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December 4, 2014 | 0 comments

By Michael Roberts

Years ago, building technology project teams was usually done informally. The designated leader did a survey of the organization, followed by recruiting, and it was off to the races.  Today, management expectations of project success are much higher, and there are tailored approaches to building any size team for almost any project.  Applications to support the project team exist in great profusion, and consultants are only a phone call away.

My own work with teams in several different contexts suggests that the human element is critical, and that it is not just technical and professional skills that matter.  Many of the interpersonal relationships necessary to project team success have been explored and exploited in sports and the military, and there are lessons to be learned from that history.

Any significant project effort will face stresses related to scope, to deadlines, and to resource limits.  There will be times when failure looms.  Team members will have moments where they consider just walking away from the infernal hassle of it all.

It is well known that technical people tend to be introverted and to think of themselves as soloists in the choir.  Once in a while, this approach works and carries the day in grand style.  More frequently, projects...

December 4, 2014 | 0 comments

Internet Hall of Famer Michael Roberts must be feeling a great deal of satisfaction these days.

In his induction speech, he said he has an appreciation for team-building. Well, looking back on his career – not that he’s inclined to look back, but he was asked to do so during a recent conversation – it’s clear that he’s built some pretty exceptional teams himself.

Roberts is best known as CEO and first President of the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). His emphasis on collaboration shines through as he modestly recalls how he got that position: “I had worked hard in the effort to implement the mandate to privatise the Domain Name System, had previous startup experience, and was able to step in when [fellow Internet Hall of Famer] Jon Postel died suddenly." He insists that it has been teamwork on the part of engineers and representatives of industry, governments, and nonprofits that deserves the credit for ICANN’s success in developing policies that coordinate the Internet’s Domain Name System. Nevertheless, his term there was so successful that what was supposed to be a six-month effort turned into three years.

The collaboration Roberts is most proud of is the one that won passage of the High-Performance Computing Act of 1991.  The legislation, originally introduced by Senator Al Gore...

November 14, 2014 | 0 comments

In a recent ‘CBS This Morning’ segment, Walter Isaacson, author of  “The Innovators,” which was released on October 7, 2014, discusses collaboration, and it’s important role in innovation.  In his book, which focuses on the men and women who helped create the Internet and computer, he mentions 26 of our Internet Hall of Fame inductees. Can you guess which ones?

November 4, 2014 | 0 comments

Dr. Douglas Van Houweling and his team at the University of Michigan scaled the original ARPAnet technology so that it could be used to establish today’s Internet. His project, done for the National Science Foundation and called the NSFNet, connected supercomputing centers and major research universities throughout the U.S. In this video, he describes working with “colleagues around the world,” in defiance of “abundant skeptics,” to allow the resulting Internet to grow to the absolutely necessary phenomenon it has become.


November 4, 2014 | 0 comments

Perhaps because October is the month when “International Internet Day” is celebrated worldwide, many Internet Hall of Fame inductees were featured in the news over the past four weeks.

A new book, “The Innovators,” was published, featuring tales of the late Internet pioneer J.C.R. Licklider and other luminaries and their contributions to the Internet. It was reviewed in the Washington Post, among other major publications.

The Internet Archive, created by Brewster Kahle  introduces some cool new tools for libraries worldwide.

Kilnam Chon tells U.S. News and World Report that repairing Korea’s ID security problems could take a decade.