If utilized correctly, Yammer can improve your style of managing projects. Yammer is a private social network that companies use to collaborate, get connected to the right people, and obtain the right information quickly. The tool can help point you to relevant information that allows you to make decisions and get work done.
Assuming Yammer is deployed, you can easily get started by creating a project-specific Yammer group. Determine if you want the group to be public or private. If the project is highly sensitive, you may want the group to be private. Otherwise, sharing the information and conversations with others can be a huge benefit. If the group is public, it allows for use and reuse of documentation and sharing of best practices. Someone who isn’t involved in the day-to-day project delivery may see a comment or question posed by the project team and can provide feedback or share similar experiences. If the group is private, the admin or owner of the group must add individuals on a one-off basis.
Next, add the people who are involved in the project to the group. These individuals will see the project group’s activity show up in their real-time Yammer feed. Group members can start using the group as a place to converse and ask questions, to share documentation, to find relevant information quickly, and to manage your projects more effectively. How you might ask? Let’s take a deeper look.
Have you ever had someone join your team mid-project? You probably have. Have you wasted time going through emails and SharePoint sites to track down relevant information that you can email to them so they can leverage it as they get on-boarded? It is certainly common. And time consuming. And hard to manage. If your team stores documentation, holds project-related conversations, and records project decisions and meeting notes on Yammer, a new team member can dig right in and have context behind the project’s direction.
This view into the project isn’t just good for new team members either. It is a great tool for existing team members too because it allows you to ask for help when you may not know exactly who to go to for the answer. You can post a question to Groups within your company who may have the experience and expertise to help but who are outside of your project team. There are also countless external Yammer networks that can be used to extend business outreach and provide an even larger platform for knowledge sharing.
Notes & Document Management
Storing and sharing notes and documents directly in Yammer is another way to make your life as a managing project team member a lot easier. For example, when you create a Note within Yammer, you can collaborate real-time with your team members. Also, you and your team members can see who is making edits as the changes are being completed. There is no need to wait until someone checks in the content. The tool also allows you to have discussions and save a history of past conversations about these Notes in the discussion feed below each Note.
Once the drafted content becomes complete, you can “publish” the material. This sends a notification to those following the note. After the team has an opportunity to review and provide feedback, you can mark a Note as “official.” This changes the Note to read-only and an “official” mark indicates the Note is important and significant. This helps differentiate between documentation that is a draft, has been published and is ready to review, or a document that is official and complete.
If you’re already managing documents on a SharePoint project page, you can integrate a Yammer App right on the SharePoint page and see a live stream of the conversations occurring in the Yammer group. This will provide additional visibility into the group activity and allows you to continue leveraging the SharePoint document management functionality if it is working well for your team.
Praise & Polling
Another often overlooked part of a managing team member’s role is providing praise and appreciation for the team’s work and individual’s accomplishments. Yammer’s Praise feature allows you to give recognition by providing a description of the accomplishments and awarding badges. This Praise remains associated to an individual’s Yammer profile and appears on the Praise tab of their page. Tagging upper management on the Praise gives additional visibility into the hard work and dedication your team has accomplished.
The Yammer polling feature allows you to get feedback from the team and make decisions together. The polls can be powerful and will give all team members a voice in decisions. Polls can be used to determine a preferred meeting time or location. It can also be used to bring the team together through non project asks such as, where to go for lunch or selecting the project team name.
Managing projects via Yammer isn’t fool proof. It comes with its own set of potential hiccups – most of which can be worked through with a little effort. Get the team actively engaged and checking the Yammer project group and create a Communication Plan that clearly describes Yammer’s role in the team. Encouraging team members to change their email preferences on Yammer, at least initially, can also be a good reminder to use this tool. There are plenty of other ways to leverage Yammer to successfully manage a project. We only touched the surface when we reviewed the benefits it can provide while onboarding a new team member, managing notes and documents, and providing and receiving feedback through Yammer’s Praise and Polling features. Yammer allows project teams to focus on conversations and content that matters to them and quickly adapt to change while being more productive.
Now, let us know some of the ways that you’ve had success using Yammer.