A.5.3.1 Pattern: Active Reminders

A group of people has been attempting to accomplish some task as effectively and efficiently as possible. In addition to knowledge about the contents of various domains, much has been learned about the relationship between types of situations or problems and the types of processes that are well suited to these situations or problems. Some of this knowledge has been incorporated into various group processes. However, even when people agree on an effective and efficient process to follow “up front”, short-term interests may distract them from following the process. For example, even when people agree to have a “brainstorming session” to generate ideas, it is easy to begin critiquing the feasibility of an idea.

How can people stay on track with a process that has been shown to be effective for a given situation?

· People have a drive to learn and practice new skills.
· People have a drive to be as productive as possible in order to acquire things and experiences.
· People have a drive to become defensive if they are blamed for a violation of expectation when they had no idea what that expectation was.
· It is easier to behave in a way that complements the behaviors of others if the expectations about what to do are made clear and guidance is given in following an agreed upon process.
· Some people (facilitators) are skilled at relating situations to appropriate processes and making sure that people follow these processes.
· Skilled facilitators may not always be available.
· People can become distracted from goals and commitments by immediate stimuli.

When developing a system for deployment in a set of situations that is amenable to following specific processes, include a way of monitoring on-going behavior for compliance of the process and a mechanism for sending reminders if the process is violated.

Key words in an on-line brainstorming system could signal the presence of critiquing behavior. Reminders could be sent by the system to all participants that evaluating ideas will take place later and that the current goal is to generate ideas.

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