Collaboration and social projects are just like every other project. They have a start, a direction, and a set of pre-defined outcomes. There is planning, design, delivery, change management and support.
For all of this, however, collaboration and social projects can be surprisingly slippery and hard to define. Initiatives are often launched without a clear purpose or strategy, and too many result in little more than patchy and half-hearted adoption.
The element that sits at the heart of all these projects is what makes them challenging: people. When rolling out a new expense claim system, it is sufficient to get grudging use, particularly when all of the alternatives have been turned off.
For collaboration and social projects, however, the bar is set much higher. The workforce needs to be active participants, rather than just passive consumers. Methods of communication and ways of working must change to take full advantage of the new technologies.
This brings us back full circle to project planning. Because of the inherent challenges — and significant opportunities — of collaboration and social projects, project planning becomes paramount.
To assist with this, Step Two has released the free Pathway to Social. This provides a hands-on toolkit that can be used by teams to put shape around projects that have previously defied definition.
We hope that this toolkit will allow you to proceed with newfound confidence that your collaboration and social project will be a great success.
Introducing the ‘Pathway to Social’
The Pathway to Social toolkit consists of a set of hexagonal cards, which can be assembled in a multitude of ways.
The purpose of these cards is to provide you, your team and your stakeholders with a simple and approachable way of planning your upcoming collaboration or social project.
The cards are broken into three categories: technology, process and people. These are outlined in the sections below.
These cards cover the full gamut of tools and functionality, from discussion groups to ideation systems. They also address more fundamental aspects, such as ‘use out of the box functionality’ and ‘integration of social tools’.
Use these cards to narrow down what will be launched, and when.
These cards describe the activities that make up your project, from the initial business case through to capturing and sharing success stories.
They help to put shape around your project: will it be an early pilot to understand potential opportunities, or an organisation-wide launch of an entire collaboration suite?
Leaving the most important to last, people are at the heart of all collaboration and social projects. They may be the expected users, such as frontline staff sharing solutions to customer problems, or teams working together to deliver their projects.
These cards may also represent stakeholders in the project, such as senior leaders who need to model new behaviours, or IT and HR who are key decision-makers in choosing what to launch.
There are also a good number of blank cards, as your organisation may well have specific audience groups, such as engineers, doctors, insurance assessors or policy writers. You may also need to use the same audience twice: senior leaders may need to approve the business case, but could also be target end-users for the tools that are launched.
Obtain your copy of the free Pathway to Social, and get busy with a pair of scissors. You’ll then have a ready-to-use resource that can be used in project planning sessions, or in workshops with stakeholders.