Notes from the Isis Papyrus Open Day

Yesterday, I managed to find time to attend Isis Papyrus??? UK Open Day.

It was a great chance to see some new technology (new to me at least) and hear Isis??? Chief Architect, Max J Pucher, in person.

Unfortunately, on the technology front, I had to leave the open day before the technical and Adaptive Process sessions so I still don???t feel like I really understand the product or how it fits in the technology landscape. The session I did see on document capture, storage and generation certainly looked impressive and the common repository model underneath Isis Papyrus reminded me a lot of Process Center in the Lombardi / IBM product line.

But, without the afternoon sessions, I still don???t quite grasp how Max???s Adaptive Process vision sits on top of it.

The opening session was, also, the most enjoyable for me. Max gave a ???business??? presentation on his ideas. See Max in action and in person was great. He brought to life a lot of his ideas from his blog and, although I find many of them extreme, it was time well spent.

I wasn???t recording the session so inaccuracies in the following quotes and scribblings are entirely my own. Apologies to Max in advance for any inadvertent butchering of his ideas.

On Organizational Improvement

Today, you can???t do organizational improvement without technology.

Given that innovation in the modern world is so steep in technology, you can’t change or improve your business without considering the role of technology.

In most cases, it???s probably technology that is driving the need for change.

A great point simply made.

On the Future, Project Planning and Risk Management

You can???t know the future. It???s unknowable and inaccessible to us. Risk is created by having a plan since the plan will turn out to be wrong. Ironically, to have less risk, the first step might be to have less planning.

I find this one both seductive and extreme.

At its core, Max succinctly expressed one of great contradictions of modern IT. The more effort you put into project planning, the more you are certain to get things wrong. Particularly, on large projects.

At the same time, I suspect the future isn???t going to be characterised by less planning but rather a different kind planning and that technology will find a way to bridge the gap. I suppose that the Adaptive Processes of Isis Papyrus are this evolution in project planning for Max.

On Innovation

Why do people innovate? Because they are lazy or because it???s fun.

Innovation is about making work easier so the people who innovate are the people that do the work. Never Management.

Again, a great formulation but I have to disagree with Max on this one.

In the limited context of incremental innovation, its probably correct but it completely fails to explain any kind of disruptive innovation.

Making the work easier for your existing employees, like listening to your existing customers, is a great way to improve your business in its current business model but not necessarily a great way to change the model. That requires an outside perspective.

There were other points of interest in talk but those were the highlights for me.