Getting up to speed on OSS

In five years a new employee is going to walk in for her first day, sit down in front of a screen (or HUD) and say, “Alexa, show me the org, how it’s changed in the last 6 months, how it works, and where I can help.” And then the screen (and her eyes) are going to light up.”
Aaron Dignan
here.

If I change just a couple of words in the paragraph above, it gives a great insight into the user experience for an OSS operator of the future.

Current-day operators generally need a truckload of training on networks, processes, apps, etc before they can begin functioning at a base level. To reach expert level takes months or years. We need to make the learning experience far more repeatable and seamless.

I see learning management and decision support crossing over to deliver an immersive getting-started experience. Not just during the getting started phase, but ongoing decision support as the operator tackles increasingly complex and new tasks.

Can you spot the changes in the updated paragraph below?
“In five years a new employee is going to walk in for her first day, sit down in front of a screen (or HUD) and say, “Alexa, show me the OSS, how processes changed in the last 6 months, how it works, and where I can help.” And then the screen (and her eyes) are going to light up.”

She becomes immediately active on real tasks, not just mocked-up training tasks, and Alexa guides the new starter through the completion of those tasks. The decision support not only guides but also embeds learning content (eg slides or videos) to provide supplementary context to the activities (eg a description of the network that the activity is touching).

Parts of this dream are available today, although interestingly they’re not specifically OSS tools.

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2 thoughts on “Getting up to speed on OSS

  1. I think that the evolution from static dashboards, billboards, event lists, etc., toward an active, Heads Up display cant happen soon enough. Tools vendors expect people to sit in front of screens all day and thats just not the case. Folks are mobile, virtual, and on the go. Even management staff, which many products never engage, are on the go.

    Many of the products are tools oriented and not so much workflow. The personas and use cases they are developed against. are fundamentally wrong. Part of the assumption is that the workflow is entirely human and outside of the UI. THATS why the product gets in the way so to say.

    I did some prototyping on VR and VR interfaces. Some things work. Others, not so much. When I looked at gamification, I saw where I could get some speed back (POV Ray tracing, etc.) But I came away with the thought that OSS – Workflow based tools need a reward mechanism. Rewards for building workflows, workarounds, run books, as well as solving problems. As soon as I let users accumulate gold or experience points, the rewards drive immersion into the workflow.

    I think that the hidden “Bus” prevalent in some Operations shops continues to be XMPP Chat mechanisms. This needs to be extended into more tools and applications. Funny. Slack works on your phone. The same HUD could do the same. Now, the users and information gets going.

    I like the works of Dr. Mica Endsley on the science of Situation Awareness. Makes you think aboutreal time information systems UIs.

  2. Hi Dougie,

    Brilliant stuff! I love seeing your thoughts posted here on PAOSS.

    I’m completely with you on the concept of gamification in OSS – it’s literally screaming out to be used (as per a few of my previous posts http://passionateaboutoss.com/?s=gamification).

    Thanks for the heads-up about Dr. Mica Endsley too. I hadn’t been aware of her work, but it does appear to cross over into my intrigue about using advanced command and control (ie situational awareness) in OSS.

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