We have a flashy new tool, but we do not change the way we work. So old wine in new bags. And then you do not get anything out of it! How many times have you experienced this? Are we simply migrating our files on fileshares one-on-one to for example SharePoint in Office 365? Or do we need a smarter approach like thinking about fileshares with the Silverside Collaboration Framework?
This article is one of a series:
1. What does not work with fileshares and e-mail?
2. Smarter collaboration on files with Office 365
3. Thinking about Fileshares with the Silverside Collaboration Framework
How often do you still see the outdated way of organizing files and version control continued in Office 365? The fileshares are migrated one by one to the personal OneDrive of employees. In this way you end up with all the quality documents in the OneDrive of the Q&A Manager, all policies with the OneDrive of the IT employee who created them, and the HR files in the OneDrive of someone from HR.
The OneDrive becomes a large swamp, in which nobody can find anything anymore. And what happens when a person leaves the company? Ownership of these files is also lost.
It is better to look at the files on the fileshares in a different way. Start with the thought: what kind of work is it, and what purpose does it serve?
Collaboration Framework approach
We work from our Collaboration Framework. Here we do not look at the technology, but at the business and human factors that are necessary to make collaboration successful. Whatever organization you have, and whatever work you do, you can always work together as a group in four areas: The areas are a: Community of Practice, Community of Interest, Project Community, Team Community. Each is a group of people, a team or a communit, but each has a very different character.
Community of Practice (COP)
A Community of Practice is a group of people who share a specific field or expertise. The emphasis here is on progress. In a COP, documents are shared, are continually improved upon. The subjects have something in common with the core business of the organization. Here the money is earned, and they are supported by the whole organization. That is why this is generally also a top-down approach. There are clear rules. A COP is predominantly a group that applies for a long term, precisely because it has been supported by the organization and the business itself is making better. A document is the result of the work here.
Typical for a project is that a clear result follows. Something is being delivered. And that is done within a fixed short term. Often several disciplines within the organization are involved in a project. Sometimes even external people. Speed and flexibility is usually very important. That is why there is a need for a lot of ease of use and few rules. In addition to documents, there is a lot of emphasis on tasks, progress and deadlines. When you want to make processes or business better, project documents can ultimately form the basis for adjustments in the COP.
With a team there is a clear organization. Usually inspired by the organization chart of the company. Think of divisions, departments, countries, and locations. With a team, it is clear who is a member. You can often distinguish between a public part (of the team, for the organization) and a closed part (with the team, for the team). The work that a team does, is about daily business. We are not working towards one specific goal, but doing the work is central. Documents are often supportive to processes. Communication and planning are a big part of working together.
Community of Interest (COI)
In a COI people who have a shared interest come together. This can be something that has nothing to do with the business itself, such as a self-supporting iPhone community. But it can also be an area that has common ground with the organization. The key word, however, is that people in the group have the same passion. The difference with a COP is that these interests are not borne by the organization, but have developed completely bottom-up. There are no or few rules. Usually a COI has a short-term character. The interest can quickly become obsolete (think of the iPhone, maybe this was rather black?). These are often new, innovative topics. Eventually it disappears automatically, or changes into a Project or COP. A document is often the starting point of a discussion here.
4 elements of cooperation
So far we have always talked about working together on documents. But collaboration consists of more than just sharing files. When working together we talk about 4 elements: communication, meetings, actions, and results. All these elements come together within each type of community in the model. Office 365 offers one central place for each of the 4 types where the calls, the agreements (rules and agreements in the agenda!), the documents and the tasks can be found.
The recurring question: ‘When do I use what?’
With Office 365 you as organization have a wide range of apps at your disposal. Group files can be stored in SharePoint sites, in an Outlook Group, in a Team or in a Plan. These apps have some overlap, but each also has its specific features and benefits.
When you look at these various apps from a technological point of view, you can simply list the functionality. Of course it is possible that employees are really looking specifically for a certain functionality, and therefore would make a choice for one or the other.
The reality, however, is that employees have choice stress. Do I have to use SharePoint sites, Outlook Groups, Teams or Planner? The Collaboration Framework helps with the choices!
Looking at a typical file share you can easily recognize how you can think about them in communities. You usually see the folders for departments and projects on fileshares back. What you do not often find here is the COP and the COI. They often exist more in e-mail or simply do not have a clear place.
Within Office 365 you can think of the apps that are most suitable for each of the four elements.
Issues that have a long-term focus, require rules (governance) or structure and that are important for the entire organization (top-down) can best be arranged with SharePoint sites. Task-oriented work is central to Planner. The latest addition to Office 365 – Teams – is ideal for low-threshold collaboration with a focus on communication. For completely free sharing with each other and a lot of interaction, without any control and rules (bottom-up). Read more on the article When to Use What.