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Erica Advocacy 101 will cover things like WHAT ARE ADVOCATES? ADVOCATE PLANNING FRAMEWORK WHAT DO THEY DO? HOW DO YOU FIND THEM? WHAT MOTIVATES THEM? HOW DO YOU ENGAGE WITH THEM? HOW DO YOU REWARD THEM?
We are about 1800 + strong with offices in US, UK, Germany, China, Australia, Canada, South Africa, India, Singapore and Brazil.
The old way of working for ThoughtWorks. People were not able to find and get to know people in other regions, people were not able to find content. We had far too many destinations for knowledge and collaboration –from file servers and wikis to mailing lists and custom applications.
Authoring & Discovery: We wanted to make it dead simple to get stuff into and out of the platform. Reducing the barriers to authoring content be it discussions, documents, blog posts, bookmarks or ideas was one of our key objectives. We also wanted to make finding stuff seamless. Search, tag based navigation and “in-context” recommendations like related people and content were some of the key things we wanted on the discovery side. Enterprise search to us had to be more than 10 blue links on the results page – we needed it to be a bit more faceted – we wanted to be able to look up for something and filter down based on content types, people, groups etc. Rich People Profiles: We wanted to make sure that there was a face against every name – Rich profiles was something we wanted to get right. Profiles that would give a holistic view of a person – contact information, groups they are part of, stuff they have been creating, tags they have been using etc., Profiles we knew would be at the front and center of this enterprise community. Profiles formed the cornerstone for identity, relationships and serendipity. Single destination for content, context, conversation: Move away from the fragmented and siloed knowledge bases. Email Integration : We wanted to ease change management with tight email integration so that people can create and consume content from email and their mobile phones. This by the way, continues to be one of the areas of our focus this year. Serendipity – Given that we were extremely distributed, we wanted to make sure that people in different regions keep bouncing into other interesting people and ideas. This then sets the stage for new ties.
We invested in Jive as our collaboration platform to meet the needs. The new way of working had to: Bring Content, context and conversations together Facilitate sharing Remove silos and “death in email” syndromes Provide opportunities for serendipity (activity stream) Enable collaboration (easy group forming) Needs to be supported: By CMs By leaders By culture By advocates
All of this required a strong content planning framework. And that is the focus of this workshop. Building and sustaining an engaged community starts with providing access to relevant, meaningful and timely content and to expertise. We started by focusing on key groups, that is, those which would elicit maximum participation, where the need to collaborate is fundamental to the accomplishing business, and so on. Identifying the groups’ objectives and then seeding those with relevant content was the next big step. It is also important to remember that making content easily findable and accessible is one of the keys to successful communities. Given that a large number of our consultants are road warriors working from client sites, sitting in different offices, the platform has to be a robust collaboration and communication medium. And the content planning framework is central to this.
You can see that we have a large number of groups on the platform—but this is now. A year back, we started out with a few key ones based on the criteria mentioned earlier—business need, importance of collaboration in accomplishing their goals, geographical distribution.
Having a set of objectives for each groups you start out with will help you to: Source the right content Design an appropriate information architecture Provide relevant onboarding training Facilitate participation Measure success of the group
Find where the existing content is Move all existing content to the group Check for relevance (seek help from SMEs) Tag mercilessly Design content layout
Align layout with group’s objectives – in this example, discussions and problem solving was the key; hence, the user forum / discussion forum gets the prime place. Surface key content through widgets, by providing quick links, featuring useful content Let users know who are the key points of contact
Design the IA of the platform keeping in mind accessibility, findability, and frictionless participation. Start with the simplest possible viable structure Let the structure emerge over time and through use Keep groups Open by default Beware of the “walled garden” phenomenon Provide single-click access to frequently used groups and communities Surface important content through tags, categories, widgets
Content creation is an integral part of user participation and has to be made as frictionless and intuitive as possible. Helping users decide when to use what content type for contribution removes the barrier of self-doubt and confusion. While there are really no clear cut distinctions, it helps users to adopt the new way of working more easily. Be prepared for some resistance and slipping back into default behavior. This is where providing guidelines, contextual help, and training videos help.
Make tagging a practice; educate community users around the importance of tagging. Even though “search” will throw up all content from the platform, placing content in relevant groups encourage ownership, regular updates and relevant conversations. Socialize via newsletters, status updates, and cross-posting. Surface through widgets like Follow a tag, Featured content and Categories. Most importantly, facilitate conversations around the content.
Don’t forget to occasionally weed and do housecleaning. Some examples are: Cleaning up tags and categories—merging, adding, updating Relocating content Adding relevant widgets to a group’s home page Deleting duplicate copies Branching out discussions if too many topics are getting conflated Indicate if questions are answered