Sharepoint project management

A large international organization currently switching to a Sharepoint platform using internal resources required help in managing the development of a learning document library. WPA was hired to manage the process and ensure that business requirements were understood by the developers. Also as part of the project, WPA is keeping track of all deliverables, QA and approvals.

The project has a very tight deadline, and WPA has been entrusted to ensure that the library is built on time and on budget. With our knowledge of Sharepoint development, and a thorough understanding of the organization’s needs, the library will meet the requirements, and improve users’ ability to find relevant learning material.

Harmonized Indicators WordPress site

The IFI Partnership Harmonized Indicators site was created as a means for publishing these indicators as well as serving as a entry point for partners to collaborate and share information with their stakeholders and between themselves. WPA built the site entirely in WordPress using additional plug-ins to enhance its functionality. See the site at http://indicators.ifipartnership.org

Let’s Work Partnership WordPress site

We are please to announce the launch of the letswork.org site which was built using WordPress.  The site serves as the main information platform for a partnership of leading international development organizations. Read more

Knowledge Sharing Events

Call them “BBLs”, “Meetings”, “Gatherings”, larger (and some smaller) corporations have been adopting these formats to encourage the exchange of knowledge among their staff.

Recently, some corporations who face the challenge that they often have a dispersed workforce, are finding creative ways to have employees meet on a regular basis, whether informally or in more structured venues. BBLs tend to be they thematically defined with a clear understanding of what needs to be shared. They can also be highly moderated. BBL often involve outside speakers. On the other hand, Knowledge Sharing Events is between staff and the discussion is focused, specific, and faced-space. You are asking “How are your colleagues doing things? It’s a chance to “catch-up” with follow staff.

Here some tips on setting up a knowledge sharing program at your organization:

  • Virtual format is good option to connect everyone, as it reduces the time/space constraints: Speakers and audience can be in different rooms.
  • Record the discussions and post videos and presentation materials to a staff collaboration Web site.
  • Publicize the event with emails and posters. Have an agenda and topics so that the discussion is focused.
  • Send invitations so people commit to coming to the event.
  • Meet not too often to become a annoyance, but regularly enough to keep the momentum going forward.

Poll your staff to see what topics they are interested to discuss in knowledge sharing events.

MS Office 365

Microsoft has a very interesting offering for small businesses called: Office 365. Basically, it’s MS Office for the Web. It integrates and complements the desktop version of the suite by using Web Apps. You get your basic set of business tools such email, web conferencing, documents, and calendars for a monthly fee. It’s a direct competitor to Google Apps.

I’ve seen earlier versions of that product, and I can say that it gives Google a run for its money. It’s a very good option for a small business

You can try it free for 30 days. It might be worth to check it out.

Adopting collaboration tools

Collaboration has always been a mainstay in corporations, especially ones that value knowledge sharing and have a distributed workforce. To be able to work on the same documents while not being in the same office generally improves productivity. I say “generally” because it often requires a corporate culture change. Email is usually serving as the means to share documents: People create their documents, save them on their hard drives and send them via email for comments. However, it gets pretty tricky to gather all the comments into one document using this method. Alternatively, in a virtual workplace users post documents online and allow others to leave comments or even make changes to the documents directly. The problem is often that people do not feel they own the document unless they have it in their possession (e.g. hard drive, USB disk, etc.). It takes a change of mentality to adopt collaboration tools, so do not underestimate the costs associated with training users when planning to roll out online document sharing systems.

Departmental autonomy

How much freedom should departments or units of a corporation have in developing their site? The answer is… It depends. Usually, a corporation with a strong brand will not have to worry about this problem. All sub-sites will actually want to be the same look and feel because it is to their advantage. The same cannot be said about organizations that have a culture of decentralization, where the various units are run almost independently from each other. However, it is possible to have a site that is very much homogeneous in look and feel, but the content is not so harmonious. This happens regardless of the strength of the brand. In a nutshell, my preference is to give departments room to explore how they can use the Web to communicate to their constituents, but keep them in line with a strong publishing methodology and guidelines.