Project Managers, Scrum Masters and Agents of Change
If you’re working on any type of project as a Project Manager, Scrum Master, or are part of any change management process, these tools should be in your technology toolkit. Over the years I’ve adopted the tools listed here. Some of these products were already part of the corporate environment, so I was required to use them, sometimes to my chagrin. In other corporate environments, I had the freedom to identify, select, and adopt one or more of these tools for teams I led. I hope this article introduces you to the next tool in your toolkit.
Project and Product Management Tools
Regardless of project implementation methodologies, as an agent of change, tracking requests for change, and approved changes for implementation should be quantified for effort and costs associated with the changes. Categorizing, classifying, prioritizing changes are all possible if changes are captured, tracked and opportunities compared.
Automation / Workflow
Project management automation? You bet!
Anyone not interested in a collaborative environment for dynamic projects doesn’t know the statement “Share the Blame, Pass the Credit.”
“There are no words to express…” so say it in a beautiful, graphical presentation that will get your message across.
Meeting Minutes, Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), Functional Specifications, random notes, images of error messages, etc.
Financials / Project Reporting
I once had to track a project “THIS BIG“, and it came with a few accountants in tow.
This list is to highlight the most recent tools I’ve used “in the field”. Just because I’ve omitted a product or service, it doesn’t mean I don’t advocate their use. Please see the archive file below on additional tools I’ve used prior to my most recent engagements.
There are, of course, 3rd party platforms that perform very well, are feature rich, and agnostic to all file types. For example, within a very short period of time, low cost, and possibly a few plugins, a WordPress site can be configured and deployed to suit your needs of Digital Asset Managment (DAM). The long-term goal is to incorporate techniques such as Auto Curation to any/all files, leveraging an ever-growing intelligent taxonomy, a taxonomy built on user-defined labels/tags, as well an AI rules engine with ML techniques. OneDrive, as a cloud storage platform, may bridge the gap between JUST cloud storage and a DAM.
Content Creation Apps and Auto Curation
The ability for Content Creation applications, such as Microsoft Word, to capture not only the user-defined tags but also the context of the tags relating to the content.
When ingesting a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation, after consuming the file, and Auto Curation process can extract “reusable components” of the file, such as slide header/name, and the correlated content such as a table, chart, or graphics.
Ingesting Microsoft Excel and Auto Curation of Workbooks may yield “reusable components” stored as metadata tags, and their correlated content, such as chart and table names.
Ingesting and Auto Curation of Microsoft Word documents may build a classic Index for all the most frequently occurring words, and augment the manually user-defined tags in the file.
Ingestion of Photos [and Videos] into and Intelligent Cloud Storage Platform, during the Auto Curation process, may identify commonly identifiable objects, such as trees or people. These objects would be automatically tagged through the Auto Curation process after Ingestion.
Ability to extract the content file metadata, objects and text tags, to be stored in a standard format to be extracted by DAMs, or Intelligent Cloud Storage Platforms with file and metadata search capabilities. Could OneDrive be that intelligent platform?
A user can search for a file title or throughout the Manual and Auto Curated, defined metadata associated with the file. The DAM or Intelligent Cloud Storage Platform provides both search results. “Reusable components” of files are also searchable.
For “Reusable Components” to be parsed out of the files to be separate entities, a process needs to occur after Ingestion Auto Curration.
Content Creation application, user-entry tag/text fields should have “drop-down” access to the search index populated with auto/manual created tags.
Auto Curation and Intelligent Cloud Storage
The intelligence of Auto Curation should be built into the Cloud Storage Platform, e.g. potentially OneDrive.
At a minimum, auto curation should update the cloud storage platform indexing engine to correlate files and metadata.
Auto Curation is the ‘secret sauce’ that “digests” the content to build the search engine index, which contains identified objects (e.g. tag and text or coordinates) automatically
Auto Curation may leverage a rules engine (AI) and apply user configurable rules such as “keyword density” thresholds
Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning rules may be applied to the content to derive additional labels/tags.
If leveraging version control of the intelligent cloud storage platform, each iteration should “re-index” the content, and update the Auto Curation metadata tags. User-created tags are untouched.
If no user-defined labels/tags exist, upon ingestion, the user may be prompted for tags
Auto Curation and “3rd Party” Sources
In the context of sources such as a Twitter feed, there exists no incorporation of feeds into an Intelligent Cloud Storage. OneDrive, Cloud Intelligent Storage may import feeds from 3rd party sources, and each Tweet would be defined as an object which is searchable along with its metadata (e.g. likes; tags).
Operating System, Intelligent Cloud Storage/DAM
The Intelligent Cloud Storage and DAM solutions should have integrated search capabilities, so on the OS (mobile or desktop) level, the discovery of content through the OS search of tagged metadata is possible.
OneDrive has no ability to search Microsoft Word tags
The UI for all Productivity Tools must have a comprehensive and simple design for leveraging an existing taxonomy for manual tagging, and the ability to add hints for auto curation
Currently, Microsoft Word has two fields to collect metadata about the file. It’s obscurely found at the “Save As” dialog.
The “Save As” dialogue box allows a user to add tags and authors but only when using the MS Word desktop version. The Online (Cloud) version of Word has no such option when saving to Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Storage
Auto Curation (Artificial Intelligence, AI) must inspect the MS Productivity suite tools, and extract tags automatically which does not exist today.
No manual taging or Auto Curation/Facial Recognition exists.
Review of Microsoft OneDrive Cloud Repository. It may be an easy tool and service(s) to save files. If you know what you roughly want to find, most Cloud repositories are easy and straight forward to use. Over time, if not managed appropriately, the cloud repository becomes burdensome to manage, e.g. access and find files. If stuck in the “file folder organization storage” mentality of organizing our content, our Cloud storage solution will become quickly unyielding. Getting into habits like tagging your content should help us to access files beyond the “Folder Borders”. To the contrary, there are huge opportunities to leverage and grow existing platforms, specifically around the process service of [file] Ingestion.
Bulk file loading, e.g. photos from our smartphones, maybe the entire family uploads to the same storage repository
If performed by the “Ingestion Service”, manual user “tagging” of a group of photos, or individual images may be available.
Geotagging may be available either at the time of image capture , or upon the start of the “Ingestion Service”
Facial Recognition, compared to the likes of services such as Facebook, based on my experience, are not readily available to personal Cloud Storage repositories.
Auto tagging pictures upon ingestion, if performed, may leverage “Extracted Text” from images. Images become searchable with little human intervention.
Cloud File Repository: Storing Content
I created modified existing Microsoft Office files”tags”, in this case MS Word and PowerPoint file types were used. I opened the Word file, and selected “File” menu, “Save As” menu, then “More Options” under the list of file types. I was then presented with the classic “Save As” form. Just below the “Save as type” list box, there were 3 “metadata” fields to describe the file:
The first two fields are semi colon ; delimited and multiple values are allowed. In this test case, I added to the “Tags” field “CV;resume;career”. I then used the MS Windows Snipping Tool that comes with the OS to document the step. I called the file MSWordTags.PNG and saved this screen capture to my OneDrive. Then I saved the document itself on my OneDrive.
Cloud File Repository: Finding Content
I then started up Internet Explorer, and went to the https://onedrive.live.com site to access my cloud content. On the top left corner of the screen, there is a field called “Search Everything”, and I typed in CV.
The search results included ONLY the image screenshot file that contained the letters CV, and not the MS Word file that explicitly had the Tag field with the text value CV.
Looking at the file properties as defined by OneDrive, there was ALSO a field called “Tags” with no values populated. For example, the Cloud “Ingestion” service did not read the file for metadata, and abstract it to the Cloud level. just two separate sets of metadata describing the same file. To view the Cloud file data, select the file, and there is an i with a circle around it. Too many ways to store the same data, and may lead to inconsistent data.
For the Cloud file information / properties, the image file had a field called “Extracted Text”, and this is how the search picked up the CV value in the Cloud Search for my files with the “CV” tag.
Oddly, the MS Word file attributes in OneDrive did not offer “tags” as a field to store meta data in the cloud. The “tags” field was available when looking at the PNG file. However, the user may add a “Description” in a multiline text field. Tags metadata on images and not MS Word files? Odd.
Future State (?): If the Cloud Ingestion process can perform an “Extracted Text” process, it may also have other “Ingestion services”, such as “Facial Recognition” from “known good” faces already tagged. e.g. I tag a face from within the OneDrive browser UI, and now when other images are ingested, there can be a correlation between the files.
As a business model, are we going to add a tier just after Cloud File ingestion, maybe exercise a third party suite of cognitive APIs, such as facial recognition? For example, Microsoft OneDrive Ingests a file, and if it’s an image file, routes through to the appropriate IBM Watson API, processes the file, and returns [updated] metadata, and a modified file? Maybe.
Update: Auto Tagging Objects Upon Ingestion
On an image with no tags, I selected the “Edit tags” menu from the Properties pane on the right side of the screen. As a scrolling menu, the option to “Add existing tag” appeared. There were dozens of tags already created with a word, thumbnail image, and the number of times used. Wow. Awesome. The current implementation seems to automatically, upon ingestion, identify objects in the image, and tag the images with those objects, e.g. Building, Beach, Horse, etc.
Presumption that Microsoft OneDrive performs object recognition on images upon file ingestion into the cloud (as opposed to in the Photos app).
“Extracted Text ” Metadata Field from within Microsoft OneDrive Image PNG File Properties:
Presumption that Microsoft OneDrive performs OCR on images upon file ingestion into the cloud (as opposed to the Photos app).
Is there value in providing users the ability to apply “Time Lock Access” to files in cloud storage? Files are securely uploaded by their Owner. After upload no one, including the Owner, may access / open the file(s). Only after the date and time provided for the time lock passes, files will be available for access, and action may be taken, e.g. Automatically email a link to the files. More complex actions may be attached to the time lock release such as script execution using a simple set of rules as defined by the file Owner.
Solution already exists? Please send me a link to the cloud integration product / plug in.
Are you trying to apply metadata on individual files or en masse, attempting to make the vast growth of cloud storage usage manageable, meaningful storage?
Best practices leverage a consistent hierarchy, an Information Architecture in which to store and retrieve information, excellent.
Beyond that, capabilities computer science has documented and used time and time again, checksum algorithms. Used frequently after a file transfer to verify the file you requested is the file you received. Most / All Enterprise DAM solutions use some type of technology to ‘allow’ the enforcement of unique assets [upon upload]. In cloud storage and photo solutions targeted toward the individual, consumer side, the feature does not appear to be up ‘close and personal’ to the user experience, thus building a huge expanse of duplicate data (documents, photos, music, etc.). Another feature, a database [primary] key has been used for decades to identify that a record of data is unique.
Our family sharing alone has thousands and thousands of photos and music. The names of the files could be different for many of the same digital assets. Sometimes file names are the same, but the metadata between the same files is not unique, but provides value. Tools for ‘merging’ metadata, DAM tools have value to help manage digital assets.
Cloud storage usage is growing exponentially, and metadata alone won’t help rope in the beast. Maybe ADHOC or periodic indexing of files [e.g. by #checksum algorithm] could take on the task of identifying duplicate assets? Duplicate assets could be viewed by the user in an exception report? Less boring, upon upload, ‘on the fly’ let the user know the asset is already in storage, and show a two column diff. of the metadata.
It’s a pain for me, and quite possibly many cloud storage users. As more people jump on cloud storage, this feature should be front and center to help users grow into their new virtual warehouse.
The industry of cloud storage most likely believes for the common consumer, storage is ‘cheap’, just provide more. At some stage, the cloud providers may look to DAM tools as the cost of managing a users’ storage rises. Tools like:
duplicate digital assets, files. Use exception reporting to identify the duplicates, and enable [bulk] corrective action, and/or upon upload, duplicate ‘error/warning’ message.
Dynamic metadata tagging upon [bulk] upload using object recognition. Correlating and cataloging one or more [type] objects in a picture using defined Information Architecture. In addition, leveraging facial recognition for updates to metadata tagging.
e.g. “beach” objects: sand, ocean; [Ian Roseman] surfing;
Brief questionnaires may enable the user to ‘smartly’ ingest the digital assets; e.g. ‘themes’ of current upload; e.g. a family, or relationship tree to extend facial recognition correlations.
e.g. themes – summer; party; New Year’s Eve
e.g. relationship tree – office / work
Pan Information Architecture (IA) spanning multiple cloud storage [silos]. e.g. for Photos, spanning [shared] ‘albums’
Publically published / shared components of an IA; e.g. Legal documents; standards and reuse