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Ask questions before leaping into an enterprise social effort for the best possible chance of success

Many of the same type of questions most subject matter experts recommend be asked about any plan to implement SharePoint 2013, or SharePoint Online, Office 365, should be included in any plan for an enterprise social effort, at least according to Naomi Moneypenny. Moneypenny presents these questions and her rationale for adding them into any plan to implement an enterprise social feature like a Yammer group, in a video tutorial titled Planning a community and populating Group Tabs.

The answers to these questions, Moneypenny contends, will provide any stakeholders in an enterprise social effort with a method of validating the soundness of their implementation plan. The questions include:

  1. What is the reason for the group?
  2. How will people join the group?
  3. What are the qualifications for people to join the group?
  4. What would this group look like if your effort is to succeed?
  5. How should success be measured?
  6. How will others benefit should the group succeed?
  7. What is the implementation plan for the group?
  8. What do you need for the plan to work

Moneypenny recommends anyone asking the second question, above, should also be asking about whether the group will be private (in other words, invitation only), or public (so people can discover and join it as they wish). The third question, the one on qualifications, should help illuminate whatever known, or unknown barriers may impede people from joining the group. Moneypenny stressses the need to remove as many of these, as possible, to ensure anyone truly interested in the group can join. The fourth question, which talks about how success is specifically defined for this enterprise social effort, lays the ground work for demonstrating ROI and, potentially, quantifying the actual benefit the group ultimately delivers (if any) to the sponsoring organization. The final question opens an opportunity for stakeholders to actually formulate a plan, which, in turn, can be presented to a sponsoring organization to ensure support is in place.

Asking, and answering, each of these questions before embarking on a project to build a Yammer group is, in this writer’s opinion, a useful preliminary exercise which can protect an organization from committing resources (people, money) before a compelling case has been made for the project in the first place.

Ira Michael Blonder

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