06 March, 2012

A modern Library of Alexandra it's not...

We recently endured another morale-boosting, all-of-division meeting where everyone is herded into a function room at an isolated location and made to sit through two hours of Powerpoint presentations explaining why we're all happy and, indeed, can only become happier as we're given more work with fewer resources increasing number of challenges a greater array of opportunities allowing us to show our true greatness.

Internal communication and documenting things people need to know are two or our great weaknesses. They've been consistently identified as such for as long as I've been here, by everyone from senior management down to primitive single-cell organisms like Ted E. We're now on to at least the third project I can recall that's meant to address this, and Gimli stumps up to the podium and peers over the top to announce the latest milestone.

"Sharepoint!" He announces triumphantly. "It's here, it's live, and you should all be using it!"

On the one hand this isn't new. We've been hearing "Sharepoint is coming!" for so long now even the dim-witted northerners from Game Of Thrones would have grown weary at the repetition. On the other, the fact that it's live and has (apparently) been available for use for some time was a minor revelation for everyone gathered.

"This is what it looks like!"

Gimli, like his Powerpoint presentations, talks in short! emphatic! points! and he clicks through to a couple of screenshots so we can marvel at it. He has to use screenshots because, having gone off-site - waaay off-site - for this meeting, we don't have a reliable and secure network connection to the live system to let him actually show it to us.

"You can upload photos of yourself!"

- click -

"You can update your staff profile, and list all your skills! This will let other staff can badger you directly about things! Rather than going through the proper channels that will let you have some pretense of control over your workload!"

(Okay, I may have expanded on one of his points a little there...)

- click -

"Sharepoint! It's live! Use it!"

That was a month ago. I've checked into it periodically in the hope that something has happened to make it useful, as there's a pressing need in my team for someplace to store documentation that isn't The Morass. Sadly, no. At this point it's only an unsuccessful and ugly attempt to imitate Facebook in the belief that this will somehow make work fun. I'm expecting some subtle vandalism to start creeping in on people's profile pages before too much longer.

But at least it provides a fresh to that age-old question: "What if we built a social network and nobody came?"

The previous answer, of course, being "Google +".

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