or why it’s not good to try and know everything:

“Small co-located teams can share ‘Common Operating Pictures’ to enable high levels of cooperation and backup amongst the team members. However, when teams are large or distributed across poor communications networks, sharing operating pictures with all members of the team can consume so much communication resource and individual attention that it reduces the team’s effectiveness in accomplishing its task.

This paper introduces the costs and benefits of distributing picture components, and ways of encouraging the communications to be appropriate and useful: to build sufficiently good common pictures amongst suitable team members for them to function. It follows that a ‘single picture of the truth’ is rarely desirable even when technically possible, and this paper shows why that is so.

Building suitably distributed, shared and incomplete pictures requires sophisticated evaluation and management of information – information that may be real world observations or assessments of them. Understanding how such information needs are expressed and fulfilled in distributed teams should transfer across several information management and information exploitation disciplines.”

PDF here

It’s a bit of a brain dump, and only a conference paper – presented at ECIME 2011 in Italy – I’m working to try and focus on smaller pieces. On the other hand, knowledge distribution is a topic that is properly dealt with holistically. Probably. I also feel I need to watch my language: going back to it, it seems to read too stuffily.

With thanks again to John for many beer-fuelled discussions, my parents for proofing, and Graham for supervising.

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