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Distributed management

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Distributed management is a management method for people to work together over the web to accomplish desired goals. Management activities are distributed through the people doing the work.

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Another goal of the internet was distributed management. And there are many examples where distributed management has played out. In addressing, we have routing registries. For example, in North America we have ARIN, or the American Registry for Internet Numbers. And in Europe that same organization is called RIPE. DNS allows each independent organization to manage its own names and BGP allows each independently operated network to configure its own routing policy. This means that no single entity needs to be in charge and thus allows for organic growth and stable management. On the downside, the internet has no single owner or responsible party. And as Clark said, some of the most significant problems with the internet relate to the lack of sufficient tools for distributed management, especially in the area of routing. In such a network where management is distributed it can often be very difficult to figure out who or what is causing a problem and worse, local action such as misconfiguration in a single local network can have global effects. The other three design goals that Clark discusses are cost effectiveness, ease of attachment, and accountability. It's reasonable to argue that the network design is fairly cost effective as is and current trends are aiming to exploit redundancy even more. For example, we will learn about content distributions and distributed web caches that aim to achieve better cost effectiveness for distributing content to users. Ease of attachment was arguably a huge success. IP is essentially plug and play. Anything with a working IP stack can connect to the internet. There's a really important lesson here, which is that if one lowers the barrier to innovation, people will get creative about the types of devices and applications that can run on top of the internet. Additionally, the narrow waist of IP allows the network to run on a wide variety of physical layers ranging from fiber, to cable, to wireless and so forth. Accountability, or the ability to essentially bill, was mentioned in some of the early papers on TCP/IP but it really wasn't prioritized. Datagram networks can make accounting really tricky. Phone networks had a much easier time figuring out how to bill users. Payments and billing on the internet are much less precise and we'll talk about these more in later lectures.


Changed Operating Environment

Traditionally the functions of management are centralised and performed by managers. This limits the amount of work that can be done.

The Internet has provided the opportunity for people to work together globally. However, “manager centric” approaches have been unable to provide a practical means to fully utilize the available connectivity.

Social networking has been tried, but it lacks an underlying management method and the tools to apply the method globally and consistently.


In his Doctorate on Introducing Technology into Organizations completed in 1990, Dr Neil Miller identified the need for a distributed management paradigm. In 1991, he founded TASKey Pty Ltd to develop, operationalise, and commercialize a new distributed management paradigm. Patents on the core parts of distributed management were granted in Australia (1997) and USA (2000).

In 1995, TASKey correctly estimated that the web technologies required to globally implement distributed management would not be available for about 15 years. TASKey has used this time for comprehensive experimentation and to refine TASKey methods and software tools, so they are acceptable and workable for most people with minimal training.

Key Parts

The key parts of Distributed Management are:

  • Each task has stakeholders (called a task team) with one person responsible
  • Related tasks are joined through a task tree
  • Context, task visibility, security and privacy are based on task team membership
  • Team members list the actions/ToDo’s required to do a task
  • Team members create action teams to do each action
  • Web software creates a ToDo list for each person based on action team membership
  • Task progress reporting is based on completed actions


The differentiators between distributed management and traditional management are:

  • Designed for the web (not just automating existing manual methods)
  • Anyone, anywhere, at any time, can initiate a task
  • Handles all tasks concurrently (strategies, operations, governance, projects, personal)
  • Automatically keeps tasks and people coordinated globally through teams
  • Sorts out global task information and presents it from each user’s perspective
  • Creates and synchronizes peoples’ To Do lists and Gantt charts
  • Controls access to information using patented dynamic security and privacy methods
  • Informs users on a need-to-know basis (so people are not overwhelmed)
  • Includes specialist software tools for templating, and adjusting complex task, team and ToDo relationships (to match real world situations)

Software Tools

Implementing the distributed management paradigm required new web software to manage the complex dynamic relationships that need to be managed to get work done. Over 13 years, TASKey has developed, validated and commercialized web software called TASKey TEAM for enterprise distributed management and Me2Team (a basic version of TASKey TEAM).

TASKey web software is unique in that it automatically tracks and organizes all tasks (for strategies, operations and projects), synchronizes all stakeholders’ personal To Do lists, and automatically reports progress.


TASKey software functionality has been developed and validated in a range of workplaces over 13 years. Case studies Ref demonstrate effective use by both managers and workers.

Management Insights

Management insights that have been gained during the development, validation and commercialization of Distributed Management are explored in Blog – Articles and Insights


This page was last edited on 27 January 2018, at 20:54
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