Posts Tagged Communities of Practice

Creating a SharePoint infrastructure for knowledge sharing

This post reviews progress against my 70:20:10 Certification pathway. It focuses on improvement of SharePoint infrastructure to better enable knowledge sharing in my business unit, Supply Chain.

Background

SharePoint is the platform that Coca-Cola Amatil (CCA) uses for intranet, shared file storage, and Enterprise Social Network (ESN). CCA does not use Yammer. In early 2014 CCA decided to upgrade from SharePoint 2010 to SharePoint 2013. In the same period we also updated the Supply Chain Capability strategy to include ‘continuous workplace learning,’ and decided to introduce Communities of Practice. At this time use of the SharePoint newsfeed was negligible, and discussion forums were not used. I had been actively using Twitter as a professional development tool for several months and could see the potential of online social to enable knowledge sharing.

The upgrade scope included migration of all shared files from servers to SharePoint document libraries. If most people started using SharePoint on a daily basis for file management there was a leverage opportunity to encourage the use of other platform features, including online social. I volunteered to assist with the SharePoint upgrade to position myself to take advantage of this opportunity.

What I Set Out to Achieve

My goal was to create an infrastructure that promoted online social interaction and supported Communities of Practice. Of course, simply ‘building it’ would not guarantee that ‘they would come.’ However, improving the infrastructure was a pre-requisite to creating vibrant communities.

Prior to the SharePoint upgrade there were almost 150 Australian Supply Chain SharePoint sites – around 1 for every ten permanent employees. The range of sites largely reflected the geographic organisation structure. Most teams had a dedicated SharePoint site, each of which had it’s own newsfeed.   This impeded online social. It was a lot of effort to find and follow either individual people or the sites of teams with similar work roles and challenges across the organisation. People could see little point in engaging in discussion on a site newsfeed if the only people they could interact with were those they saw face-to-face every day.

I took a two-step approach:

1) Rationalise the range of SharePoint sites to make it easier for people to find other people and resources relevant to their work, while retaining the ability to use SharePoint as part of local team workflows.

2) Build hubs to provide spaces for Communities of Practice to interact.

SharePoint Site Rationalisation 

What happened?

In conjunction with IT, we redesigned the high-level site infrastructure, setting up one site for each Supply Chain function e.g. Planning, Manufacturing, Logistics. These are accessible via a dashboard. A small number of existing project sites were also retained.

SharePiont SC Dashboard

Each site has a single newsfeed on the home page. This makes it easier to interact with others who work in the same function, regardless of where they work. Every geographic area (State) has a landing page on each functional site, with a dashboard containing links to document libraries or other pages required for local team use.

Sharepoint Planning Dashboard

We formed a Supply Chain SharePoint migration project team with one to two representatives from each State. These people were local change agents and coordinators. They worked with local stakeholders to promote the benefits of the new infrastructure, set up dashboards, and coordinate file migration from local servers.

Migration commenced in July 2014, and is now 95% complete, 18 months later. This timeframe far exceeded the estimate of 3-4 months. While the rationale for the change was readily understood and generally accepted, there were several practical challenges. The effort to clean up existing files and folder structure exceeded our estimates. Migration activity halted during our peak production season (October to January inclusive). Both Supply Chain and IT were restructured during this period. Within IT the physical migration tasks were handed over twice. Technical issues arose (if you are interested in these please leave a comment on this post and I will provide more detail). Due to these obstacles the project paused several times and needed to be kick-started again. It has taken persistence and a commitment to the long-term vision (knowledge sharing to create business value) to continue the migration.

Improvements and Next Steps

Although not traditionally the remit of a Learning and Development team, within Supply Chain my team has taken the lead on governance and support to our SharePoint infrastructure. This is an extension of our remit to support knowledge sharing and to contribute more broadly to value creation in our business through social practices. Sustainability of the new site infrastructure is a key goal.

Requests for new Supply Chain SharePoint sites come to me in the workflow. I discuss the business need with the requester and help them find ways to address this need within the existing infrastructure. There have been very few site requests in the past twelve months since we implemented and promoted use of the new infrastructure.

Each national site has two site owners who are responsible for site management. Along with one of my team members I provide direct support to these site owners. We are rolling out a training plan and site management routine for site owners. Additionally, migration project team members have become local SharePoint Subject Matter Experts. They provide advice and responsive local support to people on how to use SharePoint more effectively. We will sustain this SME network.

We are documenting the governance framework and principles that have evolved. These include the overarching infrastructure, role of site owners and my team, support available to users, key infrastructure decisions and the principles that apply.  For example, the principle of openness, means that the majority of sites, document libraries and forums will be public.

Community of Practice Hubs

What happened?

Four community hubs are now set up on SharePoint using a common design. I’ve previously described the hub design and set up process.

The hubs were all set up using standard SharePoint apps and have not required any maintenance. From an end user perspective, it is straightforward to post on each element of the hub. However, community interaction is impeded by limited SharePoint notification functionality. Community management, administration and reporting functionality is also limited.

By default SharePoint displays newsfeed posts made by any person or on any site that someone follows. However, notice of posts on discussion boards will only display in the newsfeed if the individual posting has ticked this in the advanced settings on their personal profile. Few people take the time to adjust their advanced settings. A person can set up email notification of discussion board activity, however the way to do this is not obvious to users. After several attempts to encourage community members to set up their own notifications I manually set these up for every individual member. I also set up email notifications for members on the custom list in the Knowledge Bites site, where user-generated content is published.

SharePoint social lacks the fluidity of open social platforms such as Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. As both an end user and community facilitator I find this frustrating and inefficient. As a result it has taken a lot of effort, support and encouragement to build online community interaction.

Improvements and Next Steps

The value of Communities of Practice to Supply Chain has been demonstrated but is well short of being fully realised. We will expand the use of communities in 2016. Before we do we will assess scalability and user experience of the current community hub infrastructure. We need to decide whether to:

  • continue to use dedicated hubs for each community with any improvements identified in our review; or
  • move to a new design with a single community site for all of Supply Chain using a new design recently adopted by our IT department.

Some variant of these two options may also be possible.

The new IT community and knowledge base that uses functionality not available in the standard SharePoint apps used by Supply Chain. This provides an alternative template for our online communities. However, it represents a shift from separate hubs for each community to one community for the whole of Supply Chain. One of the lessons we learned from our Maintenance and Engineering community is that members need to have enough common interest for them to get value from interacting. A single Supply Chain community exacerbates this challenge. We will explore the use of tagging as a means of associating content (posts or knowledge base entries) by domain to address this challenge. In effect, this could create ‘virtual communities.’ User experience and adoption are key factors to guide community infrastructure design, so we will involve a range of existing and new users to provide feedback in a test environment.

SharePoint-Grappling

I’m up for another round of grappling with SharePoint to improve the user experience and community management.  Getting the infrastructure right is an important hygiene factor for building online communities.  This takes more effort than it should in SharePoint.  It’s effort and time that I’d rather invest in building habits and behaviours to generate community interaction.  However, it is the platform that the organisation has invested in so I shall do the best with my colleagues to make the most of it.

 

 

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AITD Excellence Awards 2015 – Thank You to my Scenius

On Friday 27 November 2015 I attended the annual Australian Institute of Training and Development Excellence Awards. These awards recognise achievement in training, learning and organisational development.

My team in Supply Chain at Coca-Cola Amatil was a finalist in the new award category of ‘Best Use of Social/Collaborative Learning. I was also a finalist in the ‘Dr Alastair Rylatt Award for Learning and Development Professional of the Year.’ I had prepared acceptance speeches as I wanted to take the opportunity to acknowledge some of the people and organisations who had contributed to both of these achievements. I also wanted to share an idea about professional development for Learning and Development (L&D) practitioners. Unfortunately I did not get to use either of these speeches. So I’ve decided to use my blog to express my appreciation and share this idea.

Best Use of Social/Collaborative Learning

Coca-Cola Amatil in partnership with Activate Learning Solutions were Highly Commended in the inaugural award in this category for our work on the Supply Chain Systems Certificaton Program. (I shall blog soon about this program.)

AITD Award

I lead the Supply Chain Technical Academy at Coca-Cola Amatil.  The Academy has had the privilege of working with others across Supply Chain to develop and implement a more open, collaborative approach to learning which seeks to integrate learning with work.

Thank you to the Supply Chain leaders who have been willing to adopt a modern approach to learning in our business, especially to Jeff Maguire, Head of People & Productivity, and David Grant, the Supply Chain Director.  Thank you for supporting innovation in learning.

Thank you also to the AITD for introducing this award category.  It symbolises the progressive work you’ve undertaken in the past 12-18 months to remain relevant as a professional association and reflect the changing nature of L&D.  I appreciate the validation that CCA Supply Chain is on the right track with our social and collaborative learning initiatives.

It takes a lot of collaboration to create and sustain such initiatives.  Thank you to Justine Jardine and Karlo Briski from our Technical Academy team – both have been creative, bold and resilient in developing and facilitating the program.   Thank you also to the Community of Practice members, who were represented at the awards by Matt Hay, David Barker and Sreeni Barmalli. They have been active program participants and, as part of their daily operational roles, have taken a lead in Communities of Practice and supporting others to engage in the certification program.

I’d also like to acknowledge the fabulous support of Helen Blunden from Activate Learning Solutions.  Her guidance was critical in launching our communities of practice, and developing the networking and social learning skills of participants with the Work, Connect and Learn program.  She is a worthy co-recipient of this award.

The Dr Alastair Rylatt Award for Learning and Development Professional of the Year

This award is presented to an individual who has made a significant contribution to learning and development in the past 18 months. Congratulations to Dr Denise Meyerson, Director of Management Consultancy International, for being the 2015 award recipient.

Austin Kleon has written a wonderful little book called ‘Show Your Work.’  The first chapter is titled ‘You Don’t Have To Be Genius’ and it opens with the words ‘Find A Scenius.’  It’s a term that Kleon has picked up from Brian Eno who defines it as follows: “Scenius stands for the intelligence and the intuition of a whole cultural scene. It is the communal form of the concept of the genius.”

scenius

Image from Austin Kleon

My selection as a finalist is largely due to my use of working out loud to find a Scenius, which is a funkier term for what is commonly called a Personal Learning Network.  If you are not familiar with the term ‘Personal Learning Network’ I suggest you Google it, consider the state of your own network, and how you can build it.  Being part of a network or scenius is a key factor in accelerating your professional development and making a contribution.

To quote from Austin Kleon:

“Being a valuable part of a scenius is not necessarily about how smart or talented you are, but what you have to contribute – the ideas you share, the quality of the connections you make, and the conversations you start.”

Thank you to the people around the world who are part of my scenius.  It is all of you who have made it possible for me to transform my professional development, to learn from and alongside you, to make a contribution and as a result to create new possibilities.  The specific people I am about to mention are representative of those in my scenius who collectively enable me to develop and contribute, but ths is well short of an exhaustive list.  They include thought leaders from across the world such as Jane Hart in the UK, Charles Jennings and Jane Bozarth in the US, Harold Jarche in Canada and Simon Terry in Melbourne.  There are also other L&D practitioners who work out loud, generously talking about their work practices, challenges and ideas about where L&D is headed – people such as Ryan Tracey in Sydney, Sunder Ramachandran in India, and Shannon Tipton in the US.

Thank you to the people and organisations who are connectors, creating opportunity for L&D professionals to engage in conversation, and share experience and practices – such as Third Place founded by Helen Blunden, the Ozlearn community facilitated by Con Sotidis and, of course, the AITD.

Closer to my day-to-day work are my colleagues at Coca-Cola Amatil, represented at the awards night by Justine Jardine and Karlo Briski. It’s a joy to learn and figure out what works alongside you. I extend this sentiment to my ex-colleague and peer-mentor, Lynette Curtis who travelled from Melbourne to join the celebrations.

Finally, to my manager of the past four years, Jeff Maguire, thank you for your unwavering trust and support, and the autonomy and flexibility you have granted me to create and embed the Academy and Capability Community in Supply Chain. Thank you also to seeing the value in sharing stories of how we work outside of our organisational boundaries and granting me the freedom to work out loud.

If you take away one thing from my selection as a finalist for this award, it’s to build your network – create your Scenius in order to unlock your Genius.

Afternote – additional posts on AITD Awards:

Helen Blunden’s Reflections of the 2015 AITD National Excellence Awards

AITD’s Storify collection of tweets from the 2015 Awards Night

 

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Community of Practice Evaluation following Work, Connect, and Learn

This post is part of a case study on the development of a Community of Practice (COP) for Maintenance and Engineering teams at Coca-Cola Amatil.  A previous post outlined the COP evaluation strategy.  This post summarises evaluation following completion of the five-week Work, Connect, and Learn (WCL) program.

Network value creation

Network value creation

This evaluation examines:

  1. Increase in networks (potential value)
  2. Engagement with work and Community (potential and applied value)
  3. Opportunities for community value creation

Data gathering methods used were:

  • Pre and post program surveys sent to all 200 (approximately) Community members.  115 people responded to the pre-program survey and 78 to the post-program survey.
  • Data from monitoring Community SharePoint site

Community Demographics

Community members are from nine operational sites and two head office locations in Australia and New Zealand.  Job role and age distribution are shown in the tables below.  The geographic and age distribution of respondents was similar between the two surveys.  The percentage of trades-people who responded to the post-program survey declined compared to the pre-program survey.  This is consistent with feedback about barriers to entry for this group to take part in the online community.

  % Program Respondents
Job Role Pre-Program Post-Program
Tradesperson – Fitter (performs hands-on maintenance and repair of mechanical equipment) 27.4% 23.1%
Tradesperson – Electrician (performs hands-on maintenance and repair of electrical equipment) 24.8% 16.7%
Maintenance – Other (e.g. Coordinator, Planner, Manager – plan and manage maintenance tasks and resources) 17.7% 28.2%
Engineer (production line design, project manage changes to production equipment) 12.4% 19.2%
Other 17.6% 12.8%
  % Program Respondents
Age Group Pre-Program Post-Program
< 30 years 10.5% 10.3%
31-40 16.7% 20.5%
41-50 34.2% 37.2%
> 50 38.6% 32.1%

Increase in Networks

Completed Online Profile

By default, all employees have a brief personal profile in SharePoint and contact details in Lync (now Skype For Business).  We also set up a contact directory on the Community site, organised by work location and job role.  People were asked to update their profile with details such as experience, past projects, and interests.  Profiles are included in SharePoint search results, so these details make it easier to find and connect with relevant people.  As an entry level networking activity, updating a profile is an important step in community participation.

31% of respondents updated their SharePoint profile during the program.  This increased members with complete profiles to 40%, against a target of 80%.

Interaction with People at other Locations

Unfortunately, we are unable to gather any network analysis data from SharePoint or Lync.  We asked about the interaction between Community members in different locations using SharePoint and Lync.   We compared the number of people respondents interacted with in the four weeks before each survey.  WCL webinars were excluded from the data.

The graph below shows two key shifts:

  • Approximately 20% increase from no interactions to 1-5 interactions
  • Approximately 6% increase from 6-10 interactions to 11-20 interactions

Maint cop interaction

We asked respondents to list up to five people they had interacted with at other sites in the previous two weeks.  However, we lacked an effective tool or method to analyse this data.

Interaction across sites increased during the WCL program.  Sustaining and building interaction would require effort.

Community Engagement

Site Newsfeed

The Maintenance and Engineering Community used an existing SharePoint site.  General updates and transient chat could be posted on the newsfeed.  However, the newsfeed was rarely used before WCL.

An early WCL activity was for everyone to follow the SharePoint site.  Following a site ensures that site newsfeed posts appear in your personal newsfeed.  SharePoint does not ‘push’ notifications of newsfeed activity outside of the newsfeed itself.  This means that the only way a person will be aware of newsfeed posts is if they check their feed.  The graph below shows how often respondents checked their feed.  The number of respondents who never check their feed dropped from 62% to 27%.  Those checking at least once a week rose from 18% to 48%.  There was a slight increase in the people who check their feed daily from 9% to 13%.

Maint cop feed check

Discussion Forum

Two discussion forums were added to the site: one for the WCL program, and a second for ongoing Community use.  During WCL, we gradually moved activities from the program forum to the Community forum.  We encouraged people to use the Community forum to share knowledge, solve problems and collaborate on improvements.

Forum posts do not appear in the SharePoint newsfeed.  An alert can be set up on a forum to receive email updates of activity either immediately, daily or weekly.  WCL participants were shown how to set up an alert and asked to set one up on the forum.  At the end of the program only 30 people (approximately 14% of the group) had set up an alert.  However, only 30% advised that they ‘never’ check the forum.  This indicates that most are visiting the forum without being prompted by email alerts.

Activity on the Community forum was analysed.  The count excluded activity on the WCL program forum and by program facilitators.We counted the number of questions, likes and replies, and the number of active individuals.  There were 115 interactions from 23 individuals, representing 11% of the Community population.

Participation rates are consistent with the 1-9-90 rule which is a positive start.  A small number of community champions are emerging.

Barriers to Community Engagement

The survey listed a set of activities and asked respondents who had not done at least two why they had not been more active.  The table below shows frequency of different responses.

MaintCOP Barriers

Respondents identified the key barriers to community engagement as:

  • Time – finding the time to do activities
  • Skills – not being sure how to use SharePoint and/or Lync
  • Need – not having identified a need to engage
  • Technology – Inadequate access to computer or mobile device
  • Who would be interested? – Uncertainty about what they can contribute and who would be interested in their contribution

Opportunities for Community Value Creation

Two open-ended questions gathered views on how participation in the Community could add value.  The questions focused on improving business results.  The were also phrased so that the answers reflected personal pain points and opportunities.

Q1: What do you see as the biggest opportunity to improve work practices and maintenance results at your site?

Key themes in responses were:

  • Access to information
  • Communication and collaboration between production plants
  • Relationship and collaboration across departments at a local level
  • Improving troubleshooting and speed to resolve equipment faults
  • Time / workload, improving workflow
  • Standard processes, setting standards, accountability
  • Maintenance planning
  • Improving technical knowledge
  • Innovation

Q2: How do you think the Community of Practice could help you with this opportunity?

Key themes in responses were:

  • Drawing on everyone’s experience
  • Allowing information to be shared
  • Ease of communication with others
  • Having a greater number of people to ‘bounce’ ideas, solutions and improvements
  • Use forums to ask questions and access feedback/experiences from other sites
  • Learning from mistakes and successes of others
  • Not reinventing the wheel
  • Alignment to common goals through interaction in new ways
  • Training on technical skills

I am actually writing this post seven months after the WCL program.  This gives me the benefit of knowing what has happened in the intervening period.  I recall being positive immediately following the WCL program. The WCL program had helped us to launch the Maintenance and Engineering Community of Practice.  Participants understood how a Community of Practice could create value. The interaction between people in different locations had increased, and community engagement was growing.  We could build on this with strong community facilitation.  We had some barriers to address, particularly if we wanted to enable the trades-people to take part.  There were also opportunities.  Community Champions were emerging.  The Community had identified improvement opportunities that we could build activity around.

The National Engineering and Maintenance Managers had a deeper understanding of tacit knowledge.  They had a stronger appreciation of the value of networks and potential contribution of a Community of Practice.  Our next step was to support them to develop a strong plan to build and sustain the community.  We engaged Helen Blunden  of Activate Learning Solutions to provide coaching on Community facilitation.

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Work, Connect & Learn Program Q&A

Community logo with textIn September I delivered a webinar on the Work Connect and Learn (WCL) program for the 702010 Forum.  Helen Blunden, who developed and facilitated the first program delivery, co-presented.  While the webinar recording is only available to 702010 Forum members, the presentation content was largely drawn from posts we had each made as part of the evolving Community of Practice case study hosted on my blog.  There were a lot of questions raised during the webinar which we weren’t able to respond to so I have posted responses below.

Q: How long has the program been up and running? How many employees are currently in this program

We have run the program twice – in February / March 2015, and April / May 2015. Since then we have been supporting application of the skills and behaviours covered in the program through ongoing Communities of Practice.

250 people participated across the two programs – 200 in the first and 50 in the second. In hindsight, the first group was too big and diverse for us to effectively support and properly engage everyone as a ‘community’ in the program. Note that it was the diversity and different entry level of skill with online tools rather than the group size that created the biggest challenges for keeping all participants fully engaged in the program. The second group had a clearer common practice / domain area and similar entry level skills. We were able to track and enable participation more effectively with this group.

Q: What program did you utilise to facilitate the webinars, and did you record them for individuals to view at a later date? Also, were the webinars interactive, or more of a presentation?

We ran the webinars using Lync (now called Skype for Business). We recorded webinars, put them (unlisted) on YouTube and posted links to recordings in SharePoint discussion forums. This was particularly helpful in a shift environment to people whose work shifts precluded attending scheduled sessions. The webinars were a mix of presentation and interaction. Lync/Skype for Business includes chat, polls and whiteboards. Some webinar activities were conducted using MS OneNote (wiki functionality). We also used teleconference during the webinars so we could have verbal discussions without intranet bandwidth challenges. We deliberately used our day to day corporate tools.

Q: From a planning perspective- how long did it take to build the WCL

The analysis / performance consulting phase occurred in November 2014, design in December 2015, and development of both the program and the online community spaces was complete in early February 2015. Taking into account the Christmas break, this amounted to one month for analysis and approximately two months for design and development.

Q: What were the challenges in creating the shift to this type of learning?

Some of our people don’t spend a lot of time at a computer or use mobile devices as they work. In this case it’s difficult to establish convenient habits and ways of engaging in online knowledge sharing and collaboration. Even where people have good access to technology, for many using SharePoint and mobile tools for learning were quite new. However, through the program people realised that they have collaborative tools at their fingertips which they can use in their work practices.

The other challenge is to help people develop habits to check and use the forums, think to ask a question or share what they are doing. In the second version of the program we put a lot more emphasis on activities to help people form habits.

Q: Do the maintenance personnel have their own computers at work, do they share computers, etc?  What is the access to the technology needed?

See the question above. Our maintenance personnel will be moving to mobile mobile devices in 2016 as part of introducing a mobility app for our core maintenance management system. To support this initiative we will provide training/hand-holding on use of the mobile devices, and will also run a tailored version Work Connect and Learn for this group.

Q: What role, if any, did managers play in helping to create and/or facilitate this culture of learning?

WCL has now been delivered to two groups. For the first group, our Maintenance and Engineering Community, managers participated alongside team members. Their participation was important to role model behaviours and encourage others to engage in collaborative learning and working. For the second group, our Systems Community, managers were not participants.

Because this style of learning and working is different to previous approaches we have used, we developed a change management plan which started with engaging the managers as a first step. We held teleconference discussions with them prior to commencing each of the programs so they were aware of the aims and what they could do to support their team members to get the most out of the program. We provided them posters and talking points so they could introduce the program to their teams and discuss their commitment to it before launch.

We have also followed up with managers to keep them abreast of what is happening in the Communities of Practice on an ongoing basis and to specifically seek support at times (e.g. ‘Did you see this post from your team member – it’s great – you might want to leave a comment to support them.’)

Q: What about keeping the community going after the program, community management/facilitation – who is taking the lead on that?

The National Engineering and Maintenance Managers facilitate this community with support from the Academy. We ran a coaching program on community facilitation for these people.

The Systems community is facilitated by Academy team members in conjunction with 1 or more Super Users from within the business. The closer level of involvement of the Academy is due to the tight integration of the Community of Practice with our internal systems certification program.

Q How much intervention is required to keep it going – to have it self managing?

We are not yet at the point where any of our communities are ‘self-managing’. We’re considering creating a ‘Community and Knowledge Manager’ role to increase focus on building effective Communities of Practice.

Q: What was the name of the gamification that you used?

We didn’t have a gamification platform to use and the native SharePoint community gamification didn’t suit our purpose.  So we kept the game simple and tracked it manually.

Q: Have people used video to show their work practices and share them across the geographic areas?

In our Systems community some people have made screencasts. In our maintenance community short videos are sometimes posted to illustrate equipment problems and fixes. Our maintenance people have sometimes used FaceTime to show each other what is happening on a production line to help with troubleshooting.

Q: Is the shared learning moderated to ensure consistency and quality?

Consistency and quality comes from generating an open sharing, learning and working environment within the community. There is no screening or review of discussion forum or newsfeed posts before they are ‘publicly’ viewable. The intent is to surface and clarify misinformation or misunderstanding and utilise the expertise available in the community to provide accurate information or better ways of doing things – or to co-create these.

There is an element of moderation on the ‘Knowledge Bites’ which are user-generated ‘how to guide’s and similar content. However the moderation is undertaken in public view. A traffic light system is used to highlight content in development, under expert review and where expert review has been completed.

Q: What has been the feedback from the participants?

I am preparing a blog post to summarise program evaluation. In the meantime, high level summary of what participants found useful and suggested improving after the first delivery of WCL is below. Overall the program was well received by those who had good daily access to the tools needed to participate.

Useful Improvements
Tools & how to use them

Awareness of new ways of working, connecting & learning

Connecting to others

Social networking

Knowledge sharing

Access to information

Target audience was too wide

Access to tools by tradespeople

More interaction in webinars

Support resources / job aids

Follow on support for continued learning

Technical problems with early webinars

Q: Can you enlighten us on what the specific performance outcomes were as these are quite hard to define.

Refer to this post for more detail on the evaluation approach and performance outcomes / metrics used for the program and communities of practice.

Q: You mentioned measurement before, during and after. How long after did you measure impact and what did you learn?

Refer to this blog post for an overview of the evaluation approach. I will soon add a post on evaluation immediately after the WCL program. Refer to this post for a medium term view of how our communities of practice are progressing.

Q: I’m interested to know if CCA has seen a shift in engagement and performance as a result of these initiatives?

Shifting a learning culture and embedding knowledge sharing into work practices takes time. We have seen specific examples of improvements in work practices and processes, although could not yet make a link between the program / communities of practice and overall business unit performance or engagement. The results have been encouraging enough that our management team is supportive of continuing with our social learning initiatives.

Q: How would you scale this type of program to other areas in the business?

One way is to develop a self-directed curated version of the program, as described in response to the question above.

A ‘public version’ of the guided social learning program could also be run that supports the development of skills for collaborative working and learning in the network era without activities being linked to a specific community of practice.

Q: When wouldn’t this approach work? What sort of things would you definitely not use this approach for?

Compliance training needs more ‘control’ than a semi-structured community-based social learning approach provides. Hands-on novice level job skills would better be suited to on the job training supported by performance support resources such as job aids and checklists. Beyond these two instances knowledge sharing and collaboration supported by networks and communities offer significant advantages over ‘training’.

Refer to previous answers regarding access to computers or mobile devices, plus basic familiarity with the tools used. This familiarity can be developed via preliminary learning / support activities before commencing the full WCL program.

Q: What are the next steps for this program?

There are several things we are now doing with this program to reuse and adapt it:

  • Curating key content for self-directed use by both people who have completed WCL and need refresher or performance support, or for independent use across the business.
  • Updating the social guided learning version of the program to support the launch of additional, targeted communities after our peak Christmas season.
  • Adding preliminary components to support people to develop familiarity and confidence with mobile and online technology as a pre-requisite to the WCL program.

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Community of Practice Progress Review (70:20:10 Certification Pathway)

This post reviews progress against my 70:20:10 Certification pathway.

Coca-Cola Amatil Supply Chain is developing knowledge sharing using Communities of Practice (COP). It’s six months since our first COP was formally launched, in Maintenance and Engineering, and shortly after this for our Systems Super Users and Key Users. As we are starting to develop our 2016 business plans and budgets this is a good time to consider progress, benefits and next steps.

We set up a single Maintenance and Engineering COP and invited all maintenance and engineering team members in Australia and New Zealand to participate – around 200 people. In the Systems area we launched three COPs – one for each operational system in scope, approximately 50 people in total. In both instances we launched these communities using a five week guided social learning program (Work, Connect and Learn – WCL) to develop skills and behaviours to participate in the COP. We ran WCL initially for the entire Maintenance and Engineering community, and then separately for the Systems communities. I shall post separately on evaluation of the WCL program.

The current maturity of these COPs is shown below on the Community Maturity Model from the Community Roundtable.

COP Maturity

The three crucial COP characteristics (as defined by Wenger-Trayner ) of domain, community and practice were used to identify factors impacting COP maturity – as shown in the table below.

COP Factors

Examples of value creation were identified in the Maintenance & Engineering and SAP Manufacturing COPs in particular, including:

  • Streamlining of processes
  • Sharing resources for troubleshooting
  • Cross-site input on problem resolution
  • Sharing improvements / lessons learned

Case studies and examples of successful COPs within organisations in similar industries and environments (manufacturing, engineering and technically oriented settings) were identified and reviewed (view curated articles). Lessons drawn from these case studies and our experience include:

  • Carefully define the domain and purpose of COP – keep it narrow enough to be attainable
  • Form strategically designed COPs aligned to business goals, set tangible outcomes, and find ways to integrate activities with work (e.g. link to projects, build activities into work flow), support and guide them closely
  • Provide guidelines and a lighter touch for other COPs that form
  • Provide guidance and support to help people access and interact in COPs
  • Make sure that interesting content is available
  • Enable Subject Matter Experts to become COP champions
  • Generate active senior management support

Most importantly, it is clear that value created by COPs can take considerable time to materialise. The key insight is that to generate tangible performance improvements you need to put effort and resource into community management. Accordingly, a key review recommendation is the appointment of a dedicated Community Manager.

Next steps identified are:

  • Create community strategies and road maps to build existing COPs.
  • Advocate for creation of the Community Manager role
  • When the Community Manager role is established (assuming it is), identify and design focused cross-functional COPs aligned with business processes with high impact on priority goals in our business strategy

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I could be a more effective Social Curator

Yesterday I sat down to write a blog post about how I use Diigo for curation.  First I looked at Joyce Seitzinger‘s presentation on social curation at the EduTech Australia conference (Brisbane, 2 June 2015).  I’m glad that I did because instead I’m responding to Joyce’s more useful question “Are you an effective social curator?”

Joyce defines social curation as “the discovery, selection, collection and sharing of digital artefacts by an individual for a social purpose such as learning, collaboration, identity expression or community participation. An artefact can be any digital resource, like a link, an article or a video.” 

Of course I could be a more effective social curator.  But how?

One element of Joyce’s definition that stood out for me was the purposeful nature of curation.  In early August I have an opportunity to present to a senior management team on creating business value through social networks and communities.  I downloaded the Social Curation Canvas and used it figure out how I could curate to help prepare this presentation.  As I started answering the questions posed in the canvas in the context of this presentation I identified some of personal strengths and opportunities across the four steps in social curation (as defined by Joyce).  You can take a peek at my completed canvas here.

Social Curation Process

Discovery

I have an adequate set of discovery tools that I know how to use – Twitter lists, Advanced Google Search, Feedly, and Google Alerts (which I stream to Feedly).  I follow a number of blogs relevant to my presentation topic.  I checked what I already had in my collection that I could use for my presentation and found articles from Simon Terry, Harold Jarche, Altimeter and Wenger-Trayner that included useful frameworks to discuss business value from Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs) and Communities.  I identified gaps in my collection in case studies and research with good metrics, so will set up more specific information streams via Google Alerts and asking my Twitter network.

I check my information streams sporadically and with inadequate focus. In the coming month I shall check the key streams relevant to my presentation twice per week during my early morning Professional Development sessions at my home office desk. In particular, I will look at the new Google Alerts I set up and my Community Twitter List.

I will also start interacting more with people on social  media who are interested in community management and ESNs.  This may be a long tail activity which does not directly contribute to my research for the upcoming presentation, but will yield longer term benefits.

Selection

I always skim through an artefact before deciding whether to add it to a collection.  I am drawn to artefacts that are clearly written / presented, and include useful frameworks, diagrams, or models.  I am more likely to collect if it has been shared or endorsed by someone whose authority or interest in the topic I trust.  As I prepare for this presentation I will be on the lookout for data, metrics and research rather than models and frameworks (I have enough of these).

Collection

Diigo works well for me.  It’s easy to add to collections, especially using the applet on both my computer and iPad.  It’s also easy to find artefacts using either tags or search.  My tags could be better organised, but this is not an near-term priority.  My collections under the ESN tag and Community tag allowed me to find artefacts in my existing collection of value for my presentation.

Sharing

My primary audience for this presentation is my Senior Management Team, who do not use public social media for professional purposes and rarely interact on our ESN.  One of the goals of my presentation is to encourage them to use both so that they can experience professional value for themselves and awaken them to the possibility of value creation through more widespread organisational use of networks and communities.  So, while the face to face presentation is the key sharing opportunity, I shall also share relevant artefacts on our ESN in the coming month. My presentation will be more compelling if I can demonstrate value using artefacts and ideas discovered through my network.

My secondary audience for artefacts on this topic are people with an interest in creating value in organisations through networks and communities.  By sharing relevant artefacts with them on Twitter my Personal Learning Network builds and they may reciprocate with links to further relevant artefacts.  I will also share what I have discovered on the topic via a blog post after my presentation.

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Community of Practice Case Study

In September 2014 we decided to get strategic with social learning in Coca-Cola Amatil’s Supply Chain and establish a Community of Practice for our Maintenance and Engineering team members across Australia and New Zealand.  Helen Blunden of Activate Learning was engaged to help with this initiative.  Helen and I are Working Out Loud about the development of this Community.

This post provides links to all our posts which collectively form a case study that we’ve developed as we worked.  I’ve arranged them in a  logical sequence for you to read if you wanted to follow the case study in rough order in which things happened (although there is a lot iteration).  I’ll keep adding to it as we post more on this case.

1.  Context – Michelle’s post about the background to the decision to get strategic with social learning and establish the Community of Practice

2. Strategy and Analysis Phase – Helen’s post about how the need was analysed and strategy for the Community of Practice developed

3. Work, Connect and Learn Program – Helen’s post about the guided social learning program we decided to develop to help community members learn skills and behaviours required to participate in online community activities

4. Development of the Work, Connect and Learn Program – Helen’s post about how the program was developed

5. The online community hub – Michelle’s guided tour of the community infrastructure set up using standard SharePoint 2013 functionality, integrated with Microsoft Lync and OneNote

6. Change Management approach – Michelle’s post (to be written) about the approach taken to change management before Community launch

7. Evaluation strategy – Michelle’s post about the business objectives and evaluation strategy for the Community

8. Reflections on Module 0 of Work Connect and Learn – Helen’s video log reflection before and after delivering webinars for Module 0 Learn How to Learn Online

9. Reflections of the Work Connect and Learn program – Helen’s post about lessons she learned during delivery of the Work Connect and Learn program

10. Maintenance & Engineering COP evaluation – Michelle’s post summarising state of the COP immediately after the Work, Connect & Learn program.

11.  Work Connect and Learn evaluation – Michelle’s post (to be written) about evaluation of the program itself.

12.  Work Connect and Learn Q&A – Michelle’s post providing answers to questions about the program following a webinar presented for the 702010 Forum.

13.  Community of Practice Progress Review – Michelle’s post reviewing Community maturity six months after first launch.

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Community Hub on SharePoint 2013

To support the launch of Coca-Cola Amatil’s Maintenance and Engineering Community of Practice we’ve built an online Community Hub in SharePoint 2013.  I invite you to take a video tour of this Hub.  As the tour is 15 minutes I have also provided a brief written description of the spaces set up on the Hub for Community members to connect, share and collaborate. (Note – I’ve recorded this video using Microsoft Lync.)

Key Hub Features

The Hub sits on our Maintenance Engineering SharePoint site, and is basically a dashboard with links to a range of spaces and resources on both SharePoint and the internet.  In the video I walk through the spaces we’ve set up on SharePoint for Community members to interact online, connecting, sharing, solving problems and improving practices together.  All of these spaces are accessible from any mobile device or computer using an organisational login.  The mobile access is particularly important for maintenance tradespeople who spend most of their time in the production environment, away from desks.

CCA Community Hub

The CCA Links on the hub are:

Discussion Forum – standard discussion board with ability to create new discussions, reply and like.  The board can be sorted and filtered in a number of ways, and search is available on the site which will include discussions in results.  A useful function I don’t discuss in the video is that an individual can quickly set up an alert to receive notifications of changes on the discussion forum via email (immediately, daily or weekly).  This is helpful to stimulate those who aren’t working on SharePoint regularly to participate in forum activity.

Shared Notebook – a Microsoft OneNote notebook set up on the Maintenance and Engineering site.  OneNote is a very easy to use, flexible collaborative tool.  We have set up a section for use during the Work Connect and Learn program, and there is currently another section being used for Maintenance Managers meetings.  We expect to see use of OneNote increase as Community members become familiar with it.

Contact Directory – a directory with expandable sections containing SharePoint profile key data.  A person can be added to multiple sections reflecting the different groups to which they belong (e.g. Maintenance Managers, members of a physical site team, system Key Users).  From each person’s directory entry you see whether they are online, start a Lync IM chat or call, create an email, access their contact details, or open their SharePoint personal page.

SharePoint directory

 Example of Contact Directory popup with interfaces to Lync and SharePoint personal page

Supply Chain Knowledge Bites – a separate SharePoint site where anyone can share a short ‘bite’ of knowledge or ‘how to’ information.  Documents and multi-media files can be included in a Bite, along with links to internet resources.  People are often unsure about where or how to share their expertise, so we’ve set up this space to provide a common way of sharing and accessing documented know-how.  The second half of the video explores Knowledge Bites in more detail.

Community members are learning how to use these spaces along with other collaborative tools (notably Microsoft Lync) through our Work Connect and Learn program.  Program activities are being conducted in these normal working spaces so that people get used to using these spaces during the program, and continue to use them afterwards.

How the Hub was Built

Work on the hub commenced with a PowerPoint prototype which a colleague, Justine Jardine, developed with me in just one working day at the request of a keen senior manager who wanted to champion the solution at an annual planning meeting.  We were able to respond so quickly in part because we had seen a demonstration of a knowledge sharing space set up on SharePoint 2013 by a New Zealand engineering firm, Tonkin & Taylor, in a 702010 Forum webinar. We included additional spaces and resources in the prototype, all of which we modelled on existing internal SharePoint sites.  So, our prototype was low risk as we had working examples of all functionality included.

While our internal IT department provisions SharePoint sites using a standard organisational template, they do not build any functionality on sites.  They also do not allow custom development, which ended up precluding some of the prototype features as Tonkin & Taylor had done custom development.  Further, we were unable to use SharePoint ‘Community features’ as IT is still trialling these.

So, I developed the Hub using standard SharePoint 2013 functionality.  While I knew how to build a dashboard, almost everything else I had to learn how to construct.  I searched the internet for information and ‘how to’ articles and videos, with Helen Blunden (who was developing Work, Connect and Learn) researching SharePoint 2013 features alongside me.  There is a LOT of freely available information about how to set things up in SharePoint 2013.  I also got tips from our SharePoint SME in IT (he had time for quick questions), and appreciated some discussion with contacts at Tonkin & Taylor about their Knowledge Shots solution. Of course, the other way I learned was to experiment – to build things and see what they looked like, then adjust.

Several members of our internal Capability Community tested and reviewed the build as Hub components were developed.  Often their excellent suggestions could not be implemented with standard SharePoint 2013 functionality, but did push me to figure out different ways to do things as we continued iterative development.  The experience of building this Hub has made me more resourceful as a self-directed learner, and more likely to figure things out for myself than wonder why IT hadn’t “trained me” on using SharePoint.

 Updates

At some point I’ll post an update about how Community members responded to the Hub and what adjustments or additional features we introduce.  If you have any suggestions or feedback please leave a reply.

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Supporting Narration – from Role Modelling to Guided Learning

For a number of months I have been using a strategy of role modelling, encouragement and positive reinforcement to support others in my work team to narrate their work.  I have written previously about the Working Out Loud 3 Habits experiment that I tried.  This strategy has had mixed results.  Three of the ten group members are posting on our ESN at least once a week.  On one hand, a 30% online community participation rate is relatively good.  However, we are aiming to build online communities and encourage people across the business unit to share their expertise via narrating their work.  As the Capability Community are key learning change agents, it’s important to increase their online narration as part of shifting their mindset and skills to enable them to lead and support others.

Recently I’ve been working with support of an external consultant, Helen Blunden of Activate Learning, on analysis and planning of a Community of Practice (COP) for our maintenance and engineering teams. During discussions with team members we have asked them about their view of narrating their work.  Their responses have been similar to feedback from the Capability Community.

Narrating ReactionsPeople don’t necessarily see the point of narrating their work.  They’re unsure of the benefit to themselves or others.  They can’t see how to fit it into their work flow when they are busy and it just feels like another task to do.  They don’t know how to do it – either how to use the online tools or how to talk about their work.  There are also psychological barriers – concerns about what others will think of them and read into their motives.

After discovering John Stepper’s Working Out Loud blog I have been thinking that a guided mastery approach could help to address these common barriers.  Last week in her Learning@Work keynote address on learning in a social workplace, Jane Hart provided the term I have been looking for to describe the approach that we shall adopt – Guided Social learning.  This semi-structured approach ‘scaffolds’ an online social learning process for participants providing them with some content/guidance and activities to get them started connecting with others and narrating their work.  The intent is to enable them to transition to continuous, autonomous online social learning either as a team or individuals.

We shall be designing and developing our Guided Social Learning program which we will launch internally in early 2015.  Although the program will include curated resources from the internet, it will be customised to our organisation – our tools, people and context.  I’m looking forward to working on this as I complete the Guided Social Learning Experience Design Program offered by the Modern Workplace Learning Centre this month.

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Team Social Learning Review

In this post I reflect on the social learning skills of the team in which I work.  This is the second part of the social learning skills review I completed as part of the Social Learning Practitioner Program.

I lead a small core team of capability consultants and instructional designers who create and support implementation of learning programs and resources across our Business Unit.  We work closely with Capability Managers in a range of geographical areas who represent the managers and learners who are our internal customers.  They also drive local use of programs, and are key change agents.  We refer to this extended team as our ‘Capability Community’.

microsoft-sharepoint-logo1We use Sharepoint 2010 as our Enterprise Social Network (ESN).  We have a public community site which is used primarily to publish learning materials and reference documents for meetings or joint projects.  These documents are rarely developed collaboratively.  Our community meets fortnightly via teleconference, supported by online document/screen sharing using Microsoft Lync.  Outside of this meeting we use email to communicate as a group rather than Sharepoint.  Community members support each other to solve performance problems and share resources when asked; however this is done primarily in response to a specific request from an individual rather than sharing resources and experience as an ongoing part of how we work.

I have attempted to introduce some use of Sharepoint’s collaboration and social features, with limited take up.  Working together socially supported by our ESN is different to how our community members currently work together or with other teams that they participate in, and I have not been explicit with the group about the change in behaviour that I am trying to encourage and why.   Also, use of external online and social media tools to support personal learning by individual team members is limited, hence community members do not have this experience to adapt or model.

community

Our interaction in our fortnightly one hour catchups has matured from status reporting and project decisions two years ago to now  starting each meeting with verbal updates of what each person has been working on and engage in more discussion of our experiences on common activities.  This has helped the team to identify more opportunity to share resources and draw out/upon each others experience.  I think the group is well positioned to take the next step and try narrating our work online.

Our ESN will be upgraded to Sharepoint 2013 next month, along with relocation of our department files from a series of folders in Windows Explorer segregated by geography to Sharepoint team sites set up by function . The new team site structure creates significant opportunity for people doing similar work across the organisation to better connect and share, and we can set up our online space in a way that better supports collaboration and social learning.

Our community met face to face last week for two days to refresh our capability development strategy – our first face to face session in well over a year.  We committed to improve our knowledge sharing practices and trial use of Sharepoint to support continuous learning in our Community, providing a role model for other groups and building experience that will help us to support development of other communities in our business unit.

Please leave your observations on this ‘case study’ or tips on how this team could become more ‘social’ in how we work in Comments below.  I’ll do an update post later in the year to create a case study.

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