5 Core Insights for Community Platforms Today

by Thomas Vander Wal in Enterprise, Social Lenses, Social Software, User Experience


The last two or three years have been "interesting" in the community platform space as things have been shifting quite a bit with regard to vendors. Most every organization I know is looking at changing their platform as their contract is up for renewal and they are looking around, or their vendor's state has changed. There are also an incredible number of organizations who are looking at getting their first platform up and running. Many are also looking at augmenting what they have or trying to unify what they offer or build a more unified environment.

It is important to remember just as organizations are social human environments that interact at different social scales simultaneously and with differing tasks and needs, the platforms that support them also focus on different segments and scales as well. A rare few handle multiple scales and segments in one platform or product. It is best to start with understanding one's organizations own needs for these then looking for solutions. These are 10,000 foot level views of things.


Just as there are different human social interaction models at different scales in organizations and different engagement types around knowledge and work, there are similar types for platforms and tools. Many platforms were built looking at one segment and optimizing toward that model (often not intentionally, but driven by customer need and expressed pain points).

There are four main types of social platform segments based on their social interaction models. They are not fully mutually exclusive of each other, but overlaps that are solid across with two or more strengths are rare. These types of interaction models are based on what the needs are for the organization.

Social Working Array


The first of these is collective interaction which is both a collective social model, in that it is people working together to build a whole perspective across their expertise and capabilities. But, it is also collective in the manner of activity in that they are collecting and curating information. Collective social tools are highly valuable for gathering information, but also for seeing the whole of an information space. These are common in competitive analysis, legal environments, M&A, early assessment of a product or process. The focus in the Collective Social Model is around a subject (a social object) where getting full (deep and broad) understanding is what is valued. Filling in gaps and organizing, through curation, is the working model. These spaces and their outputs can be fodder for knowledge bases, libraries for teams and groups, and the foundation for building something upon.

Cooperative Social Model

The Cooperative Social Model is based on social interactions where there is sharing, questions asked with responses, and interacting around what others are sharing and doing. This is the common model many people think of for teams and enterprise social networks, which are drastically different scales with different core needs, but the social interaction models are very similar. The Cooperative Social Model focusses on a subject with others sharing around that subject, but they are also interacting with each other to further understanding and to often build cohesion. A common interaction model can often be thought of as a call-and-response interaction where something is shared into a space (by a person or system notification) and others respond or take action upon it.

Organizations use these models in teams, small and large groups for community of practice or location / specialty interest sharing, community spaces (all inside an organization, as in an enterprise social network), and network model which spans beyond an organizations boundaries to interact with consultants, B2B, customers, clients, etc. Each of these sub-models operates at different scales (more on this in the next section) and each of these sub-models are different because the focus and scale and often aren't all that interchangeable the platforms often only work well with one of these levels well and not across more than one.


Collaboration for the last 20 plus years has often been the blanket for social platforms where people interact with others around work or help each other. But, the older understanding and framing is around bringing different ideas and approaches together into one space where the differences are negotiated and mitigated into one cohesive path forward. The management of the background for what is negotiated and mitigated is an essential component as it capturing the reasoning for the way forward on each point. Most often the path forward isn't the final path forward, and all the work researching the paths not chosen have value when there is the inevitable need to iterate and change course (slightly or drastically). Quite often the greatest value isn't what is captured around what you chose, but in what is captured around what you didn't choose. A decent level of capturing of information and understanding with what wasn't chosen save large amounts of time when iterating or course-correcting. Decent level of capturing background can make a course correction a couple to a few weeks rather than months of going back to the starting point again. There is gold in the capturing what isn't chosen today and why.


The last of these segments is Communication. Communication platforms not only support people interacting with each other, but supporting an activity stream for services sharing status, insights, and alerts where it is relatively easy to follow and interact with others around it. Traditionally this has been email for people communicating and as the activity stream. But the downsides of email with its lack of ease of onboarding someone to a conversation and its history, or to status is problematic. The modern model of "point and don't attach" many organizations adopted in the past 10 to 12 years for files and objects is much cleaner in social communication channels.

The communication service is often the intersection and jumping off point to other services and platforms. People can interact in the service around a subject, but notification of a conversation in another platform can also surface in the communication channel and respond there or respond back in the other service.

Communications often support teams well and their distinct needs (tasks, status, process & planning, progress, calendar, team fit, shared resources (files, etc.), communication, and decisions) either in the platform or through notifications from services that handle these needs. A good communication platform integrated well, shouldn't be overwhelming and can provide a good view across a team's activity, state, and needs along with the means to initiate responses.

Good communication platforms are invaluable. They are more than chat services and notification activity streams. They should integrate well and provide the means to highlight was is needed for attention across disparate avenues, but also should provide the means to interact in the comms service as well as jump out to another platform easily and support an easy means to be a supportive layer across many endpoints.


As mentioned above, understanding the scale of social segments is desperately needed before assessing a platform. Understanding scale is one element of social platforms that is often overlooked and becomes problematic if the fit isn't there. A service focussed at large scale social interactions for a community or network level social interaction often doesn't handle the smaller scale social needs well.

The smaller level social segments are: Collective, Teams (and sometimes small groups in Cooperative), and Collaboration. Each of these segments work best with groups of 8 to 12 or fewer, but sometimes up to about 25 people at maximum.

Where things sometimes get a little complicated is with groups and the larger scale platforms. Much of the social interaction in larger scale platforms is in groups (large and small), but a good group platform may not work well for community nor network scale interactions. Community (mostly inside an organization or a bounded community of practice) and Network scale capabilities are categorized as such because of their global capabilities. These capabilities are: announcements (which often can be pushed into commutations platforms), identity and authentication models for access and permissions for roles, search, cross-pollination, and ability to integrate with teams for their ability to provide support or get support.


An area that doesn't get the focus it should nor the understanding it needs is the user experience. This isn't just the ability to brand and modify the UI with colors and decoration, but the ease of use and fit for the user's mental model.

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A key focus for social platforms is people interacting with people through a platform and often interacting around a shared object. Often the platform gets in the way of these people-to-people interactions. But, many systems don't quite get to enabling clean interconnections and these lead to limitations and confusion, which shouldn't be introduced.

The platform should have a solid UX and social interaction design team working on it full-time and their own leadership who has depth and experience with social interaction design. I've been seeing some platforms that have been allowing the community managers to select and optimize their user experience, which is something that has been a long time coming. The ability to have a simple interface and simple interaction model as a user gets started is essential, but enabling more complicated experience that support more advanced user's needs is something that is really beneficial.

Interconnection and Interoperability

One of the big insights from organizations is that those who have a good percentage using and relying on their social platforms is they have more than one. Often for many organizations at scale there are more than one team tool or platform in use. They may have and community platform for their communities of practice, some different tools and platforms used at the team level, and recently a communication platform all integrated to some degree or another.

Over the last 12 to 20 years one of the big changes has been the capability to interconnect and interoperate different systems and platforms. Many vendors touted their capability to pull information into their system easy from other platforms, but it was rare for them to open their capabilities to others. The last 10 years or so that too has shifted with platforms not only opening their APIs for others to read and use, but also new platforms and new versions of platforms start with APIs and build their platforms out from there.

While there is a lot of proclaiming kumbaya, we all get along, mantras the ability to truly interconnect and interoperate across and between platforms can be much more muddled. Spending time with vendors showing what they can easily share out in APIs and streams, what takes more work, and what is really difficult if not impossible is something worth spending time on. This will pay off when working to connect a communication platform and various team platforms together. It is also worth the time to look at integration enabling services like Zapier and Microsoft's Flow to see what capabilities are out there for services and platforms you may have interest in, but also see what others are doing.

Exit Strategy

Related to open APIs and open data models for interconnection and interoperability is using similar and more when the time comes to move on from a platform. Very few people think about this in the early stages of product selection or at all. The last year or two this subject has been coming up a lot as the landscape for social platforms for organizations change. As people and organizations find value in having social capabilities in the organization they may realize they have changed as an organization and need a different solution, they realize their platform is not a great fit, or their platform or service has changed requiring the need to move to another option.

It is incredibly important to think about how data, conversations, knowledge, history, etc. can be exported out of a system before they purchase the system. There are some organizations that run failover systems for some or all of their core interactions, while others test their archives and exports for continuity exercises should their main platform cease to function or they have a short window to transition.

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Often an added benefit of this is these platforms often have better integration, improved capability for advanced analytics (few platforms have analytics that meet mature needs), and solid up-time through redundancy and failover systems.


These five core areas to consider are far from a full list of areas to focus on, but they are areas that should be on your list for product selection, or your regular product review cycles (every quarter or six months is a good time to take a look around and see what has changed and what your organizations next possibility could be).

Other areas that are highly important include: Security, great customer support, great uptime (for the platform and all of its sub-services), mobile use (including integration into mobile device management environments), accessibility, great admin tools with ease of use (a great test of solid user experience is looking at admin tools and services and how well they are done), failover plans, set integration native in the system (file / document storage is one of the most common), and frequency of product updates (incremental and major).



by Thomas Vander Wal in Community, Design, Enterprise, Social Software, Social Lenses, Technology

I started my trek designing, developing, and managing social / collaboration platforms in 1996. Over those years I've been part of a lot of different projects, development of platforms, long term and short term strategy and planning with vendors in the space, and in recent years back helping design, and product management (from an advisory role and mentoring). I have also been framing product needs and flows for new systems (either plugging into existing social platforms for new major releases, adding these capabilities into existing platforms with distinctly different focus to augment them where other existing services can't fit, and / or building platforms from scratch). I have also been continuing to advising organizations by helping them understand their needs better and problem sets they are trying to resolve before they get into the selection process, so to best fit product to their actual needs.

The focus of this piece is for organizations looking at social and / or collaboration platforms or services for internal and / or external uses. This is to help provide some understanding when considering a build versus buy consideration, but also some background on platform and services design and development

Lessons Learned

The lessons learned aren't new lessons learned for me, but I'm finding they are still relevant and haven't shifted all that much in the last 7 to 10 years.

Build vs. Buy

The build versus buy question is oddly still asked. I had figured about 15 years ago that by 2010 organizations would mostly just consider buying a service or platform to use. Many organizations still are considering building, as social and collaboration seems easy. But,nearly always you want to buy a service or platform rather than building.

Why? Time. This is comparison is for getting things up and running and working smoothly at a somewhat foundational level.

On average, after going through needs assessment and right fitting a purchase decision a service or platform can be up and running optimally in around 9 months, with the usual range being 6 to 18 months. That is getting the service running, getting test groups in the service, optimizing and iterating the service, modifying the design and UI to meet needs, building taxonomies that work, getting onboarding created and honed, work through some lasting workflows based on needs, and getting community managers comfortable working with the service and patterns honed for the cultures they are working with. Most services and platforms can be up running and functional in 48 hours for very basic functions, usable in 2 weeks, working through initial groups and integrations in 3 to 6 months, and iterations and scale often span the 3 months to 18 month difference.

If you are building your own it is SUB旋风免费加速器 on average to get something up and running and working smoothly. This 2 to 3 years is the comparison to the 9 month mark. Many well funded product development attempts are getting to feature parity with something they could buy in that 2 to 3 year span.


There a few reasons to go down the longer and more painful build path: 1) There isn't a product that remotely covers the complexities you are experiencing and have documented in your needs assessment (more than likely a good chunk of what you need to build can be bought); 2) The identity model and adaptive needs aren't supported by existing offerings (this is one of common reasons as identity models with adaptive use on most platforms are limited - most often limited on the free or bundled services - and in many platforms rather stiff and restrictive); 3) You are building or integrating a large collection of services that don't interconnect well and collaboration, social interactions, communication in and around them is essential; 4) The social components are internal to another platform you own and have built end-to-end. There are a few other edge cases to build rather than buy, but these four are the most common of the rare cases where buidling makes sense.

If building what is needed? The most important things needed is teams who have done this before a few times (yes not a team as this isn't a light effort). Building social platforms is hard and complex, it isn't adding commenting to content on an existing site, nor building a simple messaging system, but dealing with adaptive systems that will need to embrace and support many cultures and sub-cultures that intersect with their different mental models. See the roles needed in Team Roles Needed for Social Software Projects. If you have those covered, particularly the social sciences, and with people with serious depth on these, not just watched TED Talks, nor read light blog posts, nor the TLDR versions, but actually had years doing this on top of serious depth of understanding, then you may be ready.

How Can This Still Be So Lengthy?

Social software is hard and complex, which is the simple answer. There is a lot to build and account for. I've watched and worked with teams who have built a few platforms for social and collaboration in the past and sold them off. They have started anew and getting to a good platform with basic feature parity with some new functionality to move things forward it has been 2 years at a minimum.

In the past couple of years there have been quite a few new services surfacing that have design and development teams with nearly all members having 5 to 10 years of prior experience building and managing social platforms and in 6 to 9 months they have something decent, yet still a clumsy beta. The product isn't open to everybody. It normally goes through heavy iterations and most of them shut everything off for a few months for rebuilds and reopen beta again. A decently good and useable service and platform often hits that mark at the 2 year point, if not farther out.

Another reason it takes time is the adapting to changes and norms of use. Most organizations are looking at systems that will be relatively easy to understand for their employees and or customers so they spend minimal amount of time training and onboarding. The interaction patterns that are common and norms are rather fluid and shift a little or a lot every 9 months to 18 months or so. Patterns that were fine at the product development start, may have changed quite a bit in a year.

Social Interaction Design / User Experience is Complex

A few years back I framed out 20 social roles for different interaction model roles people fall into in social platforms / services. When I started talking about it vendors responded that they were lucky if they had two: User and Admin. In the past 6 years things have changed a little for vendors as they are trying to embrace more social roles. But, for community managers they are commonly working with 6 to 12 different roles and or personas, which has vendors working with a broad set of personas, sometimes beyond 15 (the social role is just one element of a persona and it is common in reality to have people with 4 or 6 different social roles they embrace across a few groups in a community or network.

Having those designing and developing a platform working from this understandings helps smooth some of the complexity. But, having solid familiarity with this diversity has become essential if building a service or platform that is expected to work broadly, which is what social platforms do.

The Wrap

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by Thomas Vander Wal in Community, sub免费网络加速器, Enterprise, Knowledge Management, Refindability, Social Software, Social Lenses, Technology, sub免费网络加速器, sxd

I have a lot of hands-on designing, developing, and managing of social / collaborative platforms since 1996 and regularly advise product makers, vendors, and buyers around right fitting and understanding then working on solving problems they may have. One of the things that was regularly surfacing around 2007 as enterprise social platforms were getting taken seriously. But tool selection and roll out of them was often bumpy at best as there was a lack of the breadth of understanding around many services. This was the case with many vendors, but also really much the case on the customer side of things. When working through discovery of the problems that customers were having, usually in the “sub免费网络加速器下载百度云”, many of the issues correlated to the lack of understanding the breadth of perspectives important to social and collaborative work and environments.

Looking at situations where products were right fits gave insight into what works well. The success factors surfaced where vendors with well rounded products that were correct fits for certain customers [commercial social platforms that understand social interactions at various scales and get their products right for specific users] and roll outs that have rather solid adoption. These all had breadth and depth of understanding. Looking at what helped them be successful it wasn’t one or two things, nor five, it was they had most of 14 different roles with roles in their selection, development, strategy, planning, launch, and running of their offering covered.

If you wanted to have success it became clear that having breadth and depth with these 14 roles would provide a good team that could help work through many, if not all the difficult struggles most social software / services rollouts and programs running face at one point or another. When looking across many of the projects I worked with in the One Year Club category (or colleagues who were working with programs that needed help) most of the efforts didn’t have the 14 roles covered. Most had 2 to 4 roles covered at best.

This gap was glaringly apparent when large parts of a rollout were in the custom build model, much like many organizations were struggling with around Microsoft SharePoint or other build your own solution platforms. Organizations weren’t buying finished products, but a platform that focussed on heavy customization (often with difficulty getting what they hope to do working well). Part was what came out of the box from SharePoint was a bit rough (3rd party solutions like Newsgator/Sitrion were quick ways to get things working well for social and collaboration needs in SharePoint with little hassle). What the teams working on SharePoint were lacking were 10 to 12 roles that they desperately needed for depth of understanding around how humans are social, how things function, ease of use in contexts, and other essential needs.

Moneyball of Social Software Teams

This breaks down the 14 roles at a somewhat high level. At times myself and others have called this the Moneyball system of social software. In baseball, which Moneyball focussed on, they focussed on what made the Oakland Athletics team with a low budget able to compete with large budget teams. Big budget teams focussed on home runs and star pitching along with other simple understandings of analysis. What the Oakland Athletics did was look at what makes a winning team and how to measure things based on outcomes by understanding things more broadly and deeply.

What I ran into was similar, though understanding the roles and needs to have a solid well rounded social software team, so to get solid successful results. Most solutions were rolled out with 2 to 5 roles with depth, but what are the other factors that also have deep value and because they were missing had a less than positive impact? Over the last 6 years or more I’ve shared this list of 14 in workshops and with long engagement clients (but at a deeper level), but also help them cover the ground across a few of them where I have that depth and breadth (from 20 years of experience with social software and formal learning).

One last thing to realize with this list, particularly if you are on the customer side, is you may not have these skills and roles, but your software or service provider cover some you are missing or help narrow the gaps for roles missing.

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IT Development

IT development is usually the one role that social software rollouts have covered. The development portion and getting the code right is often not an issue. This role covers development, integrations, stability, and upgrades / patches.

Content management

Content managers are incredibly helpful not only with content management practices and needs, but could also cover content strategy needs as well (if content strategy isn’t there working with communication specialist helps close this need). Most social environments have professionally created content that are part of their offerings as blogs or other more planned content models. But, content also surfaces out of conversations and cooperative activities in communities and groups. This content can be repurposed as it is or honed for other targeted and / or broad uses. Content managers also often works with document management and taxonomy roles for ease of finding and helping keep content well structured and easily found.

Community management

The community manager is a role that some organizations and services understand the need for to be successful. Others have yet to understand the need for this yet. Having a solid community manager who can help set the tone and culture of the community and groups, as well as help set good skills and practices in place for members of the social offering is a great asset. The community manager is the guide, host, and facilitator, but often has good depth working with difficult situations and turning them into very good outcomes. Good community managers are also adept at seeing needs and gaps in tools and services that need attention. A good community manager can’t fix a tool that isn’t a good fit for an organization, but can help get through that state to one that is a better fit, then help the better fit thrive.


Solid communications management folks help with finding solid messages and well created content into a social environment. But, from a social perspective they also should have strength seeing content from users in the social environment that needs attention (as it is positive and needs more exposure, or it is negative and needs a calm way handling of it). Understanding the life cycles of content and workflows around finding, creating, honing, and right fitting content and messages shared from the organization as well as from the users is powerful and helps bring life to the social environment. Setting good content guidelines is another way the communication management role contribute to social environment success.


User experience design is essential and has long been overlooked in enterprise until lately, as the focus services being designed for use and ease of use weren’t considered as needed when you could just send people to hours of training. But, with social offerings there are a lot of diverse elements that people are having to work through, besides how to get something done in a platforms or service. Good usable design with regular user research (prior to taking steps, as well as while designing potential options, and honing what is in place) helps take the rough edges off that get in the way of people using as well as understanding what a service does, and can do.

Social interaction design

General UX design isn’t enough with social platforms as there are a lot of interactions with the service and system, which is used to interact with others (which is difficult for many on its own). Understanding the design of social interactions (what is clicked and then what happens after it) so that the tools aren’t getting in the way, but also some of the rough edges of human social interactions are also eased is badly needed. There are broad options for buttons, forms, profiles, reactions, likes, etc. and social interactions designers work to understand what are the best fits for the contexts at hand and what the impacts will likely be with distinct user groups. User testing around social is a little different from general user testing as the situation requires working with a diversity of end points (people) at either end of what is put in place that need to be understood. Testing also needs to include various depth of use and maturity with the service. These help find a good fit in the social interaction design that works well.

Data analyst

Data analysts are essential to help understand benchmarks prior to starting down the path with social offerings, but also are needed to dig into the data to see how people are and aren’t using the services. Many platforms have decent data analysis, but it only scratches the surface and much better analysis is needed; particularly in larger solutions, more mature use environments, scaling, as well as those that have a diverse user segmentation. Social environments change drastically as they grow and act differently with more diversity as they scale. Data analysts should have good understanding of Social Network Analysis (SNA) / Organizational Network Analysis (ONA as well as many social analytics capabilities for seeing diversity, clustering, social scaling changes, etc. Having a solid data analyst helping with capturing the data that is needed, keeping privacy in mind, and slicing and making sense of the data with clarity has a big impact with what deeply matters in early stages and as use scales and matures.

Change management

Change management is not only essential for preparing organizations and people for a new service and offering, but deeply needed for the changes that come along with using these services. Digital social environments help enable normal networked social patterns that are well covered in Wirearchy as the shifts in ease of connecting in a digitally enabled networked environment can be disruptive. This is mostly in a positive way, but is not always perceived as positive if it is not known the changes may be coming. Helping people understand what the new services do and the needed mental models for working in this way are areas change managers can help with, as well as work with others around legal and compliance issues that need consideration.

Document management

Document management, with a solid understanding of social environments, helps with working through how to archive valuable content and conversations, but also how to ease finding and connecting to systems of record from inside a social offering. This connection needs to work in both directions, one is surfacing documents and resourceswell (within permissions guidelines, compliance, and connecting to the right / latest version), but also working out how to show the document or record is being discussed and used. This use activity around a record can be a valuable indicator that it may be getting updated, or caveats have surfaced that are valuable to all who view and need the record.

Social scientists (ethnographer, urban planner, sociologist, etc.)

The social scientists are often overlooked, but should be one of the first roles included. Social scientist, particularly those who have graduate school level of work, see social environments differently than most who don’t have that background (this may be a personal bias, but talking with others with similar background the “how was this essential understanding not seen” is a common phrase in reviewing social offerings). Social environments are under constant change and morph as (sub-)cultures intersect and social environments scale. The questions asked by social scientists, along with framings with models around how humans interact, while watching for conflict and the patterns that surface in constant change and are not seen are nothing less than essential. One of the common downfalls with social platforms is around they often don’t allow people to be social like humans are social. There is no better way to keep an eye out for that to mitigate for it, but also understand how humans are social at various scales than having social scientists involved.


Taxonomies are essential for easily grouping information, conversations, and content and for helping people find relevant and related matter. But, language and mental models for what things are called and are related to are often far more diverse and emergent than taxonomies allow for, so embracing folksonomy is also essential for social environments. Having a taxonomist involved will help set categories and information structures in place that will enable the capability for solid finding and refinding. If that taxonomist also embraces folksonomies (and the service has the foundation for it) the ability to have emergent taxonomies that take less work to keep up to date than traditional taxonomies can happen. Also embracing folksonomy helps new ideas and mental models (these emerge through new members, training, cultural shifts, etc.) be included in the ease of finding and grouping of findable and refindable information.

Knowledge management

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With all of the conversation, content, information, and knowledge created, shared, and pointed to it doesn’t matter much if it can’t be found. Part of it getting found is helped by content managers and taxonomists / folksonomists, but search needs to be solid as well. Most platforms have search built in to their offerings, but evaluating if that search will suffice at various scales will need a search specialist. But, search in platforms is also often tied to other search systems and how those integrate to find, hold onto, and surface information, content, and resources takes solid search specialists to get right. A lot of information and resources inside an organization is difficult to find (not by intent, but it is trapped in systems that aren’t searched easily nor integrated well) and social environments often point to these resources and frame what is there, which enables that content and resource surface in searches. Your whole organizations gets smarter and has more available resources if the social environment and search is well matched.

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How to Fill These Roles

Yes, 14 roles isn’t something that is easy to fill. But, this doesn’t need to be 14 different people. By knowing what to look for a lot of roles can be found and covered by one individual. Knowing what you need, often at a little deeper level than the high level outlined here, and how it fits in to the team can help shape a team of 5 or 6 people, or who can move in and out of the team at various times to help provide the breadth and depth needed.

Also, many of these roles can be and are covered by vendors who are doing things well. As walked through in The One Social Way or Not to Doing Social Really Well in Enterprise user research and other skills are being covered on the product side. Understanding from vendors how they test with users (what types of users - domain, roles, skills, etc.), how they understand social models and social scaling, build taxonomies or enable co-existing folksonomy for emergent taxonomy, enable search and integrate with existing search, have open models for data analysis, etc. can help see what roles are still needed.

Many of these roles (even if they are covered on the vendor side) are really good to have in the evaluation and selection process as well, so having these roles in a review and strategy team up front is a really good idea as well.

These roles also can be filled by integrators. This is rather rare these days, with the exception of a few small boutiques who have approached their offerings for integration and consulting by filling gaps they regularly saw as well. Many integrators are strong on the technical side and today often have good general UX people, change managers, and search integrators, but other roles with more depth around social science and social interaction design is not a focus most have had nor have considered.

Between vendors, good integrators, consultants, strategists, and in-house resources and hires it shouldn’t be that difficult to get the 14 roles covered in one way or another now that you know to look for them.


Diversity of Enterprise Social Tools

by Thomas Vander Wal in Sub加速器下载安装, Enterprise, Knowledge Management, Social Software, Social Lenses, sxd

One constant in the 20 years I've been working in and around organizations and their social platforms is lack of understanding of the diversity of tool types. Today that lack of understanding of the diversity continues, but the diversity and the dimensions in that diversity have increased. Since 2004 I've run workshops, given talks, written about this diversity and worked with a lot of organizations (and vendors) to better understand this diversity.

Most organizations learn about the complexity and diversity the hard way, when they realize one size doesn't fit all and trying to force that makes a mess. This starts a path of discovery, which starts with realization they need far better understanding.

This is a very high level breakdown of that tip of that understanding (features and functionality stated are not exhaustive, but used here to validate the differences). Over the years I have modified the names of the components in the diverse offerings based on need. Each of these components have different features and functionality along with different social interaction design models that map to the needs they are addressing.


The Collective social tools focus on gathering information and knowledge with an aim of being complete and having a full understanding. It is a tool type important for law firms, research and development, competitive assessment, brainstorming, general research, and more. Those people whom are participating are not necessarily focussed on others, but on capturing information and knowledge with a focus on completeness.

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The Cooperative (formerly I labelled this as community and then as team / group / community / network stack) focusses on sharing. This type of service is often considered "social" generically. The Group and Community levels are often the focus when talking about Enterprise Social Network (ESN) class of social offering. Across the cooperative services sharing, discussion, and interacting with others are the focus. But, there are different features and functionality and social interaction models at the different scales within the cooperative service dimension.


The Team services in the Cooperative dimension focus on teams that are working together on a project. The Team services focus on relatively small groups up to around 15 or so members. The people know each other, or are getting to know each other, so have some comfort working out loud. Team focussed service include focus on tasks, responsibilities, progress, status, calendar, etc. in addition to sharing ideas, work, voting, and other common social interactions.

Many organizations try running teams in tools and services focussed on Group and Community dimensions, but find that is a really difficult fit as they are missing the core elements needed to for teams. Team focussed service are abundant and many organizations have more than one service focussed on Teams to fit diverse team work models in organizations. Team tools are also not intended to scale to large groups of people interacting and lack of features and functionality for larger scales are often not included.


Group focussed services are aimed at subject focussed discussions and sharing of information and knowledge. Group services are often focussed to serve a few hundred or more in group spaces. Threaded discussions are common as well as the ability to tag within and sometimes across spaces.

Groups services also often focus on networked individuals and being able to follow not only subjects, but people. Group services are often used with a focus on knowledge and information capture and reuse.


Community focussed services are aimed at scaling across an organization. Often service that focus here talk about these services as social intranets. Sharing of information in work related structures spaces and groups is the focus. Community services focus on keeping information up to date and current.

Community services tend to have some reflection of organizational structure and traditional departments (HR, product, sales, etc.) as well as subject focussed areas, like the Group services offer. Community services have broader reach, but often also have governance and compliance capabilities built-in or easy add-on services.


The Network scale focusses not only to encompass everybody in an organization, but also service as a facility for working with trusted partners (consultants, contractors, business partners, and even customers). The working beyond the boundaries of the organization easily and how those relationships are set with boundaries of shared participation are a common focus.

The scaling for Network focussed services is a big focus. They can be tailored to follow supply chain and have open communication / sharing of events and discussion in-line with these services. Often the configurations can be broad, but often they don't do everything well, particularly where Teams and Group scale services focus. Permissions, federated spaces (more than one segment can own what is within a space).

Real Collaboration

Real Collaboration is where conflict, criticism, and diverse options worked through are common and required to get resolution. While other dimensions are focussed many views and breadth as a final result, the final result of collaboration is one output from the collaborative work of many. These services focus on working together openly in the creation, decision making, and have the capability to enable negotiation, mitigation, and decision capturing. Capturing decisions (what options are moving forward and what isn't selected) are essential in organizations that want to move quickly, intelligently, and efficiently. Often the decision of options not chosen and why are more valuable down the road that the what is selected as things change over time and knowing the other options and the reasoning for not selecting them can greatly reduce transition and iteration time to better hone a solution to changing realities.

Cooperation and Collaboration are not often clear, but Cooperation has many people working together in roles that coordinate efforts as the result of teams and other levels. But, Collaboration is work, ideas, approaches, and perspectives overlapping and need to be worked out which of them works best as part of the whole.

Sadly, this is a term used for many products, but the services do not remotely offer features and functionality that enable real collaborative creation, editing, nor working through and capturing all decision points.


This past year or two I went back to including Communication services (particularly open node where the communication is open to see over time, not closed node as in email where new participants to a group have not background of history not salient junctures) as they have become a category that stands alone again. General communication services can be targeted at teams, groups, or other larger scales, but are most common with smaller scale environments.

These services are the conversational glue around and between the different services. They can connect the various services and act as and umbrella for the other services as an aggregation point for streams to monitor, search, filter, and converse back into other services. Communication services focus on the conversation between individuals and groups in an open manner, but also serve as an alert system for what is going on inside other services.


This break down of the diversity into smaller actual dimensions, which may not have clear lines of distinction at time, is essential to understand. Focussing on getting the fit right for an organization requires understanding their gaps, needs, and problems they are hoping to address first (that often doesn't happen first as getting a poorly fit tool often is a good driver to understand values derived and where there are areas that must be addressed) before selecting and framing what a collection of tools that fit the diverse needs would look like.

This is just one of The Lenses in my Social Lenses workshop for clients and in groups (online and off). I will be offering a paid online workshop in the near future if you would like to learn more.


Slack is more than chat: Why it is the trojan horse to better enterprise

by Thomas Vander Wal in Access to Info, Applications, Enterprise, Knowledge Management, Local InfoCloud, Portability, Refindability, Social Software, sxd, Tools, User Experience, Technology

During the last couple of years, since Slack has been publicly available, it has taken off like wildfire. To many it is "just a chat service", which gets derided and belittled like most chat services do. This is until they find that chat has not only a place in organizations it has lasting value in organizations, proven out over the last 5 to 8 years (if not longer). Slack, much like prior chat services, do really well in organizations. As a "presence service" (is the person at their desk or available) and a means to ask a quick question or have a quick discussion (synchronously or asynchronously). Over the last 5 to 8 years chat and messaging services took off in organizations. This is not they took off and became popular in pockets of organizations, but have become standard tools everywhere. Messaging not only became the norm, but in many (if not most) organization the messaging platform is second most used service behind email (often Outlook) that is centrally supplied and supported (I know a few organizations where messaging is used more than email and is their most used application / service).

If the email client is Outlook, more than likely the messaging service has been Lync (now rebranding to Skype for Business). The downside to Lync isn't that it is used heavily, but it isn't supported well enough with archiving and with solid search capability. Many IT shops say all the messaging (even if just text based) would eat loads of space to store it. It is a capacity problem in IT's perspective, which when broken down on a per person level it is less than a few gigs of text per year that are created from active users. The last few years Lync has been used heavily for internal voice and video (where allowed) messaging, which not only eats storage at a faster rate, but voice search is still not commercially available with good enough accuracy at a low enough price to be viable for voice in practice. The last issue has little to do with capacity, but is compliance focussed and storing of messages isn't seen as compatible with the organization's policies, which means many of their other knowledge capture capabilities are likely crippled to some degree as well. But, for organizations that believe storing messages and supplying really solid search is limited by capacity constraints a tool like Slack becomes the organization's dream.


Well, Slack didn't become popular (these days try and find an organization that isn't using Slack in it somewhere and paying to use it) because it was just another messaging service. There are loads of chat and messaging services for business and enterprise, like HipChat (the largest most similar product), Lync / Skype for Business, Jabber based services, or other less capable services that were developed by those who misbelieve chat is just simple and easy to make. What has Slack standing out is (similar to HipChat) syncing across all platforms, from your pocket, to your desk, or on your coffee table / sofa. But, unlike HipChat, Slack stood out for being not only easy to use, but fun to use. Part of this is the helpful Slackbot that guides users and provides assistance with a playful, yet helpful personality (personality that fits a service and need is incredibly helpful with bots is it help discern with service and bot you are interacting with in our lovely human brains) as well as the myriad of other bots that are available to add in.


But, this isn't the whole reason Slack is being used, spreading widely, and relatively quickly. Slack is more than chat, which can be used quickly to interact with others and keep information out of email. But, Slack and its personality(ies) address some most acute pain points that are in every organization: Knowledge capture and retrieval; Search; and Interoperability / integration. All three of these organizational maladies not only have long been problematic most of the "solutions" for them over the years suck (to put it politely) for the people using them.

It is important to keep in mind Slack is founded and built by game developers who focus on creating fun and engaging environments. They deeply get staying away from creating pain points for customers / users, as well as reducing them - this isn’t the clicksperts gamification, it is real game mechanics and game design models / theory at work.

Knowledge capture and retrieval

Email has for more than a decade or two been known as the death bed for knowledge in organizations where things are captured and shared are never to be seen again. Yes, think of the cesspit that is email (we've known this problem for 20+ years) with each email little envelope not as that nice friendly symbol but as a tombstone for the dead / never to be live again knowledge within it. It is now you have got the reality of the last 20 plus years. But, more open systems that allow for capturing, sharing, and most importantly searching have really good value to move things forward.

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Services that capture conversation and communication in open, historically captured, and addressable spaces have long been far more valuable than email. This value is replicated often with the ever present situation of bring somebody new into the team, project, and / or conversation. The context and history is there to be seen, the important items can be marked or pinned in a manner so they stand out as well as getting context around those items in their original context. Getting a new person conversant and in the flow of things (as well as not out of the loop in conversations that are current) is incredibly valuable when trying to get things done and done well.

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Good search (yes, you read that right)

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Most enterprise search provides success in only 4 of 5 attempts (this adds up to being roughly $375 of cost for unproductive / counter productive time per employee per year when looking at it through an extremely conservative lens (others estimate 4 to 10 times this cost per employee per year). Just the value of improved search, as well as bringing information into context and having it searchable ads greater value from moving the dark matter into the searchable light.

Search in Slack is most often better than the enterprise search that people use across their organization. But, it also is often better than the search that is built into various platforms that are used in and across the organization, including enterprise social networks (some exceptions to this include KnoweldgePlaza, which has really good search within it, as that is a large part its purpose). This improvement in search finds what is needed and the search result surfacing the item in context is really special. Slack has also designed this really well, which adds to the ease of use and enjoyment.

Integration and Interoperability (What? Really?)

Another big pain point in organizations is integration and interoperability. There are disparate systems which many people have to pay attention to metrics, messages / alerts, and charts from various services across them, which is not efficient and rarely is there an integrated view (nor a means to interact across different systems from one interface). But, rarely is there a means to search within and across the services to do quick comparisons or easily bring those things into a more unified view. Often IT has the integrations far down on their prioritized to do list or in the "can not be done category" for reasons of feasibility or difficulty. But, one of the beauties of Slack is it integrates with other services relatively easily through a variety of methods (many can be done in a day or two in side-project time), if there is access to an API or even a means to see a screen so it can be parsed for values and meaning. Groups have been able to pull together their own aggregated and searchable views (sometimes in their own channel to view / review and search within or as a system with an identity that chats and shares things out as a bot). The solution that is cobbled together in side-project time to meet the needs of employees meets their jobs to get done and need that access requirements, which make Slack far quite efficient and usable. While IT has their requests slowly (if that) moving through the prioritization process, employees have been able to drastically reduce the pain points that nudge them to consider looking employment opportunities that value their getting work done.

Sane payment models

One of the last, often overlooked, elements goes completely against the trend of "evil" enterprise service payment models of paying for seats (used or unused). This model is loved by nearly all enterprise software vendors (or their boards - somebody has to love it as it surely isn't the customers who know they are being taken for a ride).

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Yet, what really makes Slack's payment model special and different is you only pay for accounts used that month. (Did I hear a collective "WHAT?") Yes, you don't pay for the number of prospective seats nor tied into long contracts that go beyond the needed time span. Ever try to get a reduction in seats paid for after a few months when you have realized only 60% of the seats paid for are used and that doesn't look like it will shift over the next 18 to 30 months of the life of the lock-in? Slack understands that pain and opted to not partake in that model of pain.

In short Slack reduces pain and increases efficiency and value

So, the reasons why Slack seems to be at the tip of many business and enterprise tongues (as an inquiry or recommendation) is focussing on what is delivered, its ease, and the value people get.

Slack aims at delivering a usable (and friendly) service as a means to communicate to get and share information and knowledge. But, in doing this also knocks out some nasty pains people in organizations really don't like and have long wanted resolved. Slack is basically the un-enterprise solution as it focusses on being easy to use, reduces pain points, and tries to be friendly. Yes, this is software for the enterprise, or for the parts that don't relish pain.


Um, no. Slack is far from perfect. It isn't trying to be everything. So, you are wondering what are the pain points or limitations?

Slack isn't going to scale to meet your hundreds or thousands of employees needs today

Slack works relatively well up to a few hundred people (there are many hundreds using in one installation (instances well over a thousand as well), but that isn't optimal). And even with keeping an installation under a couple hundred people it is still going to be a bit noisy. Many of these installations with more than 100 people in them use the channels for creating smaller groups / teams / projects / targeted conversations.

While improvements are need to get to solid filtering, this does help so important things don't get missed, or conversations that could use a person's input gets their attention when they weren't specifically called out. The ability to move conversations to and between channels (in a manner that leaves a trail behind where the conversation started).

It also needs the ability to more easily tie conversations threads together and tie related discussions together through tags (yes, I said the tags word) [the addition of each entry now having the ability to get emoji responses has been getting used to aggregate related content in some organizations in a "visual tagging" way, but lacks clarity in understanding, even with "what each emoji means" charts]. Also, finding related threads and discussions across channels can be cumbersome in search when different terms (synonyms / fungible technical terms) are being used, even if search is good.

Not everything nor everybody works in the open

In organizations there are viable and valuable reasons to have some things not shared openly. Legal, regulatory, compliance, and some things are best tested and considered among a few people and honed / vetted before sharing more widely and other needs for improving social comfort are often lacking in the enterprise social platforms.

Many mature social platforms for enterprise now offer private spaces for groups to share information, and if it seems viable or gets honed / edited it is shared it out more broadly. Many even follow the social progression of fire model where trends in the messages / sparks and comments are seen as being connected and possibly need more investigation, then moved to or collected in a small comfortable space / campfire to investigate before sharing more broadly / campfire (if it is deemed worthy of moving it forward), and then honed through collaboration and perfected to be put into production / torch.

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Slack doesn't replace everything

There have already been some rather poorly considered (mostly through the lack of understanding the diversity and complexity of social - no it isn't simple nor just complicated) "we are going to use Slack to replace..." attempts. Understanding the category / class of tool that Slack falls into is essential. It isn't a replacement for the collective, curation, nor team / group workspaces like Jive and others (yes, there is one service in this category / class that nearly everybody wants to move away from as fast as they can, but Slack isn't the tool to move to as a replacement). Slack does well to sit alongside those services for conversational interactions and sharing results out of them. It isn't going to replace a social search and collective aggregation service like KnowledgePlaza. Slack not only integrates things into itself, but also can have what is in it as fodder to integrate out, so conversations and things shared in Slack can be honed and more deeply framed and considered in other services and then have results and outcomes of those considerations shared back into Slack.

Slack is not going to replace your document management service. It is a good partner for it to add context and easily drop documents that are relevant from the service into Slack. But, Slack isn't going to replace document management, even if its search is good, the versioning, permissions, and access controls for compliance and other valid needs aren't there in Slack. Your document management service could become more pleasurable to use though.

Enterprise is a complicated beast

Having worked in and around social software for enterprise for about 20 years now, it is a wicked space. There are a lot of "needs" that Slack doesn't comply with yet. There are a lot of issues that aren't on Slack's horizon yet, it may not want to place them there.

Enterprise also brings with it a diversity of needs, mental models inside, use cases, workflow models, and more that should be and could be addressed, but Slack isn't there yet. I'm not sure Slack even has all of them fully on their radar - many organizations don't centrally have them on their radar yet either. But needs arise when divisions and groups underserved by centrally chosen tools in an organization that doesn't fit their needs. When this happens groups often will go in search of services and tools that meet their needs to help them get the job done.

Working with enterprise means working with organizations that don't understand how they themselves actually work nor operate in workflows nor knowledge flows. Many social platforms aren't in the business to help organizations understand their needs, problems, pain points, and gaps yet these are the first steps to understanding the right fit for tools. Analysts, for the most part, aren't in this business, nor are most consultants (selling solutions based cookie cutter decision models makes more profit than the deep understanding the problems before considering solutions model). Perhaps Slack could embrace this model of helping organizations understand themselves, as they aren't focussed on "winning" as much as helping solve problems and address needs (another reason Slack stands out and has a good helpful product).

So what should you do?

The first step is to take Slack seriously. It is doing a lot of things really well, as well as weekly and monthly iterations making things even better.

Also understand not only what Slack is, but what it isn't. Understand how your organizations works (if you need help with that reach out to me, as helping organizations see clearly through the fog of complexity is what I do) and sort out how a service that focusses on reducing pain points and increases people's ability to get things done can fit.

Second, start early thinking about filtering to cut through the noise for alerts and reducing "noise". Work out a community guide and plan. Also, sort out the flow models that can work well with the other services in the organization.


The One Year Club: A seven year review

by Thomas Vander Wal in Community, Enterprise, Social Software, Social Lenses

In 2008, or so, I would have semi-regular calls with a friend who was also doing social and collaboration consulting and advising. Stuart Mader and I would set aside 30 minutes or so to compare notes about our client work (these often lasted 2 to 3 hours). The common trait with our clients was most had purchased tools and services to roll out internal social platforms for their employees. Nearly all of those who came to us had their services and platforms up and running for a while, but at the 6 month to 18 month mark they started to realize all of this work was more than complicated, it was seriously complex. The customers and potential customers weren’t certain they had the right tool or platform for their environment and they needed help to better understand their actual needs, problems, and gaps.

This transition from the “social is simple” perception to “this is incredibly complex” Stuart called the “One Year Club”.

It was roughly in that one year window that the reality of what they were trying to do sunk in. When we would work with the clients and walk them through foundational questions and framings for the variety of models of social interactions (collective, team / group / community / network, and real collaboration) as well as other essential models (these foundations became my Social Lenses in late 2008, which are now up to 60+ lenses) the understanding and clarity of the state of things for them would become far more clear.

(Of the 60+ Lenses, there are 10 to 15 initial lenses for social I use in workshops and kick-off meetings that are part of 25 that are common lenses for social and general complexity filters that many engagements use or get considered. The remainder are used for situations as needed so to see through the fog of complexity. An updated view of the Lenses is likely to be posted here next.)

Is the One Year Club still relevant?

In recent client, potential client, and workshop attendee discussions over this past year the issues that were relevant in 2005 to 2010 that caused the One Year Club moniker to come to life and live on still exist. Nearly every engagement I have where I do either a high-level Lenses framing or a deeper workshop session all get the “we really needed this badly early on when we were trying to understand our problems and set requirements” response. All find something deeply valuable, that is becomes clear in the sessions, they need to focus on. At the same time most realize they may not have the right system for their needs. All find deep value in the sessions because they quickly identify improvements and efficiency gains, from the insights they see through the clarity of the Lenses that help them see through the fog of complexity. Many of these gains are helpful in the short term, but other find quick solutions to keep things going as they work through how to resolve their larger platform change needs.

Looking at things in the past year through all the discussions and reviewing the state of many of the platforms (particularly those that are relatively inexpensive, free, or included as a throw-in from vendors selling other products), not only is the One Year Club still valid, but may be broader reaching and in a worse state than the 2005 to 2010 stretch.

Why is the State of Things Worse?

First off, not everything is the same or worse. Some platforms continue to grow and evolve through maturing in ways that embrace the diversity of how humans are social and diversity patterns of how people work, Jive is one of those. There are also new entrants that have taken things like chat, (in most large organizations with Microsoft foundations Lync (now rebranding as Skype for Business) chat was claimed by many corporate IT departments as the second most used piece of software / service after email in the organization) and added solid functionality (ability to archive by default, including documents and linked objects, and use really good search across it all) and solid ease of integration that in a sense has been making “SUB外网加速器” a truism for many. Another great asset that is available today is the Community Managers Roundtable that provides insights for managing a community and the skills for running, measuring, and keeping a community vibrant.

The trouble that lead to the One Year Club years ago was largely people under-estimating or not doing the needed due diligence. They was also a lack the understanding the regular and continual assessment need for the right fit of their offerings to the problems, needs, and gaps they were hoping to solve. This is often exacerbated by the lack of broadly and deeply framing the problems and potential outcomes up front. I covered some of this in my CMSWire piece “Finding Your Right Collaboration Fit” and a recent talk at 18F titled “Internal Social / Collaboration (Slideshare link)” (an 18F write-up of the talk "Imagining a water cooler for the digital age is also available, with links to a less than optimal quality video of the talk).

The basic understanding that tools matter is not only lost, but is often considered not relevant, until an organization gets to the point of needing core features and functionality that come with a maturing community (or other scaled classes - teams / groups / networks). They also find the platform they are on not only doesn’t provide those, but can’t be adapted as the foundation for the platform isn’t structured to handle mature needs. This all can be headed off up front though the use of Lenses to not only see the current state of things, but use of quick scenarios for what things will look like in one to three years as things scale and other potential realities come into relevance.

Another thing that makes today’s state of things more troublesome is the common existence of more than one platform being successfully used in organizations. With the onset of new services there is much more to think through, to potentially work into the fold. The new services can be targeted at niche areas that fit various workflows and mental models really well at a good price, or offer a drastically improved set of functionality or class of service (like chat), where it is bordering on a new class type. The One Year Club often considers shifting all of their team and group services from a platform that functions okay, to a chat service, rather than thinking about integrating and how that would work in their distinct environment. The One Year Club continually is considering jumping from one platform to another, which is not only not fungible, but of a completely different category / class of service. Often their core platform may not serve their needs, but is of a class or category where they have a need, but they also have other needs to be addressed as well.

This Does Get Better?

It not only can get better, it must get better.

The path to getting better is to understand and embrace complexity as a reality, as well as embrace adaption. One must also learn to see through the fog of complexity to more clearly see the problems, needs, and gaps as well as see the small pieces clearly with lenses so to overlay lenses to see the intersecting influences at work. This not only helps understand today’s needs and the short term, but helps with working through near future scenarios (one to three years, occasionally five year views) so to understand the shifts that may happen so we can make considered choices today, while also having adaptive solutions ready for the impending changes and shifts. This changes the state of things being seen from disruption (otherwise known as having little clue what is happening and not being prepared) to relatively easy adaption through understanding and being comfortable with change.



by Thomas Vander Wal in Community, Enterprise, Social Software, sxd, Technology, Tools



One of the things that has brought happiness from the Connected Company book being out for nearly three years (now in paperback), is getting the idea of podular teams and organization out there for a wider understanding. From 2001 onward I ran my product and project teams in a podular manner. Since then I have helped many organizations I have worked with as clients adopt this approach so to be more nimble, efficient, productive, and keeps the teams members happy as well as management.

This works well where there are a diversity of projects that have different cycles that need different skills for a duration, or are short to mid-range in length (less than 6 to 9 months). This does work well for longer projects as it helps with staffing when their is any turnover in the pod.

What is Podular?

When I started running my teams I had a fixed set of people working under me in my program area and a wider set of projects. The team members had a wide variety of skills and various depths of strength and experience in those skills. The simple overview is, to stay on top of my team and project needs I set up a simple spreadsheet with the names of team members on the horizontal rows and skills running along the top of the columns. In each cell I put a 1 to 5 ranking (5 being the highest) for that person’s skill and expertise level. To build a project team I would assess the skill needs of the project and the project timeline and review the program’s team to right fit a team to each project.

Other program managers and my upper management called this matrixed team management, but outside of this the term matrixed organizations had a very different meaning. When working with SUB旋风免费加速器 on the Connected Company book he brought up the conflict with the term matrix (matrixed organizations were in the “bad thing cycle”) and started calling them podular teams, which worked well as that is how they functioned, as a self-sustained pod.

The teams when set up could mostly run themselves autonomously, mostly because of the people I had in the program team. But, often there was a person senior enough that could keep an eye on how things were progressing. If things were not running well I would get a heads up as a manager and help sort out a solution. Many times I was on the team, not as a manager, but taking one of the roles that needed depth of a skill set for a duration.


Setting up podular teams can be done in a spread sheet, but a couple times I have built quick web applications to serve the purpose. The assessment of skills (all of them) is essential. This can be through professional assessments, team review by peers, and / or a managers assessment. Keep in mind that over time the skills ratings will change. It is best not to work off of job descriptions as those are most often very off target. It can be good to sit with each person and run their assessment by them. Keeping to a 1 to 5 rating makes the reviewing with people a little easier. Don’t assess the top rating for a skill based on their being the best in the pool of talent as there may be a need for somebody with deeper skill and experience at some point.

When you have the individuals rated on their skills and you are sure you have all the skills listed (keeping to relatively broad categories can be helpful) it is good to color code the ratings and look to make it easier to see the gaps or potentially thin areas in the pool.

Next take a couple projects that are have been running and map the people to the the team and look at what sort of skills are needed. Look at the make-up of the teams as well as the pool of candidates. Look at where there may be weaknesses in the pods at times based on cyclical needs. You may find that there is two days of work for a skill at a level 5 each quarter, so starting to map the pod over various durations of time is helpful, from weeks, months, and quarters.


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The second is growing skills. One of the things that quickly jumps out when running teams in podular environments is overlap of skills, as well as gaps at various levels. Another thing over time is the skill levels for individuals change, which changes the make-up of the podular teams and the pool of people over time. I started keeping a second sub-column in each ranking to track this change over time. At one point I turned the second column into the individual’s goal column, which was set during formal reviews and casual reviews to learn what the skills that person had a desire in improving. Eventually, this turned into a third column and I brought back the rating change column. This meant I had a “Last Review”, “Current”, and “Goal” column for each person’s skill ranking. The “Goal” column really helped with setting podular teams to take somebody with a high skill ranking and pair them with someone wanting to improve their skills in that area. The person there to shadow and get some hands on experience form someone with more skill and experience nearly always was in that pod because of some skill they had a skill match for on that project.

Tracking things in this way also means traditional reviews are relatively easy to do as progress can be tracked as well as contributions. In working with other organizations, those that have team members providing feedback across a project makes review and assessment easier as well.

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When the framework is set the next is taking projects and teams and converting them to pods. The big shift is going to be the pods most likely are going to be a little more fluid than they were prior, so to match changing skill needs over the life cycle of a project or team needs at various points. Turning them into pods often means these pods will run a little more autonomously over time.

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The pods will need a really good platform for team communication, coordination, and collaboration. This needs to be open to the person managing as well as fully open to people that drop into the pod to fill in roles. Email doesn’t work as a part of podular environments. Getting a tool that works well can be a less than easy task, but it is an important task to ensure the right fit. The client or project owner may or may not have full access to the tool, but a good view into progress, deliverables, needs, and probability of completion is a good view to offer.

Putting a pod together can be done in a self-selected manner, in a curated approach, or one that is mixed. While many organizations find success with self-selection, where the pod has the opportunity to self assemble, the downside is this only works with some skill sets, personality types, and work environments. Where self selection really falls flat, if not fails spectacularly is skills that are often strong with people who are introverts and needing those skills in the pod. In many organizations this can be more than 70 percent of the teams and pods that are needed to be assembled. Self-selection also tends to favor those who have working knowledge of others, which makes new hires and others that don’t have experience in the pool on the outside, with pods often choosing a known, but poor fit, rather than a better fit that is unknown. The upside of self-selection is pods get built with people who tend to work well together.

The curated approach where a manager or pod builder works to assemble a pod with the right skills, levels, and availability. The availability is often tricky and can take some negotiation to get a key role filled with the right person for a duration that is needed. The curation approach mixed with some self-selection can work well also, and is often a really good way to do things over time.


The biggest hurdle to this is deeply understanding needs. This is understanding all the roles needed and skills. One thing that becomes quickly clear is there are often skills needed beyond what traditionally has been considered. With podular environments the ability to bring in people with skills that fill these gaps becomes second hand and seems natural. This leads to the pod looking to optimize their output and try to understand things that are less than optimal. This short fall in skills and gap in skills continually arises when implementing and deploying social / collaboration / communication platforms in organizations as there are 14 essential roles needed and most are trying to cover it with 2 or three of these skills roles.

Over time the skills needed in the pods becomes clearer, but often bringing in a consultant with experience in podular environments and the domain areas becomes a huge time saver to get things running smoothly early in this transition.


Shift Happened - Part 4: The One Social Way (Or not) to Doing Social Really Well in Enterprise

by Thomas Vander Wal in Applications, Community, Enterprise, Shift Happened, Social Software, User Experience

Having been at the heart of social and collaboration since 1996 (no, I’m not kidding) it is interesting to see how large organizations that are doing social well (>80% employees are active) actually are doing it.

The interesting thing is most of these organizations are not using just one service or platform. They are using two or three, often with some additional small solutions for niche situations (niche for them). They are also not planning on migrating to one solution (most tried and it didn’t go well), at least for any foreseeable future.

There is No One Way

The reality of doing social well is embracing the understanding there is no universal, no master narrative, and no one right way. Yes, we are all human, but we are not all wired exactly the same. The different personality types, different mental models, and many different cultures in an organization (and world outside) that comprise reality require embracing that reality with more than one approach.

No organization started out to do this, it just happened. This begins with IT often wanting just one solution that works for everybody, as that makes their job more manageable (often they select something from a vendor they already work with). Often what IT provides for the organization doesn’t work well enough for sections of the organization (often large portions of the organization), as it didn’t meet their needs nor mental models. Over the last 5 to 8 years getting a good social / collaboration solution needed relatively little effort for a division or group as it often runs in the cloud (meaning it doesn’t need IT) and could fit on a credit card for the team or a division’s PO so it is small enough to fly under the radar, so getting a right fit solution has been easy. Not only was it easy, but it has worked rather well, as it fits the needs and people use them rather heavily.

Where this has ended up after 2 to 8 years is many different social and collaboration services in an organization, that until recently haven’t really talked to each other well. Teams, groups, divisions, etc. need to talk and work together and so IT was getting back involved to get everybody on one solution. The trouble is, you can’t remove what works from the different parties.

Why There is More Than One Solution Working Well

When you try to remove a well used solution you realize it is really difficult to move to one platform. While it is a pain the most difficult piece is not porting the data, interactions, and differing privacy models. It is not retraining people (if heavy retraining is needed the selection made may really be the right selection), but this is just a symptom of the real issue. The biggest hurdle is there isn’t one universal model. There will never be a universal model that works, unless is it heavily based on adaption, but no vendor remotely close to delivering on that yet.

Most of the well used social and collaboration platform vendors have understood they really need to understand their users well. They did user testing and mapped their products to their user’s mental models and needs. But, the thing is their users are not universal (they are a subset of the whole) but tied to the people and personality types that have long bought their software / services. The users they researched and tested on have been those parts of the organizations that buy their products. This is not the whole of the organization that they focussed on, but the slice that is their customer base.

This is why Salesforce Chatter works really well for sales and marketing, but the other 65% to 80% of the organization won’t go near it nor live in it the way sales and marketing people do. Similar for 旋风加速器老版本下载 as it is honed (and really not well) for tech centered folks or needs to be heavily optimized, but there are extremely few organizations with the depth of roles needed to modify SharePoint to get it to be easily usable widely in an organization. Jive works really well for knowledge workers (and even information workers). The innovation and leading edge teams and groups (it doesn’t scale up yet and works best with smaller groups) are often using Slack (there is no chance in hell you can remove Slack and they are likely the best minds and change makers in an organization whom you really don’t want to piss off and have leave - if you don’t think you have Slack users you either don’t have highly productive innovation folks or you aren’t looking hard enough). There are a myriad of smaller targeted solutions for a wide variety of roles, functional areas and personality types that are perfect for their niches (some with millions of users - with around 2 billion technology enabled people on the planet it is quiet easy to have a niche of a few million users).

So, What Do We Do Now

Organizations that are moving toward doing social and collaboration well fall into two camps: 1) One social platform that is decent, but not great usage is doing great in parts of the organization, but untouched in others; 2) There are many platforms in the organization and there is a strong need to get people working together across the now disparate groups.

The first step is realize there is no getting to one system. Be fine with that reality. But, realize you can likely reduce the number of systems.

Now, the harder goal, is getting products integrated, which is beyond just simple traditional integration. To do this well it takes deeply understanding the different personality types, roles, and mental models in the organization and not following a tech schematic that most integrators use as their blueprint.

The first step is to bring in people who understand the differences in the social platforms, beyond what the checkboxes say and vendors say. These people usually have strong social science backgrounds, have worked in large organizations along the way, and have been working (helps if managed, designed, and / or developed) with social and collaboration services more than a decade.

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“We Have One Solution” Organizations

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With the one solution that may not have really broad adoption, work to sort out who in the organization is not participating or has lower use rates. Spend time gathering the data and mapping patterns. It will likely start to frame divisions, roles, and personality types that are rather clear to see representing those not using it (also refine the understanding of who IS using it, as you don’t really want to mess with success of employees along the way).

Mapping the gaps where people are not using the tools, as well as why not, will start as a guide. In this mapping and research there will be other solutions used that may not be known (sometimes these are used widely - beyond 10% of the organization is where wide starts) and capturing and understanding what they are and why they are used is going to be essential. Finding and understanding the myriad of options out there to map to roles, sub-cultures, and personality types, as well as interoperation will be essential. Trying a few different options and having change management and internal communications involved will help things as well.


The first step with organizations that have many known solutions is to do a full capture and audit of all platforms and services used, as there are likely more than what is known. Also be comfortable with the reality that there will likely be more than one solution at the end, but hopefully they will play well together.

In the capturing what is being used and by whom, learn what they do, how they do it, and why. Learn, what could they live with out (or what they rarely if ever use) and what is essential. Watch people work. One of the most important things is discern if they are working in closed groups, open groups, or if they are using one of the rare platforms that allows reseting permissions so to start closed and once honed and vetted they share more openly (this is a valuable capability in a solution). Map the differences between groups and tools (a serious benefit of having outsiders do the research and mapping).

Once everything is captured and mapped the hard work begins. The solutions is going to be different for each organization, but interoperability is going to be a key component. There will likely need to be a tool or service at the center that other systems work into, out of, and around. Understanding the multiple cultures, differences, capabilities, privacy, security, user work needs, underlying data models, and availability of APIs are going to play roles in working through to a workable solution. Depending on the organization mobile, what tools (the non-collab and social services) it integrates with and how, organizational make-up (including if an organization that has been acquiring other companies and / or has plans to), virtual work environments and needs, data / document storage models, adaptive to change, and much more are going to play very important roles in working to a good way forward.

It is important to keep organizational external boundary crossing in mind. Working with clients, consultants, and other valuable external resources in a closed system is really helpful. Having few services that are used with outside resources is a good thing from the perspective of keeping external parties confusion to a minimum. A services for document haring (like Box) along with a community and / or collaboration space is a good fit and keeps confusion to a minimum.

While There Is No One Way There Can Be Fewer

Many organizations hope to get to just one platform, but getting to a few that are optimized for large portions of the organization and their needs are going to be really helpful. This gets the advantages of productivity gains and efficiency that can come form services honed from solid user testing from vendors that match the people working in the tools (there will always be more user experience optimization needed, but it will be much less).

Shift Happened Series

  • Part 1: More Productive Not Using Productivity Tools
  • Part 2: Small Apps Loosely Joined
  • Part 3: Capturing Decisions in Social
  • Part 4: The One Social Way (Or not) to Doing Social Really Well in Enterprise
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Design Fiction Futures for NYC Libraries

by Thomas Vander Wal in City Planning, Community, Design, Urban Planning, Web/Tech, Design Fiction

I have long been a fan of design fiction to frame what the deployment of a design idea looks like after it has been created and is in use. I have used this quite a few times in my own work over the years. But, seeing great examples of design fiction in public isn’t a common occurrence. The great folks at Near Future Laboratory do great design fiction work – it is well worth picking up their “All-In-One Design Fiction Combo Pack” if you haven’t yet.

Librarians at large
Librarians at large


This week Union released When A Branch Becomes The Root: A proposal by UNION that imagines the future of NYC’s branch libraries.. This is not only a great example of design fiction, but a great rework and imagining explained as happened of how to reshape and design not only the physical New York City branch libraries properties, but how to expand how they function as a service for people in the city. The brand / identity design becomes as much of an important part of the work as it helps not only help the library stand out, but helps bring the library and information out of the libraries and into people lived.

There is so much that is really good in this proposal and how it is executed that it will likely be an open tab for a while in my browser or in near reach saved out.


Getting Good Case Studies in Today's Competitive World

by Thomas Vander Wal in Access to Info, Community, Conferences, Enterprise, KM World, sub加速器官网, sub免费网络加速器, Technology

Efficiency and business advantage is what many businesses see as their differentiator. A week or two back while following the Twitter Stream and some live blogging of Enterprise 2.0 Summit: London I kept hearing how there were no new companies talking about their own case studies than there were a few years back. Many presentations pointed to the same limited set of case studies. The worry derived from this was concern stagnation in the space.

The odd thing is when you talk with consultants, strategists, and advisors out doing work companies and other organizations in this space the list of organizations doing social business or working out loud well and looking to get the next bump up from the value they are seeing is really huge. There are more than the handful of organizations using social platforms extremely well in their organizations and getting great advantage.

Why So Quiet?

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Tied to “business advantage” (competitive advantage and manner of doing business) often has a piece of it tied to the market, if they are a publicly traded company. Most organizations that are publicly traded do not reveal publicly who their main technical solution suppliers are for their internal work to ward of an negative impact to their stock price from a problem from one of their suppliers (technical problem or corporate perceived problems). The markets are fickle and not overly rational, so most organizations see it as not wanting collateral damage being publicly tied to a supplier. Additionally, most organizations have a diversified supplier base for redundancy and familiarity to enable a rather swift change to another vendor.

So, how do these stories get out? Most often these stories get out second hand and are not attributed to any company. The organization is generalized, but distinct stories roughed out to get a point across. Most companies looking for case studies are looking for names of companies and people that can give the case study sharp reality. This is particularly true when finding a company in the same industry vertical.

Another large factor limiting new case studies is vendors will put forward organizations who are doing great things with their platform. But, the reality is most organizations are doing really well, because they are using more than one platform to get the job done. Most vendors don’t want to tell that story as they want to be “the only one”. When vendors find organizations that will talk the vendor most often wants to ensure the organization is telling their vendor friendly story. Homogenous organizations are becoming incredibly rare these days. While many vendors have a much broader range of “darling” clients at their own vendor sponsored events (clients usually only talk about vendor focussed use), but at non-vendor focussed events the spotlight is how they found success, which is rarely just with one vendor to get the job done.

Improving Conference Case Studies

Of the two limitations, corporate silence and vendor approval, the only one of these two that is malleable is vendor approval. This means of the companies that are willing to talk it takes conference organizers going beyond their usual circles of influence and sounding boards to find good stories to tell and bring in.

Many organizations are also not seeing the value of being a focus of a case study. The limited number of case studies out there has far far less to do with the number of organizations having success with social business and any of the more forward ways business work today than it does with organizations no longer finding value with being the focus of a case study. When I talk with other consultants, strategists, and advisors we have lists of 30 to 50 organizations who are great examples and we use generically as examples. When needing specific examples of niche use the list runs into the hundreds. This is far wider than the limited set case studies that are over used today.

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Listening to the Audience

At KM World in early November the audience questions and insights were as good or not better than a lot of what was being stated from the panels or talks. KM World is a practitioner conference and the social business or working out loud model has spread quite broadly for most organizations who have practitioners attending. The attendance at KM World was over one thousand attendees and from audience participation in the social business related sessions there were more than 100 organizations that have been finding quite a bit of success with social and collaborative methods or working and are looking for tweaks to what they are doing so to get even more value. None of these companies speaking up in the sessions with success stories are case studies and none were seeking to be. In my workshop of just over 20 participants nearly all of them had rather successful social or collaborative platforms running and were looking for ways to get more out of them and to better support the diverse ways people are working and being productive today.

The feedback from some of the presentations where the limited case studies that are out there as the focus was brutal. Mostly, because not only are the case studies well known in a large segment of the KM World audience, but their own practices out pace the case studies and they are farther along than the case studies repeatedly pointed to.

It well could be we are not only at the edge of a post-document business world, but also at the cusp of a post-case study business world. Our model of having one shining example at the front of the room, has become thousands of shining lights in the room sharing at a smaller level, because they are not permitted to share officially from the front of the room.

1 Comment


by 原sub网络加速器 in Enterprise, Shift Happened, 旋风加速器老版本下载, User Experience, Tools, 旋风sub加速器

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The interesting thing is most organizations who are doing social and collaboration well are not using just one service or platform. They are using two or three, often with some small solutions for niche situations (niche for them). They are also not planning on migrating to one solution, well at least for any foreseeable future.

There is No One Way

The reality of doing social well is embracing the understanding there is no universal, no master narrative, and no one right way. Yes, we are all human, but we are not all wired exactly the same. The different personality types, different mental models, and many different cultures in an organization (and world outside their doors) that comprise reality, which requires embracing that reality with more than one approach.

No organization started out to do this, it just happened. What IT often wants to do is have just one solution that works for everybody, as that makes their job more manageable. But, many organizations needed something far better than the mess that email created in their organizations so to clearly communicate with and within their teams and departments. Reality is people roll in and out of projects and people stopped using just corporate sanction tools to get work done with colleagues. Often what IT provided for the organization didn't work well enough for them, as it didn't meet their needs nor mental models. The last 5 to 8 years getting a good social / collaboration solution for a team up to a division that ran in the cloud (didn't need IT) and could fit on a credit card for the team or a division's PO that was small enough to fly under the radar has been easy. Not only was it easy, but it has worked rather well, as it fits the needs and people use them rather heavily.

Where this has ended up after 2 to 8 years is many different social and collaboration services in an organization, that haven't really talked to each other well. Teams, groups, divisions, etc. need to talk and work together and so IT was getting back involved to get everybody on one solution. The trouble is, you can't remove what works.

Why There is More Than One Solution Working Well

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The biggest hurdle is there isn't one universal model. There will never be a universal model that works, unless is it heavily based on adaption and no vendor remotely close to that yet.

Most of the well used social and collaboration platforms have understood they need to really understand their users well. They did user testing and mapped their products to their user's mental models. But, the thing is their users are not universal and are tied to the people and personality types that have long bought their software / services. The users they researched and tested on have been those parts of the organizations that buy their products. This is not the whole of the organization that they focussed on, but the slice that is their customer base.

This is why sub真正免费的加速器 works really well for sales and marketing, but the other 65% to 80% of the organization won't go near it nor live in it the way sales and marketing people do. Similar for Yammer and SharePoint as they are honed (and really not well) for tech centered folks who are willing to work with less than optimal tools. Jive works really well for knowledge workers (and even information workers), and for the innovation and leading edge teams and groups (no it doesn't scale up yet) there is Slack (there is no chance in hell you can remove Slack and they are likely the best minds and change makers in one's organization whom you really don't want to piss off and have leave - if you don't think you have Slack users you either don't have highly productive innovation folks or you aren't looking hard enough). There are a myriad of smaller targeted solutions for a wide variety of roles and personality types that are perfect for their niches (some with millions of users - with around 2 billion technology enabled people on the planet it is quiet easy to have a niche of a few million users).

So, What Do We Do Now

Organizations that are moving toward doing social and collaboration well fall into two camps: 1) One social platform that has good, but not great usage (Jive is a solution that adapts the most broadly and is one of the few actually pushing forward to improve and get to do a better job at having a product that is social as humans are social) is doing great in parts of the organization, but untouched in others; 2) There are many many platforms in the organization and there is a strong need to get people working together across the now disparate groups.

The first step is realize there is no getting to one. Be fine with that.

Now, the harder goal, which is getting things to work together, which is beyond just simple traditional integration. To do this well it takes deeply understanding the different personality types, roles, and mental models in the organization and not just following a tech schematic that most integrators use as their blueprint.

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"We Have One Solution" Organizations

If you are one of those "we have one solution" organizations, I'm hoping that one solutions is one that plays well with others, as those are a great starting points. Right now the best of these is Jive, as it seems they understand they are not out to rule the world, but play very well with the world and all the needed tools and services that employees use to get the job done. Jive also has a well laid out plug-in and module mindset that includes Open Social (this only is a partial solution so far as it isn't full interoperation capable yet) to get outside content in. But Jive and Salesforce Chatter can integrate and work relatively seamlessly with each in their own platform and well honed interface for their own user's mental models. This is a really good example of where the future resides.

With the one solution that may not have really broad adoption, work to sort out who in the organization is not participating or has lower use rates. Spend time gathering the data and mapping patterns. It will likely start to frame divisions, roles, and personality types that are rather clear to see for those not using it (also refine the understanding of who IS using it, as you don't really want to mess those types of employees along the way).

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"We Right Fit Solutions" Organizations

The first step with many known solutions is to do a full capture and audit of all platforms and services used, as there are likely more than what is known. Also be comfortable with the reality that there will likely be more than one solution at the end, but hopefully they will play well together.

In the capturing what is being used and by whom, learn what they do, how they do it, and why. Learn, what could they live with out and what is essential. Watch people work. One of the most important things is discern if they are working in closed groups, open groups, or if they are using one of the rare platforms that allows reseting permissions so to start closed and once honed share more openly (this is a valuable capability in a solution). Map the differences between groups and tools (a serious benefit of having outsiders do the research and mapping).

Once everything is captured and mapped the hard work begins. The solutions is going to be different for each organization, but interoperability is going to be a key component. There will likely need to be a tool or service at the center that other in, out, and around. Understanding the cultures, differences, capabilities, privacy, security, user work needs, underlying data models, and availability of APIs are going to play roles in working through to a workable solution. Depending on the organization mobile, what tools (the non-collab and social services) it integrates with and how, organizational make-up (including if an organization that has been acquiring other companies and / or has plans to), virtual work environments and needs, data / document storage models, adaptive to change, and much more are going to play very important roles in working to a good way forward.



by Thomas Vander Wal in Community, Conferences, Enterprise, 旋风加速器老版本下载, Knowledge Management, Social Software, Technology

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This past week I spent most of the days at KM World 2014 in Washington, DC giving a workshop on the first day (Tuesday) “Improving Knowledge Flows: Using Lenses to See Needs in Systems of Engagement”, which started rough (thanks to insane DC traffic that went above and beyond its usual bad) but smoothed out. The workshop was somewhat similar to ones I have given in the past, but the participants were fantastic. What set them apart is, nearly all of them have been running social and collaboration systems of engagement for a year or more and know the difficult task it is and they were asking great questions from understanding that struggle.

Repeatedly through out KM World this year the questions from experience and needing to learn more from people with real experience and living with less than optimal solutions and offerings from many vendors. The sessions this year were very good with a few great sessions (there were a rare few really poor sessions, but those were really exceptions). I didn’t make any of the keynotes as I am local to the event and chose (again) not to stay downtown to be closer to the event and still keep family priorities front and center and there was good things in those that had people buzzing.


The meetings around KM World this year, along with dinners and hallway conversations were some of the best, not only at KM World, but any other conference I have been in a long long time (perhaps back to 2006 at a one off conference). I also got to see fantastic friends and colleagues I have grown to know over the last 10 years or so of putting serious outward focus in this area from conferences and client work. I also met people I really should have known and been deep tight buds with for years prior.


On the subject of meetings I was really intrigued by Shell, who had bought one of the conference rooms and ran a Wednesday through Friday session / demo out of them. The session was showing their system of engagement as intranet that is founded on the Work Out Loud model that Bryce Williams kicked off years back as a framing and many others, including Ian Jones of Shell, have embraced and extended since.

Shell was doing demonstrations of what they had built and was answering questions about how to do similar and lessons learned. One of my workshop attendees asked me to come by and set up a one-on-one session with them. Where I got a descent deep dive. In the session I noticed some things they had managed to do in Sharepoint that is really difficult to do (something that is part of the Sharepoint marketing pitch for compliance minded folks, but like many things in Sharepoint it is buggy and many times not achievable). I liked what they had pulled together as it was a good solid first to second stage social / engagement service (of about 8 to 10 that can be achieved), which many organizations struggle getting to that first stage successfully.

What was curious with Shell is I couldn’t sort out their motive. I couldn’t sort if they were consulting outwardly and this set-up was a really good smart way to show capabilities and offer that to others or if it was a showcase of their capabilities. What I missed (talking with other senior folks around the conference we all seemed to miss) was a third possibility they were crowdsourcing gaps and next steps. They were showcasing what they did, but also getting feed back from other organizations and vendors about how others have done things, but they were pulling the experts at the conference into deep one-on-one sessions. It wasn’t until Friday at lunch, when I sat with one of the Shell guys and he explained that. I then offered another set insights and we had a great chat about where things are headed with enterprise tools (things the “future of…” folks haven’t stumbled into yet) and I got some great insights into some small capabilities Shell folks have found make differences in people’s work life as well as the organization as a whole.

The Shell approach of getting feedback broadly and deeply is so obvious and genius, it is surprising other organizations with budgets for such haven’t done this. I don’t know how quickly this sort of thing would become utterly annoying if there were more than one or two organizations doing this at a conference year after year, but it showed really great thinking on the part of Shell.

Sessions that I Loved

My favorite sessions at conferences are the ones that hit on something I wasn’t expecting and provide a perspective I’ve been missing. I also love good presentation craft and slide craft, which is missing at most business and tech conferences, so seeing that with great content presented with good arcs and pace I also fall for. These that follow are the ones I went to and liked or loved.

The “10 Mistakes to Avoid When Purchasing Digital Workplace Technology” by Jarrod Gingras of Real Story Group was fantastic. Tech purchasing is insanely difficult and most organizations end up with something that really doesn’t fit them well. Part of the issue is they don’t understand their needs and problems well, which is often where I help framing things and setting understandings of what things they will need to know so their 6 month, 2 year, and 5 year versions of their organizations can grow with their selections today. But, once you know your problems and needs well enough, sorting through the minefield of potential vendors and implementers is a whole different story. Jarred’s session was one of the best framings of how go through purchasing process well in vendor / tool selection that I have ever run across (I have run across well over a hundred in the past 10 to 15 years).

I really liked Stan Garfield’s overview of “Practical Social Media Tips”. There wasn’t much new for me, but Stan has great framing of tools services for people unfamiliar and stating simply the value people and organizations can get from each. It is conversational and incredibly helpful. This is an approach I tend to gloss over as I love to go deep and to the difficult stuff, which many new to things are not ready for. Stan’s sessions are always a great reminder for myself on how to get things right for those new to things. (I also love the conversations with Stan where we can go deep). There is a fine art of making things simple for entry to the complicated and complex realities beyond. Most consulting firms and solo consultants try to prove their brilliance and depth (they miss the mark on this front on getting that right) or they lack the depth and only know the simple and can’t go beyond. So, watching Stan is a great pleasure as he has serious depth, but conveys things simply with a light touch.

The half of the “Creating Learning Organizations: Commitment not Compliance” session by Nabil Keith Durand on images.mofcom.gov.cn:2021-8-30 · 州)的资金都来自于公共基金。在增长加速计划的预算中也包括了 Curitiba (帕拉纳州)机场的第三条跑道。Page 160, para 4.214 第160页第4.214段 Under MERCOSUR Decision No. 25/2021, a regulatory framework allows for granting temporary work permits to was utterly fantastic. Not only was the slide craft and presentation craft as near perfect (there were many presentations with slides that were far from readable with content too small or dense for the room size and the hallway conversations and backchannels were insanely brutal hitting on this) as I have seen in a non design / communication professional conference or a something Duarte has worked on. His content and framing was fantastic and talk about the cognitive foundations for understanding how people learn and work, but also how to embrace this to have far more successful projects and programs. I got to chat with Nebil a bit after thanking him for a great presentation, but found he is another with great breadth and depth from a quite diverse and multi-disciplinary background that really shines through.

The session on Cognitive Computing by sub真正免费的加速器 may have been my favorite of the whole conference. She clearly mapped out the transitions from the traditional computing and search to the approach cognitive computing has been shifting us to. I loved this as I have been coming at this from other trajectories the past three or four years with approaches with complex adaptive systems modeling, friends and clients building in AI (artificial intelligence) into their tools / services / offerings, and similar working on offerings that offer great solutions through agency (tools working on our behalf in the background). Having a full framing of the dimensions, components, and models and the communities around this side of things was fantastic. Finding a community where things go deep and broad is always a gem, particularly when I haven’t known what things are called (ironic for cognitive computing as it is mostly anti-taxonomy) and finding the thread to pull on to get to the gold mines. This talk may have opened up a door for inquiry that may last me a long long time, so am deeply grateful for it. It is also going to be fodder and sanity checks for some of the Shift Happened series pieces I am writing (now about 14 of them that could be the full series).


KM World this year not only had great content, great meetings, fantastic collecting with like minds and colleagues, meeting many many new people I really want to know better and work with, and had sparks for new things to flesh out, but it helped me hone all of the content I have been sitting on and working to hone and reprioritizes it. A lot of things in my work that have been shown and talked about in workshops and client engagements need to get out into the more open world. KM World was another big kick in the pants to get this moving.

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