Presentation on theme: "Use & Misuse of Collaborative Technologies A Distillation of Best Practices, Good Form and Correct Behaviour for Corporate Well-Being Leading Edge Forum."— Presentation transcript:
Use & Misuse of Collaborative Technologies A Distillation of Best Practices, Good Form and Correct Behaviour for Corporate Well-Being Leading Edge Forum – Executive Programme Beta 1.4 – August 2006 Note: Click on the tabs QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions
Questions before you start Do you know what kind of collaboration you will be engaged in? Are you clear about what specific benefits you are seeking from your choice of technologies? Do you use collaborative technologies with the recipient in mind? Collaboration takes different forms and different technologies work better for some types of collaboration than others. Which types of collaboration are important to you: Co-development, Coordination, Co-decision, or Commitment? Collaborative technologies can be used to achieve a variety of different benefits. Among these are: wider participation, discipline, efficiency, information use and group dynamics. Have you made a conscious choice or are you doing it from habit? Collaboration depends on the voluntary exercise of discretionary time by participants. The attention of your fellow collaborators is not free. You have to compete for it. Have you made it easy for them to understand what you said and what you want them to do? More … QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions
Change from instinctive habit to premeditated choice Co-developmentCoordinationCo-decisionCommitment Working jointly to achieve results Playing in concert, but each performing separately Coming to a decision, as a group Building an emotional connection Wider participation Getting more and different people involved Improved discipline Ensuring that everyone is on the same page and operating the same way Increased efficiency Reducing the time spent organizing and conducting both meetings and follow-ups Better use of information Ensuring that the right information is made available to the right people at the right time Enhanced social dynamics Recognizing that people are not solely motivated by rational calculation ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Click here for an example of how you might customize the advice to your site QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions More … Click on ? for suggestions in each box
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Is your team ready to collaborate? Can you state the goal? Can everyone else state the goal? Does your team have the right network of contacts to achieve the goal? Do team members feel energized by working together? Do you and they know what happens if the team achieve the goal? Clarity of purpose is not just a nice idea, it is vital to effective collaboration. The best technology in the world will not compensate for the lack of a clear goal. If the team members do not know what they are trying to achieve, you cannot expect to get full value from their contributions. Teams will need to reach out beyond the team for ideas and assistance. Often, that means reaching beyond the boundaries of the firm to create what Hagel and Brown call “productive friction”. Research by Rob Cross on social networks shows that if you fail to be energized by your interaction, you will try to avoid it, dislike it when it happens, and feel the need to complain about it to others afterwards. Collaboration works best when you have “all eyes on the prize”.
Calendaring Don’t assume that if the calendar program says someone is ‘free’, they have nothing better to do. When updating your calendar, remember that other people will read it. When forming a new team, agree how the calendar may be used. Calendar programs mislead us by labelling uncommitted time as ‘free’. Don’t compound the problem by sending emails that say “I notice you are free next Wednesday...”. A blank in the calendar does not mean a person has nothing important to do. Include helpful information, not just bare facts. For example, the calendar entry for an all-day sales meeting might include a note saying that you may be available at lunchtime or late afternoon. Include not only ‘hard’ rules, like who can read and write to your calendar, but also ‘softer’ principles describing your availability to be interrupted for specific kinds of meetings when you have marked the time as unavailable. More … QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Calendaring – continued Use the calendar to negotiate when a meeting should take place, but first make sure you need a meeting. Don’t use a broadcast meeting invitation to gauge interest in a topic. Enrich calendar entries by linking to other information. Unless the need for a meeting has already been agreed by the participants, give them opportunity – for example, in a discussion space – to comment on its purpose, and value, before sending out an invitation. Start the discussion in a shared space and send out a hotlinked email. This way you can discuss the intent and the preparation needed for the meeting, and also target the most useful participants. Hotlinks to meeting summaries, telephone numbers or active discussions don’t just save time, they demonstrably increase involvement.
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Email If you want action from several people, send each one an individual message. If you expect discussion on an issue, don’t send it by email. Don’t say anything in an email that you wouldn’t want to commit permanently to writing. Don’t flame, and don’t retaliate if others flame you. Most people unconsciously give lower priority to messages addressed to lots of people. And if there is any ambiguity about who should respond, you’ll get no replies. If you email the same thing to more than one person for comment, you’ll have version-management problems. Use a discussion space or shared filing space instead. Email technology may be more secure than most media, but email culture is less so because forwarding and copying are so easy. Email lacks the instant feedback of a live meeting, and the deliberation of formal letter-writing, so strong language is dangerous. If you receive a flame mail, don’t respond, except by telling the sender that you found their communication upsetting. More …
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Email – continued Mark your message ‘Urgent’ only if you believe that the recipient would thank you for doing so. Use the subject field to add value to the email, not just as a label. Think more about saving the reader’s time than saving your own. Over-using ‘Urgent’ not only dilutes its impact, but may be read by others to mean ‘self-important’. Think carefully about what to put in the subject field. It can help the recipient to prioritize the response, track a conversation of multiple emails (including the progress made), or retrieve it at a future date. You may save a second or two by writing your emails in all lowercase letters or cutting words short, but it dramatically increases the time your readers take to understand them.
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Messaging Start an instant messaging or VOIP session by saying ‘Hi’ and why you are calling – don’t just launch. Always assume that whatever you say by IM will be seen by others. Do make use of the presence indicator to let others know your availability. Look for software to become more intelligent at inferring your availability. Don’t assume that the other person is ready to engage. Establish contact, verify that it is a good time for them, then proceed. VOIP tools like Skype and Gizmo have text chat as well as voice. Use chat first. To meet regulatory requirements, many systems keep logs of all IM traffic. You don’t know who else might read the receiver’s screen. And remember that what you send may be copied and pasted into another IM, document or email. Your phone may work worldwide, but it does not say if now is a good time to call or not. A major strength of IM is that it can signal your availability for different kinds of interaction. Most IM implementations are still primitive in the extent to which they are aware of your availability. Most do not let you distinguish who is asking. Watch for this to change as IM becomes more important and integrated in the enterprise. More …
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Messaging – continued Do use IM for negotiating things like the time and date of meetings. Make use of the ‘away’ message to let others know how and when you will become available. Do be sensitive to the time zone of the recipient when sending an SMS. Use IM to share links to documents, sites and services important to a conversation. While you can do it in email or voicemail, the semi-synchronous nature of IM makes it possible to exchange a number of quick back-and-forth suggestions and counter suggestions, shortening the elapsed time needed to set up a meeting. The unobtrusive nature of IM lets you do this when a telephone call would be disruptive. Let others know when is a good time and a good method to contact you. For example, you may be in a meeting all afternoon, but can be reached on your phone via a text message. As appropriate, you may want to include a link to your calendar. Although an SMS is less obtrusive than a phone call, it still may wake someone out of an otherwise sound sleep. If you are unsure what time zone they are in, see if they indicated their presence on IM. Often you may need to refer to other materials during a conversation. Pasting the link into IM for others to use moves the discussion along.
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Shared filing space A shared filing space can perform multiple roles – don’t get them mixed up. Archives don’t have to be easy to use, but they must be complete. Establish the owner of any reference document and the process for keeping it up to date. We look at three generic roles below: archive, reference and knowledge-sharing. As they use the same technology (though there are also specialized products), the roles are often mixed up in a single system. This is dangerous because they have very different management needs. Users expect an archive to contain everything they might reasonably want to retrieve. One missing document is enough to damage credibility. Wherever you use a shared filing space for reference information (such as pricing, products or a directory), make sure that each document has a nominated owner, and devise an explicit process for ensuring that it is regularly reviewed and updated. More …
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Shared filing space – continued Extract the re-usable knowledge from a document when you file it. Don’t expect the retriever to do it. A good structure guides the creation of content – not just its retrieval. Prune the dead wood in order to promote new growth. Restructuring is a management task, not a clerical task. Most ‘knowledge repositories’ fail because the knowledge is deeply embedded in highly contextual information. If you believe that a document contains ideas or experiences that may be useful to others, take the time to extract that knowledge and turn it into more generic form before you publish it. A structure for a shared filing space defines not just what we have and how it fits together, but what we don’t yet have and need to create. The value of a shared knowledge space is enhanced as much by what you take out as what you put in (another reason why it must not be confused with an archive). Prune all material that is out of date, never used, or where the knowledge is not explicit. More radical than pruning is periodic restructuring as the business environment and priorities change. This is often seen as a massive chore, but if the knowledge base isn’t worth a regular review by a manager, it probably isn’t worth keeping.
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Don’t discourage trivia – displace it. Use the power of anonymity by design not by default. Aim to close as many discussions as you open. Discussions frequently go off at tangents or into trivialities. These play an important role in both teambuilding and creative thinking. If the original discussion thread is in danger of being lost, simply cut the digression and paste it into a new discussion where it may lead to serendipity. There are situations where anonymity can be valuable (such as getting employee feedback on a major business change). But anonymity can encourage flippancy. It is best to require all entries to be signed, and reserve anonymity for special situations in which it is valuable (such as brainstorming and uninhibited feedback) where all entries should be anonymous. When an issue has reached the point where it can be resolved, announce its resolution first through the discussion database, not via another medium. This rewards those who participated in the discussion, and sends an important signal about the purpose and value of the discussion. More …
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Discussions – continued The moderator’s role is to ensure that the discussion achieves its intended outcome. You need to know whether or not you are progressing towards the outcome. Take the time to learn common conventions, or invent your own. Every discussion space needs a moderator, not just to enforce standards, structure and etiquette, but to ensure that the purpose is understood, and that the outcome is ultimately achieved. If the participants are not able to achieve the outcome by themselves (for example, they need budget approval), the moderator must get the help they need. Whether the desired outcome is a decision, an action, a development or buy-in to an idea, you need to be able to monitor progress, and alert participants to that progress, or lack of it. Newcomers to online discussions (‘newbies’) may make the mistake of typing in capitals, which by convention is equivalent to shouting (as is emboldened text in discussions that support font attributes). Using emoticons (such as :-) for happy), or different-coloured text for different participants or points, may seem quirky, but adds to the richness of the communication, as well as building a feeling of community amongst the participants. More …
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Discussions – continued If you want to be able to find key internal information, let your people blog. Be deliberate about what you blog – it may last beyond your lifetime. When you blog, be clear for whom you are speaking. If your entry on a corporate blog provokes discussion, consider a wiki to resolve it. In the course of blogging, people will reference many files and ideas that others would probably not find without the blog links. Search engines work well at scanning blogs. In effect, blogging creates meaningful meta-data and helps people find important internal information. It has always been good practice to be careful about what you say in emails or instant messages. The combination of the public visibility of blogs and search engines which cache material for long periods means that what you put in a blog may last a very long time. If you are in doubt, ask yourself: what will your grandchildren say if they read this? A company’s brands are among its most valuable assets. When you blog, be clear whether you are speaking as an individual or as a representative of the company. Blogs are great for stating points of view, but they typically do not facilitate the resolution of a debate. When resolution is needed, wikis provide a way for everyone to contribute to the creation of a shared point of view.
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Audio/Web conferencing Be an active moderator. Ensure that the audio conference is audible. Make sure the conference has a clear beginning. Direct questions to nominated participants. Use reflexive listening. Because the medium is ‘blind’, manage the conference from beginning to end with more formality than a face-to-face meeting. Before you start, check that all the participants can hear and be heard clearly, and that they know how and when to use the mute button to cut down on background noise. Before launching into the main discussion, spend a few minutes explaining the purpose, expectations and length of the conference and tell the participants who is online. Open questions (such as “Does anyone have a view on this?”) seldom work except in small conferences. Rephrase what the participants say in simpler terms (“So what you are saying is …”) as reinforcement and acknowledgement. More …
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Audio/Web conferencing – continued Summarize from time to time. Give occasional quick status reports. Wind up the conference formally. (“I hear a number of you saying X. Perhaps we could address Y as we go forward …”) This is both to ensure that you are making progress and to maintain interest. (“We’ve been talking for the last 30 minutes about X, and I’d like to pause here and ask if there are any questions. Then, in the 60 minutes remaining, we’ll move to Y and Z …”) This, too, maintains momentum and interest. Thank people for their participation. Give them a chance to express any final comments. Experience shows that a good close to a conference creates a good start to the next one.
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Video conferencing Get training in video conferencing techniques. Zoom in as close as you dare. Then zoom in closer. Look into the camera, not the screen, when you are speaking. For all the use that most people make of the video in a video conference, they might as well be in an audio conference. To make full use of the relatively costly medium, you need training and conscious practice. People are naturally reluctant to zoom in, but it is demonstrably more effective. The face on the screen should be at least as large as a face in the room. If you have multiple participants at one site, appoint a dedicated camera operator to switch between them. It is unnatural to look into the camera rather than the screen, but until the equipment manufacturers address the ‘eyeline’ problem, you must learn to do it. If not, you will dilute the effect of your communication and encourage inattentiveness. At worst, people unconsciously interpret the lack of eye contact as insincerity. More …
QuestionsCalendaringEmailMessagingShared filing space Audio/Web conferencing Video conferencing Discussions Video conferencing – continued To appear natural, you must practise unnatural acts. Starting a video conference promptly is harder than with a face-to-face meeting – and more important. Use a moderator, and have pre-agreed signals that will ensure the conversation flows well. Don’t use the video channel to screen documents. Watch how newsreaders move their heads to provide emphasis and variety. In a video conference, both talkers and listeners should exaggerate expressions to enrich the communication and provide feedback. Small-talk can be used to mask a staggered start to a physical meeting, but feels awkward by video conference. Test the link and familiarize everyone with the controls well in advance so that the video conference can start cleanly. Video conferences have an unavoidable lag that prevents the normal overlapping of conversations, and hinders interruptions. A good moderator turns this from a disadvantage into the advantage of reasoned, sequential debate. The video channel provides poor resolution for documents as well as displacing the important visual image of people’s faces. Pre-circulate documents electronically, or use a parallel web conference. If a document is critical to the meeting, think carefully about whether audio conferencing plus web conferencing might be more effective.
Suggestions The following pages list suggestions of the type that you might provide for your users in each of the 20 combinations of collaboration type and benefit sought listed earlier (page 3). In each case, provide the information relevant to your organization – your requirement, your suggestions for meeting this requirement, notes, technologies and contact names that are specific to your installation. We provide examples to help you start. The following page has a template you may wish to use.
and Suggestions: Notes: Technologies available at your site: Contacts for assistance:
Co-development and improved discipline Suggestions: Use well-structured shared filing spaces and ensure that all members are using them correctly. Each new version should have a new sequence number. Take advantage of check-in and check-out facilities. Notes: Increased discipline is a function of adherence to a clearly defined process. This can range from workflow to a carefully defined and monitored agenda, circulated in advance. Technologies available at your site: Windows SharePoint Services V2.0 is available today. However, it only allows check-in/out on the server. V3.0, scheduled for the end of CY 2007, will allow you to check it out to your personal machine, enabling you to work on documents while you are traveling. SharePoint 2007 will also allow you to use major and minor version numbers for documents you check-in, use minor versions for documents you want visible to your team and major versions for documents versions you want to share beyond your team. SharePoint subscriptions also allow you to keep people informed of changes, and in SharePoint 2007 an administrator can create subscriptions on behalf of others. Contacts for assistance: Steve Harrington (GMT+1) at +44 (0)1438 264171, email@example.com, Steve.Harrington on AOL IM. firstname.lastname@example.org Needed to ensure that members are working on current versions.
Co-development and wider participation Suggestions: Use audio conferencing plus web conferencing to reach out to others and to focus attention on the deliverable being created. Ensure that all team members can actively participate by giving them cursor control. Notes: When working together at the same time, audio/web conferencing works well, especially when multiple participants can make changes. When working at different times, use wikis, discussion forums or shared documents with change control turned on. RSS and email subscriptions can be used to alert participants to new posts as well as changes. Event recording can be used for both reference and to provide information to those could not attend. Near term technologies: MS Live Meeting for web conferencing and event recording. Office SharePoint 2007 provides for work spaces including team work spaces with document libraries, wikis, blogs, discussions, actions, tasks, risks, and event lists. With Office 2007 System ( Office and SharePoint ) the check-in and check-out facility lets you work off line. Using Outlook 2007 you can also work off-line with task lists, calendars, contacts, discussions and document libraries. In SharePoint everything is a list and using RSS (available in Outlook 2007 and IE7) or email you can subscribe to see both new and changed items. Administrators can create email subscriptions on behalf of people who might otherwise be too busy, or might not know they need to know. Contacts for assistance: Needed to get input from the best people, wherever they are.
Co-development and improved discipline Suggestions: Use well-structured shared filing spaces and ensure that all members are using them correctly. Each new version should have a new sequence number. Take advantage of check-in and check-out facilities. Notes: Increased discipline is a function of adherence to a clearly defined process. This can range from workflow to a carefully defined and monitored agenda, circulated in advance. Use RSS to make the work of team members and leaders visible so that time, task, risk, issues and change can be managed. Near term technologies: Office System 2007 ( Office and SharePoint ) provides work spaces including team work spaces with document libraries, wikis, blogs, discussions, actions, tasks, risks, and event lists. RSS (available in IE7 and Outlook 2007) and email can be used to subscribe to these lists. In SharePoint version control can be applied to any list, supporting the designation of both major and minor versions. For example, minor versions could be viewed by only those inside the team, whereas major versions could be viewed by the rest of the organization. SharePoint highlights the changes between versions, not just the fact of the change. In addition SharePoint provides standard workflows, for example, serial or parallel approval processes. Potential technologies and uses: By using Office SharePoint Designer, custom workflows can be created. Information Rights Management (IRM) is an integrated part of SharePoint. This makes it possible to write rules that could, for example, stipulate that a document could only be read by the person who downloaded it, with no ability to copy it and that it expires in 60 days. Contacts for assistance: Needed to ensure that members are working on current versions, as well as time, task, risk, issue and change management.
Co-development and increased efficiency Suggestions: Efficiency can be increased by deliberately matching the technology to the situation and the goals. You need to assess the relative importance of innovation and delivery to schedule in your situation. First improve the capability of individuals and then focus on improving the efficiency of the team. It starts with reliable tools and access to information. Notes: Sometimes the disadvantage of being scattered across the globe can be an advantage. For example, one group can hand off the day’s work to the next group in another time zone and increased diversity in the team can promote innovation. Near term technologies: SharePoint provides for the delegation of authority to set up workspaces as needed for meetings, documents, or projects. These workspaces support blogs and wikis and lists, a person who participates in many SharePoint workspaces can keep track of them all by subscribing to new or changed items via email or even better by aggregating them all to folders in their RSS reader (Outlook 2007 and IE 7 provide RSS readers). Live Meeting provides for synchronous collaborative authoring. SharePoint 2007 discussion databases and wikis provide asynchronous collaborative authoring. SharePoint 2007 improves the mySite feature that provides individuals with a consolidated view of their tasks from across multiple SharePoint workspaces and provides a place to host their blog, share work in progress documents, major events, skills, competencies, contacts and experience. Live Meeting provides for event recording and later review. Potential technologies and uses: Outlook 2007 and Groove 2007 provide offline working for SharePoint 2007 (with some limitations). OneNote provides for event recording and later review. This may be less important than encouraging a free flow of ideas to develop the best solution.
Co-development and better use of information Suggestions: Use an intranet, portal or team rooms to deliver information from internal and external sources to team members; provide discussion spaces or wikis for developing ideas; and deploy internal search engines to find additional information. Notes: Blogging inside the enterprise creates meta-data that make it easier for search engines to find internal information and promotes the ad-hoc formation of communities of interest. Near term technologies: SharePoint 2007 provides an ability to create shared workspaces on demand that provide document libraries, discussion spaces, wikis, and blogs. SharePoint 2007 includes an enterprise search capability. Potential technologies and uses: The Microsoft Knowledge Network, an extension of the people search capability in SharePoint, provides information on who knows what and who knows whom in your organization. Contacts for assistance: Essential for developing the right solutions.
Co-development and enhanced social dynamics Suggestions: Use face to face meetings to initiate a project, then video conferencing, then audio/web conferencing as the team get to know each other better. Refresh team spirit with occasional face to face meetings. Notes: Consider using a blog to share the team’s progress and to highlight individual contributions. The team leader could populate this blog with items from the blogs of individual members. Making the blogs widely available mitigates a typical project management problem which is that others in the organization don’t know what is going on. It also creates a platform for letting team members show case their accomplishments. In the case of multiple teams this approach aids lateral communication. Near term technologies: SharePoint 2007 provides blogs. Live Meeting and Office Communicator can be used for web conferencing and shared document creation. Use Live Meeting when participants are behind different firewalls. Potential technologies and uses: Live Communications Server provides both voice over IP and video over IP, however, their use may be restricted do to corporate network bandwidth considerations. Live Meeting can be used for web conferencing. SharePoint 2007 mySpaces and the Microsoft Knowledge Network tool for SharePoint provide individual web sites that are a great place to host individual blogs and also provide social networking tools and enhanced people search especially in the area of skill search. The Knowledge Network tool also takes account of degrees of separation, i.e. “people you know who know people who know what you need to know”. Contacts for assistance: Needed to create and sustain ‘ego-less’ team spirit.
Coordination and wider participation Suggestions: Use audio conferencing plus web conferencing, as not all team members may have access to video conferencing facilities and because in this case reaching everyone is more important than emotional bandwidth. Personal/team blogs for both team members and team leaders help keep everyone up to date. Support for off-line and mobile use will increase participation. Notes: Make sure that all team members and team leaders have RSS readers installed and auto-subscribe them to the blogs of other members. Where there are multiple teams, auto-subscribe members of all teams to the blogs of all the team leaders. Near term technologies: Live Meeting and Office Communicator provide web conferencing. Use Live Meeting when participants are behind different firewalls. SharePoint 2007 provides blogs. RSS reader capability can come from MS Outlook 2007 and IE 7 as well as a variety of other sources depending on requirements. Email subscriptions can be done by an admin for users who might otherwise be too busy or not know that they need to know. However, RSS subscriptions typically need to be done by the individual or their PA Potential technologies and uses:. Automated tools for RSS subscription management are available from companies like NewsGator and Attensa. Windows Mobile 5 devices can receive push email from Exchange 2003 Service Pack 2. If the admin defines SharePoint 2007 views, lists, and document libraries as mobile enabled then they may be viewed on a handheld web browser by attaching /M to the end of the URL Contacts for assistance: Needed to avoid having several coordination meetings at the same point in a project.
Coordination and improved discipline Suggestions: Use shared filing spaces for the project planning and control documentation. Make project plans and status visible to others in the organization so that they can contribute. Notes: Project management software can help, but be careful it does not become so burdensome that it is ignored. Near term technologies: SharePoint 2007 provides a variety of workflow tools to ensure that a stipulated process is followed. Issue, Risk, Change, Deliverable and Milestone registers frequently become moribund and unexamined except at review time. By creating them in SharePoint 2007 and letting team members subscribe to new and changed items participation and coordination can be improved increasing the likelihood that people will, for example, spot consequences of changes that may not be visible to project managers. As management of these key lists becomes dynamic the need for/size of meetings may also reduce. Potential technologies and uses: SharePoint standard workflow templates may be customized by using Office SharePoint Designer. Using Project Server 2007 you can publish a project portal via the web. Project team members can update progress rather than the project manager assembling it. Users need only a browser to access it. Contacts for assistance: Needed to ensure the team covers every aspect of the project.
Coordination and increased efficiency Suggestions: Use audio plus web conferencing – the ‘richness’ of video conferencing is not needed. Use shared calendars to keep track of meetings and deliverables. Notes: Consider discussion spaces, wikis or blogs to surface issues before the next meeting or when too many time zones are involved for live meetings. Record the meeting and create podcasts so that those unable to attend can hear what was said. Near term technologies: Live Meeting provides web conferencing and meeting recording. BT provides audio conferencing. SharePoint 2007 provides calendars for your team that can be subscribed to in Outlook that provide alerts. You can drag and drop from the shared calendar into your personal calendar. Meetings and other events or broadcast communications can be recorded as Mp3 files and stored as files in a document library in SharePoint 2007 which has had enclosures enabled, you can then use RSS to subscribe to this library as a podcast that can be listened to while driving, exercising etc. Documentum provides corporate archives and check-in and out capabilities. RSS (and to a lesser extent email) subscriptions allow a person to keep up to date with changes in dozens of SharePoint workspaces quickly and easily via Outlook 2007 or IE7 without having to go on-line and visit the actual web sites. Potential technologies and uses: Frequently project management includes a burdensome amount of project administration. Using Project Server 2007, managers can both delegate and automate. Team members can update progress on their own tasks using only a web browser. Integration with Outlook means that tasks completed in Outlook are reflected in Project Server. Contacts for assistance: Needed to avoid travel and accommodation costs and loss of production by taking people away from their workplace.
Coordination and better use of information Suggestions: Monitor the documentation in the shared filing spaces for completeness before the meetings. Surface issues before the meeting, not by reading during the meeting. Make use of alerts about risks, issues or milestones to make this process easier and less time consuming. Notes: Consider sharing your calendar with team members and rolling up key individual dates into a team calendar. Near term technologies: SharePoint 2007 can be used for team rooms and document libraries. SharePoint 2007 provides calendars for your team that can be subscribed to in Outlook 2007. You can drag and drop events from the shared calendar into your personal calendar. Emails with read receipts can verify awareness, but not guarantee that they have been understood. RSS subscriptions can provide a way to monitor without having to remember to do so. The system is filtering on your behalf. Contacts for assistance: Needed to ensure that there is no time wasted arguing about facts.
Coordination and enhanced social dynamics Suggestions: (Although this need is less important, coordination sessions often involve some commitment building.) You may need to make and track commitments or promises during coordination discussions. Notes: If ‘all eyes are on the prize’, coordination is easier to achieve since each group will be actively looking for ways to coordinate. There may be individual goals, but if there is a shared, over-arching goal then that will help coordinate. Blogs are a great tool for loosely linked people to coordinate their activities, especially when one person links to the blog of another. When you spot an issue in someone else’s blog you may comment on their blog. If it is really important you can add it to the team blog. Near term technologies: SharePoint 2007 provides for blogs. Subscriptions can be done either through RSS (Outlook 2007 or IE7), as email, or using the “Connect to Outlook” option in SharePoint which creates an offline bi-directional replica (with some limitations) in Outlook 2007. Live Meeting or Office Communicator can be used to create a near-real time summary of meeting issues and commitments that can be routed to everyone immediately after the meeting. Doing it in real time makes it possible for meeting participants to correct any misunderstanding or misstatement immediately. When participants are behind different firewalls, Live Meeting is usually preferred. Surveys (SharePoint 2007) and Voting (Live Meeting and Outlook) improve participation and commitment. Contacts for assistance: Less important because coordination is an objective rather than a subjective activity.
Co-decision and wider participation Suggestions: Post the subject in a shared discussion space and use email to invite comments. Post not just the background data, but also details or links on the nature of the decision that must be reached. Make sure that the technology can be used offline when participants are traveling. Notes: Real participation means more than just being present at the meeting. All too often, organizational hierarchies prevent participants from saying what needs to be said. Consider tools that let participants surface issues and even vote anonymously so that you get the full benefit of their perspective. Near term technologies: SharePoint 2007 provides space for shared discussions. It also provides support for surveys in which the user names can be hidden, providing a means for anonymous voting. Surveys (SharePoint 2007) and Voting (Live Meeting and Outlook) improve participation and commitment. Potential technologies and uses: With the push email capability of Windows Mobile 5 and Exchange 2003 Server with Service Pack 2 coupled with the read return receipt makes it possible to reach traveling participants. If all the participants have access to a Windows client with InfoPath 2007 then Infopath forms can be mailed out, collected, and then aggregated in Outlook. Contacts for assistance: Needed to get the participation of as many of the key people as possible, often at short notice.
Co-decision and improved discipline Suggestions: Use web conferencing for voting (with anonymity if this will give a truer response) and record results at the time and online so that everyone can see them (rather than in minutes prepared offline). Notes: Some systems permit anonymous comments to be shared. This has been found useful by financial institutions trying to get a better handle on risk in advance of a major decision. While anonymity may give a truer response, formal voting and recording of votes can promote accountability for decisions. Asynchronous discussion databases allow people who like to craft considered comments in their own time rather than under pressure in meetings, sending IM questions/comments to a meeting facilitator is an option if participation is required during the meeting. Near term technologies: SharePoint 2007 provides support for surveys in which the user names can optionally be hidden, providing a means for anonymous voting. Passing around control in Live Meeting or Office Communicator makes it possible for proponents of different positions to present their case. Use Live Meeting when participants are not behind the same firewall. Surveys (SharePoint 2007) and Voting (Live Meeting and Outlook) improve participation and commitment. Contacts for assistance: Needed to ensure that a meeting is not dominated by one or a few members.
Co-decision and increased efficiency Suggestions: A rapid exchange of emails, IMs or SMSs is more efficient than trying to contact people by telephone. Encourage use of the ‘away’ message in IM and the ‘out of office’ reply in email to provide information on presence and availability. Notes: More considered use of presence information is developing. Some organizations use their directory systems to provide different levels of presence information depending on who is asking. This makes it easier to use IM to reach out to sources of expertise during a meeting, thus avoiding the “I will have to get back to you” problem. Near term technologies: Office Communicator provides the ability to do Instant Messaging between groups. Office Communicator will provide information about presence and availability that can be used to contact people. Office Communicator can pull information from Active Directory and “free/busy” information from Exchange Calendars and shows changes status to Inactive if the keyboard is not used for a user-configureable period of time, by default, 15 minutes. Collecting votes using Outlook email is much more efficient when participants are often traveling or offline. Contacts for assistance: Needed if the decision is urgent.
Co-decision and better use of information Suggestions: Use hotlinks from the ‘decision’ item in the discussion space to the data in shared filing spaces. Anticipate questions and provide links to backup detail. Notes: Increasingly, decisions are based not just on an interpretation of data, but the interpretation of models. As this starts to happen in your business, be prepared to run and re-run models online during the meeting with varying input assumptions. Use web conferencing so that all participants can see you running the models. Near term technologies: Use Live Meeting or Office Communicator to interactively run models, not just show PowerPoint presentations. Live Meeting typically works better when the participants are behind different firewalls. Sharepoint 2007 can contain lists that have URL’s pointing to other, backup material either in Sharepoint or elsewhere. This connection works well when online, but does not work when offline where the URL’s would need to be redirected. Potential technologies and uses: You can gather data online by creating custom SharePoint lists and SharePoint Surveys. Offline you can use Infopath Forms and Outlook Voting, InfoPath 2007 forms can also be emailed from Outlook 2007 and the responses emailed back and aggregated in Outlook. Data that’s collected in Surveys and Forms can be visualized in SharePoint lists which can be further analyzed in Excel or Access 2007. For improved offline SharePoint consider products from iOra or Collegio Contacts for assistance: Needed to raise the quality of the decision by making all the relevant information readily available.
Co-decision and enhanced social dynamics Suggestions: Use discussion spaces and emails, because they allow people time to reflect before they decide, but also use live, video or audio conferences to deal with the subjective element. Notes: Successful follow through of decisions requires active support, not just grudging acceptance. Recognizing the social dynamics and providing an appropriate space for alternatives to be presented and evaluated increases the legitimacy of the final decision and reduces resistance. One-on-one follow up discussions may be needed to overcome opposition to group decisions. Asynchronous discussion databases allow people who like to craft considered comments in their own time rather than under pressure in meetings, sending IM questions/comments to a meeting facilitator is an option if participation is required during the meeting. Near term technologies: Room video conferencing is available over ISDN lines. These rooms also have network connections for the simultaneous use of video and application sharing using Live Meeting. Surveys, both explicit and anonymous, are supported by Sharepoint 2007. Discussions in Sharepoint 2007 can be acessed via a browser, email, or Outlook, giving people more opportunities for participation. SharePoint 2007 provides support for surveys in which the user names can optionally be hidden, providing a means for anonymous voting. Passing around control in Live Meeting or Office Communicator makes it possible for proponents of different positions to present their case. Potential technologies and uses: Desktop video conferencing will be available through Office Communicator when network bandwidth becomes available. Contacts for assistance: Needed because although decisions should be made objectively, subjectivity usually comes into play, especially in implementation.
Commitment and wider participation Suggestions: Use a live meeting or video conferencing, but organize an audio conferencing channel for those who cannot access video facilities. Pause frequently and explicitly ask audio participants if they have a comment. Use active camera control to zoom in on the current speaker. Record the session for those who cannot attend. Post it on an internal blog for comments and follow up questions. Notes: They key is to use technologies that have a high emotional content. Sending out an email to build commitment will reach many people, but it is the wrong thing to do because it has low emotional content. Consider attaching an audio so that the receiver can hear your emotion. Near term technologies: Room video conferencing over ISDN is available. Make use of your bridge provider so that audio only participants can hear. Windows Sound Recorder can create.wav files that can be attached to email. If it is a long audio file, consider using an.mp3 recorder product. Many mobile phones have recording and playback capabilities. Contacts for assistance: Important because commitment is built from a sense of togetherness.
Commitment and improved discipline Suggestions: Reiterate points and divert from the planned agenda if it is important to get the message understood and accepted. Periodically test to see if you have gained sufficient commitment for your purpose. Notes: Difficulty in achieving ‘buy-in’ may be a consequence of lack of information. If that is a problem consider making it easier to get the information by creating blogs and auto- subscribing the participants. You might have separate blogs for objectives, milestones, responsibilities and dependencies. Key stakeholders should be automatically subscribed to these blogs. Near term technologies: Consider using Office Communicator or Live Meeting as a way for participants can submit questions or discussion points during an audio conference. This lets them craft a statement that expresses their view without having to speak in front of the group. It is important to designate one person who will be the recipient and collator of these points. SharePoint 2007 provides surveys and Outlook supports voting. Both approaches can be used to make participation explicit. Contacts for assistance: Of little relevance. To achieve ‘buy in’, it is better to take as long as it needs.
Commitment and increased efficiency Suggestions: Building commitment is hard. If it is important to gain commitment, then people will make it a priority and spend money on what is needed, such as, video equipment, an off-site gathering or a series of live meetings. Notes: Emails are often misinterpreted since they don’t express tone very well. Your voice is much better at conveying tone. A misunderstood email can create great inefficiencies by failing to adequately convey your tone. Consider using a voice mail attachment to your email instead of just text. Technologies available at your site: Windows Sound Recorder or.mp3 recorder software can create sound files for you to attach to your email. Mobile devices typically have an audio recording facility as well, which is easier to use than your thumbs. Contacts for assistance: Of little relevance. Process needs to give way to individual needs.
Commitment and better use of information Suggestions: Use discussion spaces or blogs to set out the subject matter and invite comments, then use multimedia to present facts and findings at live meetings. Surface facts before the meeting and have them at hand during it. Keep a record of prior meetings so that participants can be reminded of not only what they previously committed to, but why. Notes: Instant messaging can be an effective way to reach out to experts as needed. They can even take over the screen and present additional material as needed. Near term technologies: SharePoint 2007 provides discussion spaces which can hold and share multimedia in addition to text. Office Communicator and Live Meeting provide a way to reach out to others and involve them interactively in a presentation or the exercise of a model. Live Meeting works better than Office Communicator when the connection is across firewalls to other sites. Contacts for assistance: Needed to prevent people avoiding commitment by arguing the premises.
Commitment and enhanced social dynamics Suggestions: Use video clips, preferably with music, to add impact to live meetings. Use video conferencing (plus audio conferencing for those unable to use video) where live meetings are not possible. If the group is small and the commitment or proposed change is large, then dinner with a table layout that lets everyone see and hear everyone else may be best. Notes: Web conferencing and screen sharing can be used briefly to highlight some facts or draft a consensus statement, but take care to make sure it does not distract from the personal impact of the meeting. DVDs, with theme music, are now easy to produce in-house. Technologies available at your site: Peroni Nastro Azzurro is recommended as it is crisp and lightly sparkling, not heavy, bitter or bloating Near term technologies: High Definition video with striking detail can now be captured with lower-cost cameras and replayed on PC or projection screens. High Definition DVRs are starting to arrive on the market. HD video conferencing is becoming available Contacts for assistance: Needed to engender the emotional connection that leads people to commit themselves to a policy or a project.