Organization follows Technology ? LO13256

Michael Gort (
Wed, 16 Apr 1997 21:55:29 -0400

Replying to LO13177 --

Maria Pichler asks:

>Do you think that
>"* organizational change follows technological changes?
>Or the other way round, meaning that
>* technological change follows organizational changes?"

We have been working with Lotus Notes TeamRoom to provide a structured
space for team communications and collaboration. One of the goals was to
pull team communications out of email, where volume overwhelms most of our
people, and into a special place for high priority team-related work. Our
experience has been that where the team is collaborative, TeamRoom thrives
with very little facilitation needed to create a successful, highly
collaborative space. Where the team or any members of the team do not
embrace collaboration, TeamRoom generally fails no matter how much
facilitation is provided to introduce the product. From that data, I draw
a conclusion that collaborative technologies only work where collaboration
is an established organizational attribute. Where it is not,
organizational change designed to create a collaborative model has to come

This hypothesis does not hold, however, on processes that are less central
to the mental models of the team. For example, we needed to get a better
understanding of how people in a very large organization (1000+) were
spending their time and what on projects they were working. We
implemented a time tracking system on our Intranet and a project profiling
system in Lotus Notes. We were dealing with very sensitive cultural
issues like transparency and accountability. However, in this case, very
substantial organizational change has occurred. The introduction of these
two very rudimentary pieces of the Project Management Process has been so
successful, we are now able to bill our clients from the data generated,
we have a substantial increase in the number of skilled and qualified
Project Managers that have been added at the request of group managers,
and we have change requests from the users driving both systems towards a
commercial enterprise project management tool. In my opinion, that is a
profound change in the culture and the organization, clearly driven by the
technology (and more importantly, the process that underlies the

Mike Gort


"Michael Gort"<>

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