On the reg

Articulation work isn't just a cool research paper from 1992 (even though it kind of is)

September 18, 2021 Thesiswhisperer
On the reg
Articulation work isn't just a cool research paper from 1992 (even though it kind of is)
Show Notes

After hearing briefly from Jason, who seems to be making progress on his digital detox, Inger is joined by Dr Ben Kraal. Ben used to be an academic, but escaped into the wilds of UX consulting where he makes a very nice living - but still runs an excellent academic-ish newsletter on the side which is called '1992'.

Ben tells Inger about the inspiration for 1992, particularly the concept of Articulation work. This is a concept which comes from an early book on the Social organisation of Medical work by Straus, Fagerhaugh, Suczek and Weiner. 

Articulation work is a fancy way of talking about:

  • Putting tasks in an order (to complete some arc or work)
  • Doing tasks sequentially or simultaneously (to complete some arc of work)
  • Assigning people to do tasks (to complete some arc of work)

Basically all the stuff Inger and Jason do in their #Bujos or Omni or whatever else.

Ben explains to Inger that Kjeld Schmidt and Liam Bannon applied the ideas from articulation work to computers and invented Google Docs and Zoom in 1992 - or rather, imagined them in a paper called 'Taking CSCW seriously: Supporting Articulation Work'.  This paper is pretty amazing when you consider at the time you had to use a physical phone hand set to access the internet through a phone line.

This short history lesson on human computer interaction (naturally?) leads into a discussion of what meetings are really FOR and how Cal Newport has discovered the principles of Agile Project Management, not a whole new way to email. The nerd is very strong in this discussion, but Inger came away from it very enlightened and now understands why all those books that promise to solve your project management problems, never will (and why everyone hates Jira).

In our reading section, Ben recommends a book on forest management (that is very relevant for understanding public health in pandemics - just trust us) and Inger shares an article on the importance of 'cooling off' before saying 'yes' to a new idea. In the 2 minute tips section, Inger shares some writing planning secrets and Ben changes your life with the Highlighted App.

Links

Social organisation of Medical work by Straus, Fagerhaugh, Suczek and Weiner.
Taking CSCW seriously: Supporting Articulation Work' Schmidt and Bannon
The Mythical Man Month
Jason is reading: Seeing like a State
Inger is reading: Julia Bank's Power Play
Loleen Berdahl on Substack “How to assess shiny new ideas and invitations
Highlighted App http://highlighted.app
Ben's wife's books: Everly Frost

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