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HumanEdj: A New Breed of Human Productivity Software

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Learn more about HumanEdj at RoleModellers.com

Download a complete transcript of the podcast here.

Note: Keith Harrison-Broninski will respond to comments posted below.


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Role Modellers’ recent release of HumanEdj represents a “new breed of human productivity software”, based on the principles of Human Interaction Management.

Human Interaction Management, usually abbreviated to HIM, is a new way of looking at work, a way that deals properly with creativity and collaboration in the workplace, said Keith Harrison-Broninski, CTO of UK company Role Modellers and author of ebizQ’s IT Directions blog.

“The basic idea is to do for knowledge work in the 21st century what Scientific Management did for industrial production in the 20th century,” said Broninski, who noted that while evolutions like Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing are usually put under the umbrella of Total Quality Management, there remains a huge body of work carried out by any organizations  that such techniques leave completely untouched.

That’s because all the standard TQM methodologies trace their roots back to assembly line manufacturing  and are currently reflected in mechanistic business proceses.

"Mechanistic processes cover things like manufacturing, certain kinds of testing, logistics, order processing, invoicing, settlement, payroll and so on,” Harrison-Broninsky notes. Human-driven processes cover things like research, design, marketing, sales, customer support, team leadership, managing organizational change, software development, and so on – any work in which humans interact to create and innovate solutions.

“HIM covers many types of knowledge work, as well as some work that people might not describe as knowledge work, but that is actually quite creative and mentally demanding, like fault resolution in a telecommunications providerm,” Harrison-Broninski notes. “What HIM is really about, is work in which people collaborate to come up with a solution -- HIM provides a whole host of useful principles, patterns and techniques for doing interaction work better – and equally important, for managing it better.”


Harrison-Broninski also explained why in his opinion, BPM and Web 2.0 tools are limited in this area. The former are too technical for ordinary business people, don’t give a means to evolve the process from within “or  provide much collaboration functionality – certainly nothing like the features people need in order to share messages, documents and data in a structured way,” Harrison-Broninski said. “They also that work “flows” from step to step, which is not how humans do interaction work.”

“People create private information spaces, they share information at different times with different people, they have ongoing activities, they make decisions and choose activities in very flexible ways, new players may be introduced at any time, old players may leave,” he observed. “Some organizations have tried workflow or BPM and ended up with expensive failures. Some have tried using “groupware” tools – messaging, document sharing, content management, and so on – but found that these solutions don’t scale. They seem to work OK when the interaction work is limited to a few people, but once you roll groupware tools out across an organization, they actually cause more problems than they solve. People end up spending a lot of time writing messages to lists, circulating documents, updating shared documents, etc without there being any way to control what is going on. Or even to know what is going on.”

Nor are Web 2.0 tools – which Harrrison-Broninski described as “just another set of groupware tools,” any help. “The same problems apply to editing wiki pages as to updating documents in a content management system. I think a lot of people are becoming very unproductive as a direct result of groupware tools, including Web 2.0."



HIM, Harrison-Broninski believes, helps by providing a simple, general way to structure  delivers the most business advantage to their organization.

If you are using a HIMS, you open it first thing in the morning, and see all the human-driven work processes you are engaged in,” Harrison-Broninski observed. “But it’s not like workflow, where you get a list of “Notifications” or “Tasks” to work through one by one, like a robot. Instead, you see a complete context for each process. You can see information and messages, old and new. You can choose the Tasks you want to carry out. You have the option to join or leave processes in a controlled way. And everything you do is managed by the system, in the background.

“For a start, a HIMS remembers everything you do, which is fantastically important if you need to demonstrate compliance with regulations, strategy or policy,” Harrison-Broninski said. “This alone is a time-saver, and when it comes to things like SOX, can even be a business-saver. A HIMS also lets you manage your work. On a personal level, you can undo any actions you take, including changes you make to documents, and this is also recorded for audit purposes.

“On an organizational level, a HIMS lets a manager see what their staff are actually doing during the day, so they can help support their staff and make them more efficient,” he added. “For most people, the HIMS is like having a personal assistant that they can rely on completely. The HIMS saves them all the bother of writing and filing status reports, typing up data in a CRM system, filling in SOX-compliance forms, and so on. As much as anything else, the HIMS is the individual’s way of demonstrating what they are doing for the organization - with zero effort required to do so. A HIMS allows you to communicate with your management when you need to. And cover your back when you need to.”

A free standard edition and instructional screencasts are available at the Role Modellers Web site.

Join ebizQ producer Krissi Danielson for interviews with the innovators, movers and shakers behind emerging enterprise software solutions.Have a solution that qualifies? E-mail Krissi at krissi (at)ebizq.net

Krissi Danielson

Krissi Danielsson is a podcast producer with ebizQ and contributor to ebizQ's SaaSWeek site. View more

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