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Olav Revheim's Blog

The "best minerals" project

12th Jan 2010

I received a very nice e-mail from Rock Currier a few days back, requesting me to publish an e-mail I sent to him October 25th last year. In this e-mail I compared the "Best Minerals" project as a change project, and put forward a few suggestions for the project. Based on Rock's feed-back I am posting the unedited e.mail as a blog entry. I will welcome any comments to this entry :-).


Fra: Olav Revheim
Sendt: 25. oktober 2009 13:24
Til: 'rockcurrier’
Emne: Mindat- Best minerals

Rock,

I will again express my admiration and respect for the best minerals project. It is a HUGE undertaking, that will probably take years to “complete”. As you have seen I am trying to write a bit on minerals where I have some knowledge from before. I value the mixed blessing of becoming a moderator in this forum quite high. I appreciate your confidence in me and I will continue to write articles because I find it very educating and it is a very structured way of learning.

I also see, somewhere in the future, this becoming THE reference for minerals and locations. I cannot see any other university, institution or company that has the knowledge, interest, time or budget to do anything remotely similar to the best minerals project. Being such a major undertaking as it is, and with the potential importance of the project it will in time, I think, change the worlds mineral society in a positive way.

----------

In my professional life I’ve been involved in several change management projects. Some of the things we observe now with the “best minerals” project, I think, show many similarities to what we see in a managed change project. A change runs through several phases before becoming a permanent feature:

1) Initiation phase
In this phase, the big project is planned by a limited number of people. Goals, strategies, means, objectives and project launch are agree upon. Then the project is launched to the community
2) Onboarding phase.
The initial reception is often positive, and the initiative appears to be a success, but the people mobilized are the people that jump on new ideas with enthusiasm, seeing the potential, thinking “this will be great”. It often gives a big project a kick start. It may however be difficult to keep the attention of the early mobilizers for very long.
3) Counteraction phase
After a while the counteraction phase kicks in. Statements like “We didn’t think it should be like this”.” I think you should rather do it different.” “The way you are running the project will not meet the objectives”. ( The objectives sucks anyway), starts to kick in. Many change initiatives dies in this phase. The counteractors rarely sees the effort put into the project.
4) Acceptance phase
Then the fuzz stops. The project and change is accepted as an integrated part of everyday life. It is often here, the best effect is observed. It will be in this phase many of the best mineral articles will be written, as many of the early enthusiasts are still there, and the maintainers have started to appear.
5) Maintenance phase
Is all about keeping the change alive, for the Best minerals articles, that will be to be able to fill in new finds, mobilize some of the museums and people with the old goodies, and filling the gaps in the articles that are good enough
Making a change permanent is difficult for several reasons, but one of the really important ones are that the initiators are not often good maintainers, so for a change to be successful over time, the initiators must be able to mobilize the maintainers, and finding good people outside the inner project core, capable of promoting it are key.

I think that the “best minerals” project right now are starting to face the counteraction phase. We see a number of “rather do it different” messages. It is important to keep faith through this phase, and be confident that the best is still ahead. I for one, plan to continue to write articles and support as good as I can, within the limitations I have (a job and a family) . There are some tools available to maintain enthusiasm and to keep up the spirit in these projects. They are:

a) Communication
What is the project, where are we at, what are the next steps, what are the goals, we are doing good
b) Positive events
This week the fantastic event of……. happened. Great job everybody.
c) Milestone acknowledgement
Today we reached the milestone of ….. Thanks to the contribution of….Man, are we great.
d) Management support
Top management supporting the project by highlighting it’s importance and the value created by the contributors.

I would like to suggest a few measures that can be implemented, and I can spend some time doing some of the stuff as well. Please do not see this as any form for critique, or downgrading of the work anyone is doing. What I am trying to do here is to support the project:

- Communication related: Grade the articles to different levels:
o Placeholder- An established article, but with little information
o Idle- An article with a substantial amount of information in place already, but without an owner that will “complete” it within a reasonable time
o In edit- An article with an owner, and in the process of writing the article- it may end up idle or
o High rank- An article passed first draft. Readable and good, but still with some missing information and always open for new input. This grade article may have the message reply organized with the newest message first as a default.

- Communication. Write an article on goals, strategies and objectives and place in the articles section. I know you have already placed it at the top tread of the best minerals, but I think it will be more read as an article. I may well write a draft for your approval.

- Communitation: The different contributors/moderatos may write blog entrys on why they write these articles and what it gives.- I can start

- Communication: In addition to the POTD, have a “Best Minerals article of the Month” entry next to the POTD

- Positive event: Add “ the Emerald article in Best minerals has now reached the high rank level” in the News coloumn

- Milestone acknowledgement: Present events like Article # 35started, Now reached 75 contributors, 25 high rank articles milestone achieved, 150 locations included in best mineral section in the “news” section, or in the best minerals message board.- I can participate.

- Management Support: Jolyon writes an intro to the “best minerals” message board that cannot be commented supporting the work done.

-------------------------------------

I hope this message will be perceived as a positive contribution to the best minerals section, not as yet another “ do it different” post. This e-mail is meant from my side as a supportive e-mail, with some ideas that may be taken into account, or they may not, that’s up to you and the other managers.

Regardless, I will continue to give my humble contribution to the “best minerals” message board.

Finally, I’d like to thank you again for starting this message board, and putting so much time and effort into it.

Best regards

Olav Revheim




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Comments

The ability to grade articles really isn't built in to the messageboard system and could be a bit tricky. What we do now is when an article goes "high rank" - ie basically done - is to link to it from the mineral page.

http://www.mindat.org/bestminart.php

This lists all the articles that have been linked.

David Von Bargen
14th Jan 2010 12:24pm

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