Archive for category ESN

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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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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2015 Blogging Goals

Goals

My Goals for this blog in 2015 are:

  1. Complete the Social Learning Practitioner Program – write at least one blog post for each activity (by March 2015)
  2. Support completion of 702010 Practitioner Certification through the 702010 Forum
  3. Reflect on what I am doing in work and professional development, the results I am getting, and develop action plans for improvement; hold myself accountable by reviewing progress against these plans
  4. Deepen learning from other activities (especially conferences, webinars, Twitter chats and reading)
  5. Build and contribute to my Personal Learning Network
  6. Build a long-term archive that I can use to remember what I’m learning and see differences over time (my thanks to Sacha Chua for this goal – it’s from “A No-Excuses Guide to Blogging” which I am using as a resource to improve my blogging).

Key Topics I will focus on this year (yes, I do intend to be focussed this year…):

  • social learning
  • showing your work / working out loud
  • Communities of Practice
  • Enterprise Social Networks (ESNs)

Specific Improvements I will make to my blogging:

  • shorter posts
  • more frequent posts – minimum two per month
  • visual representation of content, especially Sketchnotes and mind maps (I am a novice so expect big learning curve)
  • create and maintain outlines to sustain pipeline of blog posts

What about my SharePoint blog on the internal ESN?

To minimise duplication of effort I shall write as much as possible on my public blog and link from SharePoint where the subject matter supports organisational goals (which should be the majority of posts).

Additionally I will use Sharepoint blog to:

  • communicate internally about Supply Chain Technical Academy activities and programs (Monday Weekly Wrap / Featured Program)
  • encourage others within my organisation to show their work / work out loud ( post daily tips as a micro-learning flow)
  • acknowledge and thank others (especially, but not exclusively, through Thank You Thursday campaign)
  • share links to relevant external resources (similar to Harold Jarche’s “Friday’s Finds“)

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Working Out Loud 3 Habits Experiment

ozlearnInspired by a recent #Ozlearn Twitter chat on ‘The Value of Working Out Loud‘ (WOL), I’ve tried a one week ‘3 Habits’ WOL experiment in my organisation’s Enterprise Social Network (ESN).  For anyone unfamiliar with the term WOL, refer to my post from 14 August for a brief introduction.

I’ve been working out loud through my blog, membership of online communities on the internet, and via Twitter for just under six months – and it’s significantly altered my personal approach to professional development.  The benefits that I’ve experienced include:

  • a stronger, more diverse network
  • accelerated, fluid ongoing professional development
  • an understanding of trends and practices relevant to my work
  • quicker, better quality problem solving
  • improved working processes
  • better ability to support others through knowledge and resource sharing
  • a sense of connection to others

As an organisational L&D practitioner, the next step for me is to seek to introduce WOL in  my business uni to promote collaboration and cooperation, in ways that strongly align to our business strategy.  Of course, generating business value from an ESN is a long term game that warrants many separate blog posts.

WOLMy focus in this post is on my ‘3 Habits’ WOL experiment.  SharePoint is our ESN.  It is primarily used for document storage and sharing.  Two of our senior managers blog weekly (this is good!) and the Sales team post an endless stream of photos of shop displays they have set up (the ‘Following only’ newsfeed view is a blessing).  Apart from this there is very limited use of SharePoint blogging or micro-blogging in an organisation with several thousand permanent employees.  My ESN posts over the past few months have been sporadic, falling well short of my intent to generate interest in WOL.  During the #Ozlearn chat Simon Terry suggested that people try using triggers to develop a habit of posting three times a day.  The triggers and habits I aimed to use were:

  • Trigger 1 – Morning Coffee.  Habit 1 – Post about something I’m working on.
  • Trigger 2 – Start of lunch break.  Habit 2 – Interact with others.
  • Trigger 3 – Shutting down my computer.  Habit 3 – Say thank you or acknowledge someone.

I also invited members of the L&D Community (a group of less than ten people) to join the WOL experiment, and encouraged others to post, ask questions or comment whenever I identified specific opportunities.

Here’s what happened during my experiment…

Day 1 – 19 August

8.10am – Habit 1

Day1Post1

 

 

Never received any replies….

8.13am – Habit 2 (yeah, not quite lunchtime – I was keen and took the opportunity when I saw it)

Day1Post2

 

 

Day1Post3

I did get a thanks from the person who posted the question.

 

4.35pm – Habit 3 – I thanked some people who had suggested additional training courses that their teams would find valuable.  Interestingly, it took me a while to figure out what and who to recognise.  This was the most challenging post of Day 1.

On Day 1 I also sent a link to Simon Terry’s 3 Habits article to members of our internal L&D Community, to inform a discussion on our role in supporting informal learning and communities of practice.  I suggested that as a group we try WOL for one month.

Day 2 – 20 August 

8.15am – Habit 1 – Here I talked about what I was doing and also why, taking the opportunity to suggest some of the things people can do on SharePoint.

Day2Post1b

 

 

 

12.45pm – Habit 2 – I answered another question about SharePoint use.  This is the topic that questions are most often posted about.  (Aside – we could be doing a better job with SharePoint training.)

4pm – Habit 3 – I thanked someone for conducting a skill assessment.  It was a lot easier to identify something to recognise today.

Day 3 – 21 August 

8.05am – Habit 1 – Shared a graphic listing things people can do on an ESN, which was shared during an #ESN Twitter Chat.  Perhaps this simple list might encourage others to try some things out on SharePoint.  (Diagram sourced from Stan Garfield.)

Day3Post1

 

 

 

 

 

 

3.10pm – Habit 2 – I noticed a response to a question I had posted three days previously requesting job aids or training material on how to use permissions in SharePoint.  I thanked the person who replied, and used the @mention function to share their response with specific individuals.

3.10pm – Habit 3 – While not strictly recognition, I posted a short support message against a suggestion from someone else to improve functionality for sharing a document from SharePoint.  I had encouraged this person to post earlier in the day, so wanted to provide the with positive reinforcement.

Day3Post3

 

 

On Day 3 the L&D Community’s fortnightly teleconference catchup was held.  I raised WOL as a practice which could help develop internal communities of practice (a goal in our Capability strategy), and asked the group to try the WOL experiment for two weeks.  I asked why people weren’t already posting on SharePoint (noting that this was the second time we have discussed the practice).  The first response was uncertainty about who sees posts, which impacts how much context the person felt they may need to provide in a post.  We discussed how Following and news feeds work.  The second response was “It just doesn’t occur to me.”  I thought this linked nicely to Simon’s 3 Habits suggestion, so referred the group to the article and discussed triggers and habits.  Teleconferences can be awkward to discuss even familiar topics, let alone a new behaviour which is outside of people’s comfort zones.  The group feels we already have a strong L&D Community, hence is unsure of what they see as the incremental benefits of WOL. At the end of the discussion I could see that I would need to provide ongoing encouragement to others to try it out.

Day 4 – 22 August

8.30am – Habit 1 – I posted about the group’s WOL experiment.

 10.52am – Habit 3 (OK, out of sequence, but a clear opportunity arose to recognise someone.) I congratulated a person who was found competent in a skill assessment on the previous day.  Shortly afterwards one of the L&D Community members protested that I had ‘taken her post’.  Note to self – before posting consider whether someone else might like to post on a specific item and pause to give them time to do so.

11am – Habit 2 – I liked a post from one of the L&D Community members.

Dy4Post1

 

 

 

Day 5 – 25 August

11.18am – Habit 2 – One of the L&D Community had posted about a new instructional design concept they had learned.  I replied with a question (which hasn’t been answered four days later).

12.27pm – Habit 1 – Posted about SharePoint site clean up.

2.35pm – Weekly Blog – I posted my weekly status update on learning initiatives in my business unit.  This is a key regular stakeholder communication.  I look forward to the day when I am confident that enough of these stakeholders are following the blog and looking at their SharePoint newsfeed to stop emailing them a link to it (sigh!).

2.40pm – Habit 2 – Someone in the HR team has posted a tip on using our Performance and talent Management tool.  I liked this post (literally).  Sharing tips is a great use case for an ESN.

Some Statistics

I follow 120 people on SharePoint, including all of the senior managers in my business unit.  I don’t follow any of the Sales team as their product display photos would overwhelm everything else in my feed.  Micro-posts remain on the newsfeed for one week.  In the past week there have been 44 posts in my ‘Following’ feed.  16 (35%) of these are mine.  14 others posted in this time – 11% of the people I follow.  Of these, five are people I encouraged to post.

Observations and What Next

The triggers worked well for me to get into the flow of regular posts and coin a variety of things in my posts.  While I am wary of ‘dominating’ the SharePoint feed given relatively low number of active users, I’m shall continue posting three times a day.  I feel that it’s my responsibility to role model WOL given my L&D role and the value of the practice to continuous learning.  We have barely scratched the surface of the business value to be gained using SharePoint.

Of the three habits, number 3 (recognising and acknowledging others) was the least ‘natural’ to me  – and this is something most organisations could do with more of.  I’m going to move this habit to Trigger 1 so it’s the first thing I do in the day when I’m freshest and most likely to post.

I’m also going to post more about activities other than SharePoint initiatives.  As this is the main topic that others post about I’d like to flag that there is benefit in discussing other topics online.

I will ask others for their opinion on topics more frequently to prompt them to respond and interact.  I will also continue to suggest specific opportunities to post to others when I spot them.

Next week I shall write up a new set of habits to support these adjustments.

I’m also going to develop a strategy to launch and grow a specific community of practice outside of L&D to support a high priority element of our business strategy.  It will include activities conducted face to face, via teleconference, and online.  Working Out Loud in these various ‘spaces’ will be a key element of the strategy.

 

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Observation as a Key Sense-Making Skill

I’m currently completing Harold Jarche’s 40 Days to Personal Knowledge Mastery (PKM) program.  The program uses Harold’s Seek-Sense-Share PKM framework.  I’ve always been intrigued by the ‘Sense’ step – it’s struck me as a black art, the space between gathering information and sharing it as some form of mature, processed product where “magic happens”.

I’ve just completed an activity in Observation based on looking closely at my Twitter feed for the previous week in order to find patterns between people or connect seemingly separate ideas together. I was frustrated early in the activity and felt like giving in.  I persevered and concentrated, while seeking to keep an open mind.  And then, somehow, by sticking with this as a purposeful exercise, magic did indeed happen. If you’re curious about how I completed this exercise in observation and what I noticed take a look at this Storify post.

This experience demonstrated to me the value of slowing down and making time to really observe, explore, and think critically rather than just dipping in and out of a stream of information quickly and lightly.  Great exercise Harold – thank you!

 

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Social Media Lesson Design – Working Out Loud on Sharepoint 2013

As an activity for the Social Media for Active Learning MOOC (SMOOC – Twitter @SMOOC2014) I have designed a lesson incorporating the use of social media tools to support active learning.  I’m sharing this to encourage others to consider the use of social media in their lessons.

The context for this lesson is to encourage use of social learning using my company’s Enterprise Social Network (ESN), Sharepoint 2013 by getting people to narrate their work.  As such the choice of Sharepoint as the tool for this course was clearcut.
While initially daunted at the prospect of designing a lesson using social media, as I read participant posts on the SMOOC discussion boards I realised that my existing instructional design skills are entirely relevant to this task. The new bit is knowledge and skill with available social media tools to decide when and how to use them.  This made my specific task more approachable as I am already using Sharepoint2010.

While our upcoming Enterprise Social Network upgrade to Sharepoint2013 (with enhanced social functionality) means I need to update my skills, I felt adequately confident in my existing knowledge to do a high level lesson design.  Our upgrade is in May, so I aim to run the pilot in July and rollout in August.  Shall do an update post on the final product and outcomes after this time.

Here is the lesson design:

Lesson Design – Working Out Loud

Very appreciative of feedback on this design – what improvements do you suggest?

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