with my own abilities? How to get in touch and stay in touch with my own abilities especially when I am faced with chaos or in chaos situation whereby I have to interact with others.

Looking back to the heydays of the 80s, where there were less processes or tools and less rules and regulations, I was better equipped (by being less equipped with choices) to get any job (mainly building great systems and running a family) done with lots of ticks and banging. Nowadays there are way too many processes/tools and every actions I take there are rules/regulations to catch me out or trap me. So much so, I dread the thought of walking into an office, especially in an organisation where people, process and technology (what else is there in a 21st office?) actually restrict and hinder my abilities to feel, think and act. So far, I have been mostly fortunate to work for/with companies whereby the people makes it worthwhile going into office to work.

Do I have an alternative to escape the 21st organisational trap? Well, I have been busy re-training and re-visiting my long held interests and most importantly reflecting on my life and how I want to live my life. I am taking small steps each day and learning to cope with needing less and reaching out into my inner strengths.

One realisation is that when I am in chaos, I will find a frame of reference to make me feel good again. This frame of reference can be anything or nothing. When I find my frame of reference I get the ‘tick’ and this makes me feel good. Feeling good enable me to make sense of what I need to do. Doing then becomes second nature, effortless work or task.

When in Chao, find a frame of reference!

In collaboration with others why not find a frame of reference too?!

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