Last week I was having lunch with a colleague, when the conversation turned to internet forums. I was moaning about my Blue Tooth car installation and the misery of trying to integrate a Nokia phone’s address book with a ‘Parrot’ Blue Tooth in-car system. My colleague was waxing lyrical about how amazing the forums are and that he had a similar issue and within minutes of logging onto a Parrot forum, he had a fix and a detailed set of instructions as to how to implement the solution. In fact my colleague appeared to use internet forums a great deal for almost everything, it seemed.
Now obviously, obtaining a fix for an in-car system from an internet forum, is not quite the same as questioning the legal position of a Trade Union dispute or other serious dilemma. But the basic question remains, should we always refer to our ‘trusted’ advisors for assistance or should we search the internet forums first? How do we know what is offered is correct? I am beginning to hear people say ‘it must be true, it comes from Wikipedia!’. Well I have always been led to believe that Wikipedia is a website full of unsubstantiated facts and opinions? Although, if I am being strictly honest, I do find myself referring to it from time to time, but only for mostly trivial, less important, non legally binding issues. But now I know that there is a project to start up a Wikipedia like website that will cover European Law, giving advice on outcomes of specific cases right across Europe. Could this kind of forum eventually replace our Lawyers for the day to day matters for which we turn to them?
As interim managers, even if our contracts are strictly ‘best efforts’, we still are responsible for conveying accurate information.
I thought it might be interesting to compile a list of Internet Forums and information sources that are considered useful for Interim and Project Managers, places where we can turn to for accurate information? If you have any nominations, please send them to me.
Footnote: Many years ago (in my late twenties, I remember receiving some advice, over the phone, from a recommended expert. The advice he gave me sounded so plausible and completely solved my problem that I immediately tried to implement it on one of my projects. The mess I got into took a long time to payback. Because the solution on offer sounded so plausible, and the source was recommended by someone from the BBC, I stupidly did not test it out first! So forgive me, if I sound a little skeptical. ‘Once bitten, twice shy’.