We are planning a conference call (7am PDT/10am EDT/3pm GMT May 31) for one hour to discuss the following request:
For converstion to your time zone, check here.

Call Recording:
http://nancywhite.audioacrobat.com/download/c527f893-cc51-d682-c19c-e6e2042e52bc.mp3

Call Preparation


Dial in Number: US 641-497-7100 passcode 200028#
Nancy will (attempt) to record the call
Facilitator: Sue

To join the chat go to http://www.fullcirc.com/weblog/onfacblog.htm - look for the Blogher logo in the right nav bar. Just beneath there is a green diamond. Click on that to get into the chat room.

I'm in the corporate world, responsible for implementing a Collaboration tool throughout the organization. We are focusing now
on project teams -- virtual or co-located work teams dedicated to a specific project with defined deliverables. Most of the discussion I've been following on this list seems to be more related to Communities of Practice or other types of online Communities. Is there anyone out there with experience fostering Collaboration tools in a corporate environment that might be willing to chat / email for a bit? I'd like to brainstorm ways to measure the success of Communities, implementation strategies, how to adequately support Communities, etc. Thanks for your time!

Let's use this space to plan a focused agenda for the call. Please contribute your ideas here, and I'll post a finalized discussion plan before the call. (Sue)

sue_breer writes:
I'd like to hear how others have measured the success of project Communities in their organizations. How do you quantify success? Number of Communities? Activity level? Business results ties to the use of the Community?

Also, please RSVP if you are going to participate!


  • What do we mean by Project Based communities?
  • What are the special requirements? (I.e is it project management we facilitate?)
  • Stories of facilitating project based communities to highlight useful practices.
  • What are best practices from f2f project management that translate well to online collaboration? What will not work online? Creative work-arounds?
  • Differences between corporate settings and volunteer communities?
  • How to promote full user participation when users would have to ALSO learn new tools. To illustrate- having to set up, learn, etc Elluminate stopped even tech savvy folks.(or at least slowed them down.)
  • Other resources? Add them to this wiki page

After Call Reflections and Action Items (Please add yours)

  • It was great to get to know a few more members in a bit more depth. My respect and admiration for the wisdom of the group grew - nancy
  • I wish I had remembered to set the chat room up in advance. That wasted a bit of time. And strongly encouraged everyone to take notes. - nw



Participant Contact Information (Please add yours)


Sue Breer sue_breer at yahoo.com
Scott Gassman scott.gassman@gmail.com

Chat Notes (these need cleaning up - feel free!)

0:00:45 host joined
Sue breer: changed name 159.10.4.104
10:02:47
Kaye Swafford: changed name 65.191.93.121
Check In: Sue Breer in Chicago, work for large insurance co, rolling out an online commuity tool for the org. Have had tools in the past for HR. Tried to use for CoP of HR. Didn't work, no compelling reason to go to the community
Sue is taking a different tack and focusing on a project team, series of task. Updating a manual, for example. Creating a new underwriting project. Beginning and an end. Participants from across the business.
Coordinate work, documents, calendar and other types of capabilities. Sue requested the call to pick our brains.
Kaye: consultant, major client is a NPO in CA, Polly Klass foundation. Growing online presence, growth, looking for ways to build on that growth to keep online members and engaged, and engage them further. They want to volunteer and help achieve the found
Kaye: Distributing posters of missing children in your community, run by email. Have a Yahoo email list and sections of the website. Future programs will be more work involving running education programs, learning to use the tools for helping with child
K: Interested in kinds of software for a wide variety of community building and task accomplishment.
Tia: been working online for the past year, Brit living in America. Started our own group from a business network. To drive discussions and conversations about who is online and what sort of collaboration they want with different technologies. Monitoring
Tia: each of the bespoke platforms are being created by
Sossoon. One is biz community of 7000 and currently they have 6-7 platforms with different target market.
Florence Harvey in WA state, independent, most recent contract with online group that serves librarians. An electronic library for librarians. Big support piece is many many many opportunities to create their own. We set them up but they sustain them the
Florence: npo, teacher, librarian trainer. Interested in the conversation around how people are using online tools for corporate education.
Want to find out what the ROI
Difference between a volunteer community and a work based community. Voluntary vs required.
Using a course as an entree in to an online community.
The measurment of success was activity and who sustained the activity. That would determine what we continued.
The other piece - the struggle we were having, was the most action in these rooms was the staff who were planting questions or seeding the conversation.
If the staff all went away to a library conference (staff of the website /community) and were not as active, there was only a core group who showed up regulary to sustain the community.
(I did not take notes while I was talking)
IM, Skype as small, iterative back and forth
chat to document meetings
planning sessions, brainstorm, decision making sessions. Talk and chat at the same time so have a record, one person responsible for turning that into a record of the conversation and action gets taken
Also use chat and skype in the same way Small pieces. Getting the work done type of thing.
It really makes a difference with teh chat along with the converation.
Sue: one of the struggles people are facing to use online communities to brainstorm, post feedback on documents. People feel like unlike IM or email, once you put something out there iyour name is attached to it forver.
People are unomfortable.
Using Vignette - a BBS, can post documents and calendaring feature. use it to work together ot edit documents, spread conversation.
Tia: What I found in redesigning theplatform is exactly what you are saying When I introduce skype instrumentally, every week we have a skype, that enabled people to be much more human and say I don't want to put anything down that comes back at me. In th
1Sue; Maybe need to offer the opportunity to edit posts. Reinforce.
Look at the practice of how we make critiques to preserve people's sense of self
Wiki - letting go of control in terms of the text, but gaining a sense of freedom to focus on the text
create a space where the commenting is short term so the final product is what is saved, but the work in process is ephemeral
Sue: take that as implicit, but maybe need to make that explicit/ Hey this area is for brainstorming. Then sort them out.
Establish groundrules. Make it explicit. At any point in time you can invoke the brainstorming.
People can take back a comment and put it into brainstorming mode. Explicit rules to make people safe from their own silly ideas, they can contribute jmore (Kaye).
Kaye: 30 years in high tech overseas that translates to life online, you have to resolve misunderstanding immediately. There is no cultural sense that things will work out. Establish rules, say who you are and be explicit about your framework.
Sue: Majority of our employees are in Chicago. Most project teams are four from Chicago and one from Arizona. "We were working fine before you asked us to use this tool and so and so in AZ is fine not being involved.
We were fine up till now, why do we have to use the tool.
Tia: because there are those inhibitions, I've gone looking for new software that should enable us to decisionality.com
http://www.decisionality.com new and phenomenal software just found last week. Enable what youa re looking for. That metric, response. It is tying in what we are talking about. That I M as adjunct to gain confience over - check in, water cooler style, is
Have a look. Very amazing. The other one is myworldchat a lot of people don't have skpye or broadband. Enables another level of discussion and conversation. Blended. Some don't mind reading, some don't like it, email overwhelm. Enable people to get on boa
Myspace 40 million people got comfortable. I want to encourage people to translate that to other areas. In a corporate environment we are hierachically conditioned . You don't speak untill... Blog, post, wiki, article and people say, what is the differenc
Scott: my experience goes back a couple of years in al arge health insurance co in NY. We used collaborative tools, whole suite, attached together, to run meetings, deliver online learning and training, working with outsourcing partners in India. My back
Sue: I'm in the process of rolling out an online community tool to our org for project based work. use tool to coordinate, post documents, work collaboratively on documents. Did you have any experience of measuring success?
How do you measur the ROI?
Scott: I had the blessing of working for a visionary - we would build on succeses, and then get more money to buy more tools and work differently. We didn't measure. What I do rememberf. The piece that stuck in my craw. I was working witha peer in India t
Sue: trying, the leaders know the tool can be effective. Not looking for ROI on the tool itself Want to build a business case to have a head count to support people on tool. Training, helping teams get started, establishing groundrules.
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0787982806/ref=wl_it_dp/104-8783947-8117523?_encoding=UTF8&;coliid=I28I2ONQJSLZZC&v=glance&colid=3PDBT5ZSK7QX0
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0631231935/ref=wl_it_dp/104-8783947-8117523?_encoding=UTF8&;colid=3PDBT5ZSK7QX0&coliid=IX2NGUP5X40CF&v=glance&n=283155
Measure if people feel empowered to make decisions and impacting outcomes
trade off for discomfort of including new people and new ways of working: recognize the challenges, but see if theya re producing greater benefit than the old way
Empowerment of remote member
The company obviously made a decision to include the AZ guy that brings an experitise. Can you kmeasure that?: Built in as core piece of team
How to shine a light on core players
Monitor what happens when the new person shows up
What if we didn't use email for a week? Terrifies them
One of the cool things about IM. Come up against folks who are not strong writers. To have to respond in sentences keep them out of the conversation. Second piece is the time it takes to read through wonderful writers who give you pages.
The IM, I believe, even inside our conversations anywhere, the brainstorm. JUST contribute. Throw it out there. Say it when it needs to be said rather than waiting for you to read your email. Include the pieces of IM.
How are the teams evaluated on work. On time, done and on budget.
Functional team - boss and subords, a fwe more mea
No formal measurement of the online team.
What would happen if you started to do something like that now. Would you get feedback?
S: have sat down with leaders of teams. Helped them get started. Doing check in meetings 2-3 months later. What is making some teams more successful than others. Having a hard time relating that to support function.
Scott: go back tot he IT side. Get an estimation of software/hardware/budgets for help desk and the compare tha paltry amount for the kind of work you are doing so that the use of the tools can give a greater return on the investment. The cost of you is p
Kaye: what was involved in the purchase of the tools. Had a tool rolled out for a Cop. Failed misrably. But four functional teams used it so extensively and made a huge difference in their teams.
Looked at that, how much it cost (vendor supported) and internal IT had developed a sort of similar home grown tool. Collaboration tool is part of portal and KM tools.
A sense among decision makers that this online community stuff is good for getting work done. Willing to foot the bill for software. Now have to reveal justifaction for the support costs.
Need data around facilitation and support
Tia: we are talknig about this now. Talking to ICCF in Holland. Making a case for people who should assume roles Mediators. Faciltiator. Critical and integral to outcomes. There is a heartbeat, tempo that cojmes and goes. It is normal and percieved as a
we miss the subtle cues we use so much offlien in the online space
It is easier to fall off track online. To get pissed off and withdraw online. Someone to pick up, intuit the cues to keep the momentum.
People may not be proficient at articulating things.
Maybe an additional area of research is evaluation and functioning of distributed teams. For just this thing. the cues that something wrong don't show up. Value of a moderator. In addition tot he project manager. The moderator has more experience catching
A lot of people don't have that personal interface skills. Rather thanf ormal classes, coach, do it as moderator, informal wayhs.
Build competency: for online communications
Tia; book on how all organizations have major conversation. Scoble's And Levy__ " Naked Conversations. A blog is one way.
Organizations are learning to leverage collaborative technologies. Migratory and put the learning elsewhere.
(We should do a time check)
Scoble; and Israel: Naked Conversations
Be a force of neuturality in team
An outsider can sometimes do that more easily
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/047174719X/qid=1149087820/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-8783947-8117523?s=books&;v=glance&n=283155
Everyone put contact in wiki
for follow up
(Kay, Tia, Scott, Sue, nancy)
What are we left with? Sue doesn't know anyone in the role she is in who is not a consultant.
Sue, look at IBM's website. They have people like you.
Look at their research on the role of faciltiators in their IBM Jams
Wendy Kellog, Tom erickson
IBM resarch
They have dedicated facilitation teams
Best way to measure is for you to go away. :-)
Why are the project managers not taking on this role? Same as teams. They have the same issues of the teams. They don't know how to do it.
Pitch as a training role
Project based training. learn as you go
: This is only going to grow.
Building capacity
Any time you make a proposal for a project that is supposed to go away, it just says so much about your confidence that this is an imporant thing.
They may find even more value. They may be able to tell YOU what the value is.
Research value of experiment. What if...
Propose that this is a 2 year job
How will you grow the capability
Training others to do this
11:09:53 //Nancy//: Evaluate after 2 years
11:10:32 //Nancy//: Investment in the future
11:11:01 //Nancy//: position them for the future
11:11:37 //Nancy//: Ypu put them ahead of the grain. Predict the training for future software additions.
11:12:20 //Nancy//: Intrinsic when working with people driven software (TIA!!)
11:12:56 //Nancy//: Was this call useful?
11:13:23 //Nancy//: Sue: very very beneficial, hear other perpsecrtives, suggestions for ways to approach. Invigorating talking to others passionate about this. Nice to hear others are as excited as I am.
11:14:49 //Nancy//: Florence " valideted project driven concept, more fun and productve. We had a question. Sue's question. If just telling what doing, non faicilitated conversation. Byh he;piong solve an issue, be focused. What gave me power was when you honestly said youy
11:15:11 //Nancy//: Kaye: I agree, expressed ideas I did not know I had, heard wonderful ideas, gave mea borader way of thinkgin about my work. Appreciate it.
11:15:53 //Nancy//: Florence: when we were doing online CoPs in library world, when we got the most input was when someone asked for help with a problem. The CoP were creating their own proejcts. May be interseting to think what is spontaneious talking is project driven gene
11:16:07 //Nancy//: Sue; Thank you! Wish I had brought it up at the beginning of the horu.
11:16:30 //Nancy//: I love having these types of conversation and willing to continue via email, phone, on list. Get energy out of it and keep moving forward. Contact me info on wiki.
11:16:49 //Nancy//: Sue: Have created a lot of web based training, Florence. Ideas on that and can offer that.
11:17:24 //Nancy//: Tia: invite anyone to sign into www.amodus.org.uk to continue some of this discussion and share resources. Members there might have some more information for you Sue.
11:17:47
Kaye Swafford**: Thanks very much
11:18:03 //Nancy//: Thanks to everyone who played today!
11:18:14 //Nancy//: I'll post the phone call recording to the list and on the wiki
11:18:25 //Nancy//: And if anyone wants to clean up these notes, I can send you the file.