"Lotus Notes for Me: Leveraging the Power of Notes for Personal Productivity, Personal Knowledge Management and Personal Action Management"
[This is a working title. Keep this in the back of your mind as you read the rest of this post. Then, let me know if it resonates with you...]

Many people have asked me if I've thought about presenting at Lotusphere 2008. I have. In fact, my colleague, Bruce Elgort and I have been exploring the idea of doing a joint presentation for some time. (You may know of Bruce Elgort as the founder of OpenNTF of the Taking Notes Podcast and now, the idea exchange) Bruce and I would like to invite you to give us your input on possible topics you would like to see us present... There's a catch, we need your feedback right away. (I'm presenting at the Office 2.0 conference this week and the deadline for submitting our proposal is this Friday.)

While Bruce and I haven't finalized our proposal, there is a recurring topic that keeps coming up for me: How to use Lotus Notes as a personal productivity tool in addition to the excellent collaborative tool that it already is. You see, Notes is usually marketed as a collaboration solution to organizations, that's fine. Unfortunately, it's not marketed as a personal  tool. That's probably because organizations typically buy Lotus Notes - people don't. But I think that's part of the problem. Notes hasn't been made personal. As far as I know, there are few people or organizations that are doing anything to make Notes personal. Probably the best example I can think of, someone who is working to make notes personal, is Alan Lepofsky. Alan's blog contains an amazing array of productivity tips that the average guy can use to be more productive using Lotus Notes. if you've not read Alan's blog, I highly recommend it.  (Bruce, Alan, and I did a podcast together last year)

Lotusphere typically has many sessions dealing with how to use Notes for collaboration, how to sell Notes in your organization, how to mobilize Notes applications, or something like that. What I haven't seen yet is a session that deals with the personal side of using Lotus Notes productively: How highly effective knowledge workers can (and do) use the Notes client already on their desk as a personal information management system, decision support tool, and a tool for just getting things done. ( e.g. project and action management.) Some of what I would like to show may require add-on software (e.g. I'd like to show how I use Notes and MindManager together) but much of what I have in mind can be done with the standard Notes client. if you've followed my blog for any length of time, you already know what I'm talking about. If not type "Lotus Notes" into the search window of this site to get some ideas.

I'm sick of hearing people tell me why they hate Notes only to discover that, in most cases, they simply did not know what they could really do with Lotus Notes.

In my eProductivity consulting work, I'm constantly amazed at how many organizations hand out Notes to their employees and never mention (or show) the personal productivity side of using notes to make smarter decisions and to manage personal knowledge. Yet, when this happens, the entire organization can benefit. I want to send folks away from the session with practical information - things that they can do with their current Lotus Notes client to be more productive right away. (My recent webinar on how I use MindManager and Lotus Notes is just one example.)

This won't be a "why you should use Lotus Notes" presentation

I have no plans to try to get non-Notes users to switch to Lotus Notes; that's not my goal. It also won't be a "why you should buy this add-on or that add-on." My purpose is to show existing Notes users how to get things done using the Lotus Notes they already have in ways that they may have never considered. The session I have in mind would focus on using Notes as a personal productivity tool. In short, I'd like to show people how I use Lotus Notes and how some of my clients are using Lotus Notes effectively.

Please reread the proposed session title again and see how it sits with you:

"Lotus Notes for Me: Leveraging the Power of Notes for Personal Productivity, Personal Knowledge Management and Personal Action Management"


Like it? More important, is this the kind of session you would like to see at Lotusphere? If so, I'd like your feedback, right away.

Here's how you can help:


1. Let me know what you think: If you enjoy my blog, have watched any of my webinars or listened to any of Bruce's podcasts, then you know where we are coming from. Is there something you'd like to hear more about? You can post your feedback, but do it now so that we can include your feedback in our planning

2. Spread the word:
If you like the idea, consider blogging about it.

Thanks, I look forward to hearing from you.


PS. Special thanks to my buddy, Michael Sampson for his clarity and prodding to get this going...

Discussion/Comments (18):

I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

I like the concept of the session a lot, but the title is trying too hard. You need something shorter and pithier, such "Lotus Notes for Me: Notes and Personal Productivity", because even if IBM would OK the longer title, which I doubt, I would read a title like that and think that the presenters were going to be long winded and boring. The abstract can define the session a bit better, but the title is a hook, not a hook, line and sinker together.

Posted at 9/5/2007 6:13:39 AM by Ben Langhinrichs


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

As someone who is a recent convert to GTD, but a long time Notes advocate, I find the suggestion you outline above to be a really interesting proposition, and not one that I've heard similar anywhere else.

I'd be interested to hear how Notes can be made relevant throughout an individuals' daily lives, not just in the 9-5 at their desks. How can Notes be used for the full scope of work, personal and home tasks? How can it be successfully integrated with mobile devices (in a device/solution independent way) to allow updates from wherever and whenever? How can it be used for true GTD-type productivity? etc.

Great idea...

Posted at 9/5/2007 7:00:19 AM by Stuart McIntyre


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

That is a great idea.

I'm not going to Lotusphere 2008 but this is one session I would attend for sure. I agree with you about this being a less explored use of Lotus Notes.

I also have to agree with Ben about the title, I'm sure you can come up with something more sexy. ;-)

Posted at 9/5/2007 7:13:49 AM by Vitor Pereira


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

I think it's a great idea. I was recently at the local Franklin-Covey store refilling my planner, and asked an employee if there were any plans to release a Lotus Notes version of their PlanPlus software (which currently exists only as "PlanPlus for Windows" and "PlanPlus for Microsoft Outlook"); the employee's reaction - literally - was, "Lotus what?" Since then, I've been considering creating my own - I think it'd make a great OpenNTF project - but would love to see a session on leveraging the out-of-the-box capabilities of Notes for personal productivity gains.

Posted at 9/5/2007 7:17:43 AM by Tim Tripcony


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

Great idea. As a long-time (14 years and counting) Notes user and a recent (9 months) GTD convert, it sounds like the kind of content that would be very useful both for individuals and for getting over those 'Notes sucks' type objections.

Have to agree with Ben on the title though.

Posted at 9/5/2007 7:34:59 AM by Julian Woodward


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

The girls and I have packed our mouse ears. Let's go!

Posted at 9/5/2007 7:37:47 AM by Kathy Mack


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

I'd definitely attend something like this.

I agree with Ben that the title of the session could be whittled down.

I second Stuart's ideas about the non 9-5 work that can be done well with Notes, as a matter of fact I'm trying to figure out what I can build to help out my wife's Creative Memories business run smoother and easier...perhaps some ideas surfaced in your session would help me and other out in this way.

Go for it!

Posted at 9/5/2007 8:32:36 AM by Phil Randolph


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

First, this is a great idea for a session, (which I would have attended, were I going.) *sigh*

I have installed Notes 8 on my home system with the intent and hope of making it my PIM application there. Given that, this session would be ideal.

Second, I agree with the comments above about the title, but I have no marketing ability enabling me to make any suggestions. (Ben's idea seemed a pretty good one, though.)

Regarding content, a suggestion might be to provide insight into scenarios where the Notes client is used without a Domino server: accessing POP/IMAP mail, calendaring between other systems (i.e., sending, receiving, processing invitations,) options for importing (email, contacts, calendar, blogrolls, etc.) from other PIM systems (e.g., MS, Google, Yahoo.)

Hopefully, some of that made sense. Feel free to email with questions.

-- Grant

Posted at 9/5/2007 8:33:25 AM by Grant Lindsay


Thank you, please keep your comments coming.

This is great feedback.

Yes, Ben, the title is a long one - it's a working title, mostly to help me get clear and stay focused on the successful outcome. I will definitely shorten it before I submit an abstract.

Please continue to post your thoughts and ideas, including topics YOU would like to see covered. From what I understand, submitting a proposal to the Lotusphere team can be difficult. I've spoken in many venues, but never Lotusphere; I welcome feedback from anyone who has experience this area. (e.g. what works, given the nature of the audience and conference.) One of my concerns is that LS is directed at admins and developers and I'm not sure how keen they will be on an end-user focused session. Of course, I think anyone would benefit from this information.

I wish I could acknowledge each comment individually, however, I'm heading into the Office 2.0 conference.

I'll read the feedback, comment, and consider it for my proposal after the conference.

I sincerely thank you.

Eric

Posted at 9/5/2007 8:50:25 AM by Eric Mack


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

Some off the top thoughts:

- Injecting the "work/life balance" phrasing into the title/abstract *might* be appropriate

- I'd like to see content dealing with how to use Notes as a central email client for all other email accounts like Yahoo, gmail, etc. This might mean recommending some tweaks to the mail template to get reply address defaults working as expected, but that would definitely be practical if, say, the OpenNTF mail experience does this (not sure). I'm also not sure how easy it might now be to have multiple mail dbs for each of these accounts, such that you could stovepipe different "personalities" without having to switch locations.

Otherwise, a great concept and I think LONG overdue for attention.

Posted at 9/5/2007 9:00:31 AM by Kevin Pettitt


re: I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

Thanks, Kevin,

Good points to consider. Regardless of whether I speak at Lotusphere, I'll get this information out there, somehow. I think this is a big opportunity to help folks (and their employers) get more from their existing investment in Notes.

As for your multiple identities in Notes, Brian Green's done some really nice work with his team mailbox that could probably be adapted. I'll think about this for my next template release. But check with Brian, he can probably help.

Please continue to submit topic ideas and I'll consider them, if not for this session perhaps for a future session, blog, or podcast.

Eric

Posted at 9/5/2007 9:05:13 AM by Eric Mack


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

New thought:

Again requires a design mod to the various databases to better integrate them...

So, you're in your address book looking at a contact. You ask "what communications have I had with this person?" Short of a full-blown ACT! or Maximizer or whatever, how about an embedded view with show single category displaying all the email from/to that person? Maybe even meetings since its possible a formal invite was involved even for outside contacts. Taking it a step further, add a simple "phone note" form to the address book for logging phone calls with that person.

There's of course more you could do, but these would be a huge help and not hard to do. I've been meaning to do them myself forever, but I just haven't gotten round to it.

I haven't played around too much with any of the Notes/GTD solutions, but this may be functionality already included there. Setting aside the self-promotion issue, GTD may be something the audience should be made aware of because it is relevant.

Posted at 9/5/2007 9:38:41 AM by Kevin Pettitt


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

I like this idea and would attend at Lotusphere. It's an area I'm lacking and would greatly benefit I'm sure. I've only just recently taken advantage of the ToDo database. This simple change has helped managage my email. I simply create a ToDo item and stash the email instead of letting the note foster in my inbox. I'm having great satisfaction feeling a little more organized. Hey, I build and support applications but sometimes feel I don't spend the time to dig into all the features of the client. The shoe maker's kid's have no shoes?

Thanks.

Posted at 9/5/2007 10:13:33 AM by Curt Stone


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

I can't speak for admins, (hey, who can??) but as a developer, productivity tips are always welcome -- I don't think you'd have an issue with the target of your talk.

What's more, you will have non-technical staff attending at LS, so I wouldn't worry about this aspect of your talk.

Posted at 9/5/2007 2:28:59 PM by Ben Poole


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

Ben and others: great feedback on the subtitle, which I wrote but wasn't sold on. I really think Eric is on to something here and am gutted that I won't be able to attend if he gets in.

Posted at 9/5/2007 2:57:17 PM by Michael Sampson


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

The question is can you cover everything you would want to in 50 minutes? Might this better be a JumpStart session for a true deep dive without feeling rushed?

Posted at 9/6/2007 7:43:48 AM by Christopher Byrne


I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

First, I think it's a very good idea. The productivity applications in Notes 8 are new to everyone, so there is great interest to learn more about them.

The session basically sounds like "a day in the life... using Lotus Notes 8."

I also think you could easily get TWO sessions out of this.

There is also great curiosity around the composite applications in Notes 8. I think if you could build some composite applications using some off-the-shelf Notes applications and other sources, you could help spark some imagination.

I think also showing 3rd party applications as part of everyday (Notes) life is important. There are still a bunch of companies out there that still use Notes as primarily and e-mail system and not much more. Some because Notes just became "stagnant" within the organization and others are new converts to Notes and are on the cusp of going beyond mail.

Posted at 9/6/2007 9:29:14 AM by Henry Ferlauto


re: I want your feedback: I’m thinking about presenting at Lotusphere 2008

Christopher, a jump start would be an interesting way to go. I'll leave that to the conference organizers. Thanks for the idea.

Posted at 9/25/2007 9:12:04 PM by Eric Mack



Discussion for this entry is now closed.