Here is a trenchant observation by Jim McGee on his blog:
“For all the productivity gains that accrue to the digitization of knowledge work, one unintended consequence has been to make the execution of knowledge work essentially invisible, making it harder to manage and improve such work. The benefits of visibility are now something that we need to seek mindfully instead of getting them for free from the work environment.”
Other blog posts and comments discuss good documentation and Knowledge Management tools as a solution to this problem.
However, we believe that the real solution to the challenge of ‘Observable Work’ is being able to track work related activities of teams and individuals. The key words are ‘work related’, which means that individual privacy must be fully respected by ignoring any personal work. The onus is on the individual to declare what is work. This is exactly what our product Sapience does.
Sapience sits on each person’s computer and non-intrusively measures work activity, while ignoring its usage for private purposes. It automatically sources Time Utilization on applications and offline meetings and calls for each individual, and maps it to Activities (nature of work) and Purposes (projects, functions). This is achieved through a combination of organization and team level rules, pattern matching, and usage based learning. Sapience generates rich reports related to Time Hygiene (productive hours, top activities and applications) and Effort Analytics (under/over capacity utilization, exact effort across projects, teams, locations, business units etc.). These reports are available both for the employee and management, through which work efficiency can be enhanced.