Mobile IoT Authors: Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski, Yeshim Deniz, Carmen Gonzalez, Liz McMillan

RSS Feed Item

Community Lessons

At work our communities are taking off, but not without their hiccups.

I’m part of a team that is resurrecting a previous “build it and they will come” approach.

We have a great team, and our leaders are eager users of the community, which is an essential.

At the moment, we keep getting lots of new community requests, the viral approach is really happening. There has been no rollout, only word of mouth, actually the team has done no promotion at all, if anything we are still quiet as we are trying to write up all the How-To Guides.

This has been a small issue, as it’s time consuming helping out Facilitators of existing communities and creating new communties. It’s a bit of a catch22, because if they had the guides they would need less help from me.

So what’s happening, in the interim, is I’m emailing back and forth with so many communities, and having the exact same conversation.

As Community Coordinator, being a community inclined person, I decided to create a Facilitators Community.

Firstly in each community I created a forum called “CoP - Suggestions and Feedback”, this is for community members to discuss setting up, roles, maintaining, growth, etc…I am not subscribed to these forums.

These forums are a good start to get new communities using the very tools to build their communities, it just makes sense.

If a Facilitator does not have the know-how to answer a question raised in their forums, then they can raise it in the forums in the Facilitators community. My hope is that other Facilitators will have an answer before I do, so I plan to wait just a little before answering myself.

I forgot to mention, after I approve a new community request I set up a private forum between me and the new Facilitator in the Facilitator CoP. We have some dialogue before and after setting up their community, this makes sure that the Facilitator is familiar with the tools even before they have their own community. It’s also a way to have ongoing conversations of a more specific matter rather than using email. If the question is general, then it’s to be in the general forums as other Facilitators may learn and share their insight.
Prior to these private forums I was having back and forth email communication with about 10 community facilitators at a time. It was stressing me keeping track of the chain of all these various conversations. On top of that I was involved in conversations that the soon to be community members were having…it was like I was on 10 email lists and more.

I allievated this frustration by asking a soon to be Facilitator to not include me in their conversations, and rather represent their teams views in a private forum with me.

Now I have lots of private forums (one for each community), and the thread is all in one place for each. My next job is to go to the 30 or so existing communities and open a private forum for each.

Another benefit here is that once someone finds out what it means to be a Facilitator, they usually pass it on to one of their key team players, someone who has more time to run a community. I then add that person to the forum and they can see the discussion so far I’ve had with the previous Facilitator.

Not to mention, if I move on one day, my replacement will have an equivalent of what would be my email archive, but it will be super neat.

The Facilitators community is a place for Facilitators to come together, share and learn.

NOTE: This post is a bit pre-mature in a way, but I thought I’d dump my experience before it’s no longer fresh.

Today, in the Facilitators Community I set up a:

Community news blog (only I write to this)
- keep facilitators abreast with the latest releases and features

Community Tips (Group blog)
- everyone can share there know-how, experiences and success stories
- I plan to post tips like use a “subscribe to this blog” in your blog post signature, how to post by email (I’ll be like the Pro-Blogger blog)

Learning Communities (My Personal blog)
- these are more theory and methods type posts

I already have one Facilitator who has created his own blog, to blog about his experience in creating his community…I was impressed.

We also have forums where Facilitators can come together and ask questions to other Facilitators. We hope that this self organising technique will enable Facilitators to feed off each other, and discover a way to run their communities better. I guess it’s a type of learning university, where the students or practioners are teaching and learning off each other.

The key to the success of our communities is in the Facilitators and their key members, it’s my job to train up these guys to know just as much about communities as I do. They don’t need to go do a course, and they wouldn’t anyway as they are engineers, marketers, web designers, etc
The reason for this is they know their communities best, I can’t possibly oversee and make sure they are all thriving, I don’t have time to garden them all, etc…

So by training the trainer I hope that the expertise spreads, but I know this wouldn’t be enough. The Facilitators community is going to be the best way to learn, and the best way to share contexts and stories, each participant enrichens each others experience…a kind of self organising intelligence.

I just came across a perfect quote in Ken Thompson’s Bioteams blog that suits this scenario perfectly:

“1) Each role in a social network should be defined not in terms of its outputs or objectives but instead in terms of the transformations (and instantiations) it makes to the other roles in the system.”

“2) Collectively the role interactions should create a positive feedback loop in the sense that each role is fully defined in terms of its interactions with other roles.”

Some brief Lessons Learned


I’ve already mentioned this one
- don’t underestimate the viral approach
- make sure you can handle the demand otherwise you get bad user experiences (that’s the absolute last thing you want)
- so make sure you have learning guides


Don’t be seduced by the viral approach in another way
- people like the idea of communities, something new and social
- this can be very novel
- that’s why we have a request form
- we don’t want to scare them, but we want to stress it’s a living thing you will have (it can be like that dog you get for christmas and then neglect due to lack of interest, it’s health and wellbeing suffers)


People want a solution
- they are keen to try…that’s why we need to hook them in with design and training up Facilitators
- I tell them it’s like the document repository but with conversations
- now alot of the talent and know-how in your email that’s currently distributed can be retained in one spot
- cross community people can visit and share insights


So a new Facilitator doesn’t freak-out when 50 people start asking them how do you do this and that
- the idea is to get the Facilitator and a handful of key members to really get to know the tool, and what their role really is, so they are prepared for the onslaugh of member demands
- otherwise they will be asking me, which is not an empowering enough a model

Besides the design, the Facilitator and champions are the most key components for success


Don’t be fooled, this requires a full-time team for it to work
- and it’s not only about technical stuff and processes, it’s about teaching Facilitators to be community leaders, it’s about learning, there is a real element of humanistic studies


We encourage public communities as part of organisational communication bottlenecks is that you aren’t in the loop across business units
- if we don’t give some teams private spaces then they will use email (they may have stuff to discuss that is not for all eyes, and figure forums and blogs are easier than email in the long run)
- these teams can have an additonal public facing community that’s a communications and repository space more than anything…they can post the relevant stuff from the private community to their public blog, and also have a public forum for discussion


We have blogs, forums, mail archives and Q&A.
This is way too much, so in the new template I’m suggesting to go just with blogs and forums
- if people have to think to long about what the right tool is for their content, they will just use email…blog or forum is an easy choice


This is a big one.

Just off the top of my head…

Blogs can replace broadcast emails (news, announcements), but they can also be to share work in progress, status, ideas, reviews, etc…you can have blogs by region, topic, personal…blog can also be multi-authored
- people can leave comments, but a blog post doesn’t always have to be discussed, just as journal/new articles or diaries are not always discussed
- some people can become known as guru’s or subject matter experts, they become known for their blog

Forums are places for discussion, and it’s a group ownership
- a forum topic is not for musing or news like a blog post, it’s made for the intention to get back some discussion and answers
- think of a forums as pubs in a city, and forum topics/replies as groups of people in the pub

Next time, don’t use email lists:
- if you feel an email chain discussion coming on (use FORUMS)
- if you need to broadcast an announcement, or keep a log of your experience (use BLOGS)


At the moment each community has a folder for forums, documents, and blogs
But some people want to make rooms where they can have a combination of tools
- at the homepage level they have made a folder called “Task Rooms”
- in that folder can be a folder called “Task A”
- in this folder is a blog, forum and document folder
- sometimes they are making these rooms private so the homepage isn’t polluted with content that just 2 people are working on
- problem is a task room is a folder with objects in it, there isn’t a mini homepage
- we are envious of Google Sites that enables you to create dashboards from various community objects
- maybe wikis can help in the future


We have RSS for blogs, but it’s just summary feeds
I can’t see people using IE7, they want one dashboard, and that’s Outlook
- for starters they have to go to the actual sites to leave a reply
- lucky for us we can post content and replies via Outlook

To conclude…

My hope is that our communities become infectious…if a commuity member joins a team that still works using just email, I hope for that person to not put up with that as it’s going backwards and enlighten new people to social productivity.
I agree with Stewart Mader that the dynamics of an organisation will different to the web, where there will be more contributors, as you will have people telling others to re-purpose that email, as we don’t work like that anymore. This social influence and discipline will change the 90-9-1 participation ratio.

Read the original blog entry...

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
Dion Hinchcliffe is an internationally recognized digital expert, bestselling book author, frequent keynote speaker, analyst, futurist, and transformation expert based in Washington, DC. He is currently Chief Strategy Officer at the industry-leading digital strategy and online community solutions firm, 7Summits.
Digital Transformation is much more than a buzzword. The radical shift to digital mechanisms for almost every process is evident across all industries and verticals. This is often especially true in financial services, where the legacy environment is many times unable to keep up with the rapidly shifting demands of the consumer. The constant pressure to provide complete, omnichannel delivery of customer-facing solutions to meet both regulatory and customer demands is putting enormous pressure on...
IoT is rapidly becoming mainstream as more and more investments are made into the platforms and technology. As this movement continues to expand and gain momentum it creates a massive wall of noise that can be difficult to sift through. Unfortunately, this inevitably makes IoT less approachable for people to get started with and can hamper efforts to integrate this key technology into your own portfolio. There are so many connected products already in place today with many hundreds more on the h...
The standardization of container runtimes and images has sparked the creation of an almost overwhelming number of new open source projects that build on and otherwise work with these specifications. Of course, there's Kubernetes, which orchestrates and manages collections of containers. It was one of the first and best-known examples of projects that make containers truly useful for production use. However, more recently, the container ecosystem has truly exploded. A service mesh like Istio addr...
Digital Transformation: Preparing Cloud & IoT Security for the Age of Artificial Intelligence. As automation and artificial intelligence (AI) power solution development and delivery, many businesses need to build backend cloud capabilities. Well-poised organizations, marketing smart devices with AI and BlockChain capabilities prepare to refine compliance and regulatory capabilities in 2018. Volumes of health, financial, technical and privacy data, along with tightening compliance requirements by...
Charles Araujo is an industry analyst, internationally recognized authority on the Digital Enterprise and author of The Quantum Age of IT: Why Everything You Know About IT is About to Change. As Principal Analyst with Intellyx, he writes, speaks and advises organizations on how to navigate through this time of disruption. He is also the founder of The Institute for Digital Transformation and a sought after keynote speaker. He has been a regular contributor to both InformationWeek and CIO Insight...
Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life settlement products to hedge funds and investment banks. After, he co-founded a revenue cycle management company where he learned about Bitcoin and eventually Ethereal. Andrew's role at ConsenSys Enterprise is a mul...
To Really Work for Enterprises, MultiCloud Adoption Requires Far Better and Inclusive Cloud Monitoring and Cost Management … But How? Overwhelmingly, even as enterprises have adopted cloud computing and are expanding to multi-cloud computing, IT leaders remain concerned about how to monitor, manage and control costs across hybrid and multi-cloud deployments. It’s clear that traditional IT monitoring and management approaches, designed after all for on-premises data centers, are falling short in ...
In his general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, discussed how Dice leverages data insights and tools to help both tech professionals and recruiters better understand how skills relate to each other and which skills are in high demand using interactive visualizations and salary indicator tools to maximize earning potential. Manish Dixit is VP of Product and Engineering at Dice. As the leader of the Product, Engineering and Data Sciences team at D...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...