It's often been my experience that when users complain about Lotus Notes, they are unaware that there are simple things that can be done to achieve a big boost in productivity. For example, I sometimes find that users do not have Lotus Notes set up to take advantage of Lotus Note's ability to keep a local replica - something that can lead to a dramatic performance improvement, especially when then the objective is to make the tool as productive as possible.

For the past 17 years, I've been serving organizations and individuals that use Lotus Notes to get things done. My focus is on high performance knowledge work and I teach the importance of having the right tools for the job and knowing how to use them to be productive. Unfortunately, many people don't give a thought to their systems and what makes them work well.
Instead of using tools that are optimized for the job, users often struggle and are less productive than they could be. That's like using a dull saw to cut a tree down -- you can do it, but it's going to take a lot more work to get the job done.
As I work with and coach clients around the world that use Lotus Notes, I'm often asked why Notes and their systems in general seem to get slower and slower. While there are many parts to the answer, the good news is that there is much you can do to improve the user experience in terms of performance.

First, let me provide some context: for purposes of this discussion I'll be referring to the Lotus Notes Mail file; however, the concepts I describe can be applied equally to any Lotus Notes database or application.

Before we can talk about the things that can be done to speed up Lotus Notes, we must first understand what aspects of your system and Notes affect performance. I have broken these down into three areas: System, Lotus Notes, and User Data. Elements in each of these areas will affect end-user performance. Some are things you can change easily; some are not. Let's take a look:

Continue Reading "Why is my Lotus Notes so slow? (how to improve your personal productivity by sharpening the saw)" »

I heard lots of good stuff, but I did not hear any earth-shattering news or announcements. I think that's a good thing. It means that IBM Lotus has a product line that is broad and deep with no gaping holes. In other words, solutions exist to not only meet the needs of business today but to transform how organizations do business tomorrow. I have lots more to share about Lotusphere and the meetings I have attended; I've taken a lot of pictures and notes and I want to spend some time thinking through the what I am seeing and hearing here at LS10 before I add my $.02.

For the latest information, PlanetLotus is a great aggregator site for all things Lotus. You can also follow the real-time twitter feeds at hash tag #LS10 or #LotusKnows.

Meanwhile, I will be presenting my session in Dolphin Southern II at 4:45 PM Today.
        BP302 Lotus Notes & Me: Maximizing Personal Productivity with IBM Lotus Notes

I hope to see you there.

IBM introduces new Lotus Solutions Catalog

Sunday, January 17th, 2010

As Ed Brill announced this morning, Lotus has released a new Lotus Solutions Catalog.

eProductivity is a featured app in the catalog, and I was really pleased to see eProductivity up on the big screen during a session called, "BDD101: Lotus Messaging and Collaborating drives Better Business Outcomes", presented by Kevin Cavanaugh and Mike Masterson.

Here are some pictures I took from the session (click for larger view):

Kevin Cavanaugh, presenting at Business Development Day Mike Masterson, presenting at Business Development Day

the new Lotus Solutions Catalog eProductivity is featured in the new Solutions Catalog

Be sure to visit the catalog at

Here is a screenshot of the eProductivity catalog page (click to go to the page):


Hat tip to Mike and his team for doing a great job with the catalog.

David Allen discusses a senior executive's story of a productivity transformation. By tapping into the power of GTD and eProductivity-enabled Lotus Notes, this transformation has greatly benefited the people under him and ultimately, the organization.

Footage taken from an interview with David on January 10, 2010. For more clips from the interview, go here.

Elegant GTD- IBM’s new cloud opportunity?

Saturday, January 16th, 2010

David Allen thinks that IBM has a cloud computing opportunity: elegant, cloud-based GTD.

Footage taken from an interview with David on January 10, 2010. For more clips from the interview, go here.

Debunking 5 Lotus Notes Myths

Saturday, January 16th, 2010
early rendition of a flat earth

I have been encouraging Michael Sampson to focus his research and writing on the Lotus software portfolio for some time, and earlier this week, Michael published a new report: Lotus Roadmap: Enhancing Business Collaboration with Lotus Software. In the report, Michael highlights and debunks 5 myths about Lotus Notes in particular, and then outlines a "business" roadmap for making the most of Lotus software.

Michael writes:

Lotus Notes has been around for a long time. Since its release in 1989 it has always been viewed as a “different” piece of technology, loved by some people and reviled by others. It takes a different approach to information management and collaboration tasks, it looks different from the standard Microsoft offering which many people view as being “authoritatively correct”, and it offers capability for being used so broadly across an organization that it can be put to use on many tasks, including tasks that it is not well-suited for.

So what do we do with Lotus Notes, and by implication, the other products from Lotus Software? Is there still life left in Lotus? Is it time to move to “greener pastures”? Are the new offerings from other vendors better suited to the information management and collaboration tasks that organizations are using Lotus Notes for? These are the questions addressed in this report.

I have read the report (actually, I commented on an earlier draft last month), and I found it an outstanding contribution to the field. I'll be recommending it to anyone evaluating the strategic role of Lotus Notes and related Lotus software in their organization.

See Michael's report

In addition to my BOF session, here's where you can find me:

IBM Lotus Notes and Me: Maximizing Personal Productivity with Lotus Notes - Best Practices Session, BP302, presented by Eric Mack. It will take place at 4:15 PM on Tuesday, January 19, at the Dolphin Hotel (Southern II).

As my session description says:

Lotus Notes software is marketed as an "organizational" productivity tool, and that’s often the way organizations deploy it – from the top down – not as a tool for "personal" productivity or knowledge management. As a consequence, many users see Notes as a "company" tool and not "their" tool. When tools become "personal," productivity increases and when personal productivity increases so does the productivity of the workgroup and the organization. This session will show both expert and novice Notes users how they can use Lotus Notes coupled with proven best practices to make them immediately more productive.

If you didn't get enough in the first session, I'll also be presenting the BOF session the day after.

I haven't talked much about my upcoming Lotusphere sessions, so before it's too late, I want to give you a heads-up.

On Wednesday, I have a Birds of Feather session: Getting Things Done with IBM Lotus Notes”. The time and location is 5:45 PM on Wednesday, January 20 at the Swan Hotel (Macaw 1).

A few months ago, I engaged Darren Duke of Simplified Technology Solutions, to help me get my BES up and running and I have been hooked on my Blackberry every since. (Darren's a master at all things BES. I highly recommend him) Anyway, the ability to have everything in sync with Lotus Notes at all times is absolutely fantastic. At this year's Lotusphere, we will see RIM and IBM introduce even greater support for IBM Social apps (e.g. Connections and Quickr) on the BlackBerry. I'm told that with OS5 we will even see support for Symphony documents. Cool.

Unfortunately, as a productivity platform for messaging and task management, mobile devices leave much to be desired. As great as it is to receive email on my device, it's unproductive to process it on the device and then have to process it again when I return to my computer. David Allen has this same issue, too.

This weekend, David and I were talking about Lotus Notes and eProductivity and I gave him an overview of our roadmap for mobile and cloud computing. David shared a few thoughts about staying productive in the cloud, and he told me he wanted me to get eProductivity into the BlackBerry sooner than later.

I think David shares the sentiments of many mobile knowledge workers that want to get things done on the road. I know I look forward to the day when my productivity tools are available wherever I want to work, whether that is on my BlackBerry, at my desk, or in the cloud.

This is why I am pleased to have David collaborating with me to create such a solution. It's coming folks.

If you work with RIM and will be attending Lotusphere, I'd like to talk with you. Though much is under wraps, If you find me at Lotusphere I'll give you a quick overview.

Meanwhile, here's David's wish for a GTD Enabled Blackberry to use with IBM Lotus Notes:

David Allen: The combined power of Lotus Notes

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

In this clip from my interview with David, he relates his background as a long-time Notes user and advocate. He finds combining the power of Lotus Notes and eProductivity to be a natural fit and he's very pleased with the results.

I have a few more clips that I hope to post soon.

Video: David Allen- GTD and Cloud Computing

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

I had the opportunity to spend time with David Allen this weekend to talk about Getting Things Done, Lotus Notes, Cloud Computing, and extreme productivity. David allowed me to interview him on some questions and record it so I could share it with you.

Here's the first video. I'll try to post a few new clips each day.

A NOTEable fashion statement for LS10

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010
With the recent blog posts about making a bold yellow fashion statement at Lotusphere 2010, whether it's a group of people wearing yellow shirts on the airplane or old-timer's wearing their vintage Lotus T's, there's plenty of opportunity for the truly yellow to show off their memorabilia. (I was thinking of making a jacket of Notes 2.0 OS/2 3.5" diskettes to wear).

Anyway, I wonder how many of you still have one of these buttons to wear?

Loyal Notes user button from Lotusphere 1995. (Click for large view)

This was from Lotusphere 1995 - long before it was cool to be yellow.

If you have one of these buttons, I hope you will wear it proudly and say hello!

Read the full story: Managing the flood of e-mail

Perhaps you can help me out. I'm testing features for a mobile productivity application that (I hope) will run on a variety of SmartPhones. One of the features that I'm using is the ability to nest folders in Lotus Notes, like this.

This works fine in Notes, on the web (thanks to iNotes) and on my BlackBerry Bold, via BES.  


What I want to know is how well nested folders are supported on other SmartPhones
How you can help:

If you are synching a SmartPhone with Lotus Notes

1. Send yourself 5 sample sample emails to play with.

2. From the Notes client, take the first three of these and file them into a NEW folder using these examples:

3. Now, sync your Notes mail with your mobile device and check to see if the folders appear

4. Finally, from your SmartPhone, take the last two sample emails and try to file them into Folder1 and Folder 2 respectively.

5. Post a comment here and let me know how this worked for you. Be sure to indicate the Type of SmartPhone and synchronization tool used. (e.g. BES, Traveler, mNotes, etc.)