I’m not a “Late Adopter” – I’m a Late Bloomer

The Guilt

I’ve only recently started using FaceBook.

I didn’t start using Twitter till 2010.

And the whole iPod / iTunes thing (that is – before the iPhone came out) was totally unknown to me. Those around me would look perplexed when I responded “Huh” to any conversation on this.

“Web 2.0” was alien to me (hell – what happened to 1.0?). “Gamification” sounded like something cute, and as far as I was concerned the “Cloud” was something that got in the way of the sun.

I felt that I was an “old fuddy-duddy”, a dinosaur, a relic from a simpler time (just to be melodramatic).

However, I knew that I had to come to terms with this new “fad”. If only to be able to talk with others in my field.

When I first started tweeting, I remember I was shocked when I got my first “follower” (“Who is this person? “How did they find me?”). It was also around this time that I started blogging. I wasn’t really sure why, but it was a way to “put down on paper” what my thoughts were regarding the technology I work with.

It always bothered me that I seemed to be always ‘lagging” behind. New things were coming out, and I was never an “Early Adopter”. Never on the cutting edge. 

The Realization

Then, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book “What the Dog Saw”. Chapter 8 is titled “Late Bloomers”.

In it, he talks about creativity and describes some of the findings economist David Galeson had made in the world of art. 


Of the famous artists, there were those who did their best work when they were young, who knew what they wanted to achieve (Picasso), and then there were those who didn’t do their best work till much later (Cezanne).

It seemed that the younger “prodigies” start with a clear idea of where they want to go, and then they execute it.

younger “prodigies” start with a clear idea of where they want to go, and then they execute it

On the other hand, the older Late Bloomer has imprecise goals and tend to “explore” in a tentative, and an incremental, way.  And, for these artists, because the goal is imprecise, they never actually get to a point where they say. “Goal achieved!” They just keep exploring, testing and discovering along the way.

A Late Bloomer has imprecise goals and tend to “explore” in a tentative, and an incremental, way

This really struck me as interesting. It made me look at what I have been doing. As I mentioned above, I never started out with a goal when I started my blog. I never had an idea what I would be doing with Twitter.

But, looking back, I can see a journey of incremental discoveries.

The “subject matter” of my posts were, initially, to do with “document management in a regulated environment”. But as I did research on this, it has lead to other areas that, while not directly related, have a link with the initial concept.

And these have, in turn, taken me to other, loosely connected, areas of interest.

This “way of learning”, this “exploration”, is a good example of “naturalistic vs. mechanistic” learning.

It is my own passion, my own interest that is leading me on this journey.

And I get the feeling that it has given me a far better (may I say “wiser”) view of things, and how they can be used, and applied in real-life situations.

Related Post

Scrum Master Training – my impressions

In my earlier posts (here, here, or here) you can read how I have recently “discovered” Agile/Scrum

Having seen the challenges that can be encountered with the Waterfall, or PRINCE2, model, I am keen to learn more about this alternative approach. To that end, I sent myself off on a Scrum Master course.

In this post I want to give my impression of the training course – what was good about it, what worked, what didn’t, and what was wrong with the course.

Before I do, I need to clarify that these are my own opinions and not those of my anyone else that I have regular, or irregular contact with.

Also, please note that I won’t be going into the merits, or shortcomings of Scrum. I won’t be entering into the “discussion” taking place in the Project Management community surrounding the Scrum Master Certification. Nor will I be giving a blow-by-blow account of the 2 days.

Course Appraisal

Course Name: Certified Scrum Master Course

Course Provider: Collabnet – a reasonably large company that specializes in collaboration software development. Agile training is also part of their offerings, and they give courses in multiple locations in North America and Europe.


Training Location

The training course was help in a conference room in a Marriott hotel. This meant that there were excellent refreshments, and a great lunch. (Always an important factor when attending such an event.)


For this course, the trainer was Rafael Sabbagh Armony.

I was very impressed with his style of teaching he used. The training material he gave us seemed to be merely a formality as not once did Rafael refer to it. His style was more an interactive one. Through a series of “group exercises” he created an environment of learning through exploration, questioning, and peer-learning.

Obviously, a group exercise is a very contrived event and has very little resemblance to a “real world” equivalent, but in the process of working through the exercise, it encourages one to relate it to other situations (perhaps ones that are based in the real-world). This fostered further questioning, and discussion (both within the group, and within the whole class.

Rafael seemed very knowledgeable in his subject (Agile) and drew upon real-life situations that he had been involved in, when discussing SCRUM, both in answering individual questions, or contributing to one of the many class discussions.

Course Content

On the understanding that the course was focused on a Scrum Master, and was not an overview of Agile, or even Scrum itself, I did feel that, at the end of the course, I had a far-better understanding of this Framework.

One interesting thing was that, after registering for the course, I received access to a collection of on-line Scrum training material. This included a Scrum quick-reference guide, and a series of training videos, that took me through the fundamentals of Scrum.

Knowing very little about Scrum at this point, I found these resources to have a lot of value. It also meant that, during the training course itself, time was spent with “group exercises” (see above), and discussion, rather than going through the basics.

Could be better

Classroom Material

On the first day of the class, we were each given the course notes. These were in color (always helps), but had a thermal bind cover on them. While keeping the pages together in a very tidy fashion, it meant that for you to lay the “book” open fully, you had to damage the spine and binding material.


Left hand oblivious to what the right hand is doing

While Collabnet describe themselves as “The Leader in Agile Development in the Cloud” they came across as a organization made up of business units that seemed to have absolutely no idea what the other business units were doing. They also didn’t appear to have a coördinated approach to dealing with customers.

My point in case is this: On the 6th of December, I registered, and paid, for this course, and immediately received a confirmation from the department that handles course registration. This was as expected. However, on the 12th of December (less than a week later) I received a promotional e-mail from Collabnet offering me a 40% discount if I “book now!”

I was furious. A 40% discount was quite a lot (especially when I was, indirectly, paying for the course myself). I contacted Collabnet and asked why I wasn’t told about this when I first registered, and requested the same discount. The response I got was a simple “Sorry – we can’t retroactively apply the discount”! Unbelievable! (Maybe I was asking the wrong person, but then I would have expected my e-mail to be forward to the correct person, and to get a response from them.)

And to make matters worse, I still receive “promotional” announcements on a regular basis.

Socially Aware

One would expect any company that is involved with the “Cloud” to be socially aware. They do have a Twitter account (@Collabnet), but seem to use this merely as a “hey – look at us” type of account. I sent out a tweet about the 40% discount “complaint” I had, and even included “@Collabnet”. Did I get a reaction? No. This gave me the impression that Collabnet were not responsive to their customers.

Spelling. Grammar, Images

The training notes were full of typographical errors.

At the time, this did not cause too much concern (My recommendation is to check out something that most businesses that provide material to customers, and the public – a spellchecker. It doesn’t take long to do it, and, in many cases can be initiated by just clicking on a menu item.

The fact that there were many, many spelling mistakes is, in this case, not of too much concern. As I mentioned above, Rafael delivered the course without referring to the notes, and did it in such a way that the real value came from what he was saying, rather than what we were reading.

However, having words incorrectly spelt (especially in your course material) does send a poor message. And it does not take long to run a spell check over the content before “publishing” it.

With regards “images” – I have only one small complaint – make sure the images used don’t cover up the text (especially when they are being used on a page that discusses “transparency”).


Overall, I was satisfied with the course.

Having the pre-course training material available was excellent. I was really happy with that.

The classroom training, as delivered by Rafael, was also very good. I did not walk away at the end it feeling unsatisfied. The method of delivery was great, Rafael didn’t just “read from the book”

However, the “Bad” points I mentioned are worth thinking about. Collabnet came across as a Big Company that didn’t really care about its little customers.

  • Managing Agile Teams with Project Managers
  • CollabNet adds Scrum tech provider
  • Scrum

Related Post

Is AIIM’s CIP Exam really worth doing?

Is the AIIM CIP really worth doing? In this post I have a look at what the CIP exam, and the certification, mean.

[Updated: May 2016]



In 202, when it first came out, Laurence Hart wrote about AIIM’s Certified Information Professional (CIP) certification, and the CIP exam. He was working at the time as CIO of AIIM and described the value of the CIP.



In response to this, I commented  that I needed to be convinced that the CIP wouldn’t be just another of the many certifications that are available. (I referred to it as JACJust Another Certification)


Is the CIP a JACJust Another Certification?


Laurence posted a second blog post where he discussed, further, the type of content that he encountered in the exam.


This assuaged some of my concerns, but also prompted me to do something that I should have actually done in the beginning, and that is, read the CIP information that AIIM has on its site!


If I had, I would have seen that a lot of thought, and work, had been put into it.


As Laurence pointed out, the exam is not an easy one. The exam has 100 questions and is not the sort of thing that you can just do while sitting in the comfort of your own chair while flicking back and forth between the exam, and Google.


No, for this, you need to go to a Prometric test centre. The guys there are professionals, and you can expect to be under video surveillance while you do the exam.


When AIIM was putting the whole “certification” thing together, including the CIP exam, they went and asked the industry, what “stuff” was actually important to know.


This was all scribbled down in a large notebook, and then scrutinised by subject matter experts. The SME’s then created the monster known as the CIP exam. Very broad, but also very deep in each of the various areas.


AIIM also recognise that the industry is not a static thing. Technology changes, business processes change ways of working change. As a result, if you pass the exam, it’s only valid for three years. After that, it’s necessary to either re-sit the exam or to prove that you have attained a necessary level of continuing education credits ((in this case, 45).


And what does that mean?


Initially, this was something else that bothered me. “Hey, my company just paid $500 for an on-line training course. It was easy – didn’t have to do anything, and voila, I’m recertified.”


No – earning continued education credits is not so easy. You earn credits by attending conferences, formal university-level courses, chapter meetings, giving presentations. And you don’t earn that many credits for each of these items. Even if you re-sat the exam after three years, AIIM will be continuously updating it to reflect changes in the industry, so you can’t just “use the same answers as last time”.


This is what really impressed me. In the Netherlands, medical doctors need to keep up a certain level of training. Each course or conference they attend delivers them a certain number of points. To stay registered they need to attain a certain level each year. (It is most likely the same in other countries, it’s just my wife’s a doctor, and I get to hear about this all the time.)


I realize that there is a world of difference between a Certified Information Professional, and a Medical Doctor, but this one factor drove home to me how serious AIIM’s CIP certification is.


This one factor drove home to me how serious AIIM’s CIP certification is.


Based on what I have read, I’m putting the CIP exam high on my list of goals for this year.

(And, even though I’ve been working in the industry now for over 13 years, I’m not going to do the exam “cold” as Laurence did. I’ll be making damn good use of those training videos.)



Relevant links:

  • 2016 CIP Program Update
  • Certified Information Professional 2016 Update Outline
  • CIP Data Sheet
  • CIP Study Guide
  • CIP – Maintain the Certification Form



  • Becoming a Certified Information Professional (wordofpie.com)
  • Certified Information Professional, A Valid Measure (wordofpie.com)
  • My Next Life as AIIM’s CIO (wordofpie.com)


Recommended Resources

Related Post

AIIM’s Email Management Practitioner Course

e-mail messages

Recently, I was on business about an hour north of Chicago for two weeks. I was staying at a hotel, and this is always a great opportunity to get some study done. (I know – sounds boring, but there is only so much drinking and partying that one can partake of).

In 2009 I had paid for an AIIM Email Management Practitioner course. This is an online course, and had an expiry date. Unfortunately over the last two years, things have been pretty hectic, and I never got around to doing the course. But thanks to the great people at AIIM (especially Angela) I was able to get the course extended past its expiry date a few times.

I started the course with, I have to admit, low expectations.

However, I quickly found that the course was incredibly valuable.

As well as covering the basics regarding e-mail such as architecture and protocols, it went into governance, ways to capture e-mail (as well as the attachments), and classification,  as well as discussing the various regulatory requirements, and “discoverability”, etc. It looked at email from the Records perspective.  (You can read more about the content of the course here on the AIIM site)

What I really liked about this course is that it also discussed the challenges & pragmatics of email management (including the limitations). It raised points that I have never really considered.

And that is what I liked. I didn’t feel that I was learning dry details. The course presented things in a way that I found myself, during the middle of the presentations, thinking about how I could apply what I was learning to real-life situations (clients I have worked with, etc).

All in all – I am really happy with the course.

Useful links:

  • AIIM
  • AIIM EMM course
  • Why Managing E-mail Matters
  • About.com:Email website
  • Archiving 101 blog
  • Electronic Discovery and Evidence blog

Why Managing E-mail MattersWhy Managing E-mail Matters

  • Management of Electronic Records Still not Taken Seriously (prweb.com)

Related Post

… Day 1 continued – Training

Momentum EMC Documentum ECMS

In the afternoon, there were a number of “Tutorials”. I attended one entitled “Successful End User Rollout – EMC End User Enablement.

(When you register at the beginning of Momentum, you get the “Conference Guide”, a thick book containing the programme for each day, along with descriptions of the sessions, and oodles of other information. I am learning that there is a lot of value in actually reading the description of the sessions, rather than just the titles. While the tutorial I mentioned above wasn’t quite what I expected, it was still very valuable.)

“Successful End User Rollout” was about an important part of a project that often gets underestimated. User training. This session was given by Gunny Cameron, a lady who oozed passion for training. This came through in her delivery, and was great!

End-user training is something that is often the first victim in a project when budgets are stretched. If, for one reason or another, a cut has to be made in a project, it is Training that gets sacrificed. Often, the actual training given does not quite “enable users”. This can lead to poor adoption of the new system by the end-users because they do not understand it, with the result that a project can be deemed as having failed because the system “is too complex”, or not used properly.

Gunny presented a User Enablement Plan, that would lead to “Strong End User Adoption”. The key components of this are:

  • Curriculum Development – PADDIE.
  • Power User Training (prepare someone to be the “Go-To” person).
  • Train the Trainer
  • Web Based – make standard modules, and modify them for different situations as required.

PADDIE – the acronym for the model used for Curriculum Development. This includes:

  • Plan – Identify training needs
  • Analyze – Assess current situation, identify roles, envision the future, etc.
  • Design – Create learning objectives, and determine the approach used for giving the training (instructor, led, web based, hands –on, demonstration/stimulation).
  • Develop Content – also take into account job aids, and a glossary of terms.
  • Implement
  • Evaluate – how do you know whether the training has been successful. Is there something measurable?

Obviously Momentum is to promote EMC (and its partners), so there was a subtle push for EMC’s own training and education services, but sometimes it makes sense to get the “people who know a product inside out” to be involved with preparing training material because they know the product well (and have the technical resources to call upon when necessary).

After the tutorial session, I was able to talk to Gunny. The main question I had was, actually, about her name. As it tuns out her real name is Guvnor Cameron. It is a Swedish name.

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Posted in Training | Tagged , Online Training, , Web application | Leave a reply

AIIM SharePoint Master Course – Day 2, 3 & 4

Day 2 was the second day of the Practitioner’s part of the course. The day was very similar to the previous day – we covered the course material, which Mr English interspersed with real world examples, along with “Bill’s take” on a particular subject. The members of the class also contributed with their own experiences.

To summarise, on Day 1 we covered:

  • Product
    • Core Capabilities
    • Components and Parts
  • Function
    • Records Center
    • Document Libraries
    • Imaging & Capture
    • Report Management
    • Forms Design
    • WCM/Sites
    • Workflow & BPM
    • Email Management
    • SharePoint & MS Office Integration

On Day 2, we covered:

  • Design Elements
    • Content types
    • Classification
    • Search
    • Workflow
    • Communities
  • Infrastructure
    • Architecture
    • Governance
    • Site Provisioning
    • Admin & Maintenance.

The Practitioner’s course gave a good overview of the capabilities of SharePoint 2010 within the framework of content and records management. The people attending were made up of consultants, Record Managers, Business Managements and similar. When necessary Bill would delve into the technical realm of specific parts of SharePoint 2010, but this was not frequent as the course was not a technical one.

On Day 3 we started the Specialist course. The class was smaller as several people had only been attending the Practitioner’s part.

The material covered for the Specialist course included:

  • Assess
    • Information Gathering
    • Strategy
    • Business Case
  • Transition
    • Documenting Requirements
    • Records Management
    • Governance
  • Implement
    • Customisation
    • Integration
    • Migration
  • Sustain
    • Change Management
    • Test, train, sustain

Initially I felt that a lot of the material covered in the Specialist course could be used in any ECM decision making process.

However, upon re-reading the material I see that it is applicable to SharePoint, in the sense of deciding whether SharePoint is actually the best solution for the business needs, as well as outlining SharePoint strengths and weaknesses. Many useful assessment and decision making strategies tools are described.

Much of what was covered in this course, was of a “dryer” nature (i.e. more conceptual) than in the previous course, and this would result in a slight drop in the attention, and enthusiasm of everyone.

Because many of Microsoft‘s definitions, or descriptions, do not quite match the global “standard” definitions/descriptions found in the Industry (in Records Management for example), often there would be healthy discussions. The specific functionalities of SharePoint were often questioned and the “intended purpose” of such functionality was debated. These times were really valuable, as everyone present had a good understanding of “real” Records Management.

At the end of the course we were presented with an 8 page Case Study. There were three assignments that, because of their group nature, were to be completed during the course, with a third assignment that needed to be done outside of the course, and then presented to AIIM. This, along with passing an online exam are requirements for achieving SharePoint Master Certification.

I felt that two days was not long enough for this course (especially if done in a class). As mentioned in my post on Day 1, the value of doing such a course in the classroom is the ability to ask questions, get feedback on comments, as well as expanding on topics through describing “real-world” situations. This requires extra time, and often we found we were racing through the material, so that we would have enough time for the Case Study assignments.

However, besides that one comment, I really enjoyed this course, and was happy with the material covered. As mentioned, the AIIM SharePoint Master Class is not a technical course, but one designed to describe the concepts and technologies of SharePoint as well as the best practices for implementing SharePoint. I think the course achieved that.

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