The internal project team’s success depends on several parameters: the number and motivation of the people involved, their diversity, the time they can dedicate to the project and the project’s recognition by their superiors in particular.
The teams we accompanied to implement a collaborative platform had the most ease when they consisted of minimum 2 persons and maximum 4-5 persons. Do not let the entire project rest on one person as the workload can be heavy in terms of expertise and time: It can become an issue if no replacement is possible. When project teams are large, it is important to make sure all stakeholders are aligned to move forward at the desired pace.
It is absolutely key that the team members are motivated by the project as they will become the spokespersons for the rest of the organization. The more heterogeneous the team is, the more their personal networks will allow them to reach people in the organization. They will instigate the needed cultural change for a massive adoption, leading to the platform success.
The project team diversity is essential to the success of the platform implementation. Indeed, participants’ areas of expertise and home departments encourage a multidisciplinary approach, leading to a better understanding of organizational needs and an implementation aligned with the corporate culture.
The department at the origin of the project immediately give an orientation to the project. Energy will not be deployed on the same issues. For example:
The most functional teams are the ones that manage to mix these different profiles (pair composed of a KM responsible with an official communication manager or even an IT manager with a communication manager or a market intelligence team with an IT manager, etc.)
The time to dedicate to the set up of a collaborative platform depends on several parameters such as the project scope, the size of the organization and the maturity of collaborative behaviors. It is possible to accelerate the development through strategic awareness, a management commitment, an in-depth needs analysis and detailed discussion around governance (which content in which space, which rule for whom, which taxonomy for the information, etc.)
Platform development with the project team usually takes between 3 to 6 months. Even if this team does not always have resources dedicated full-time, it is essential that the members’ roles and time allocation are recognized by the management in order to maximize the chances of success. A proven technique is to regularly dedicate a set time each week to the project.
If the needs are clear and the project is mature, we estimate 1-1.5 man-day per week investment for a project team of 2 people (a little less per person if the team consists of 3 or 4 persons) for the first 6 months for large projects. For projects with a narrower scope, 1 man-day for 3 months is enough. This includes the platform et up, its preparation and the important decisions that must be taken in consultation (strategy meeting, etc.) It can take much longer if the needs analysis has to be redone, if the scope needs to be redefined, if IT is opposed to the project, if the communication effort must be managed the team, etc.
Finally, the collaborative platform set up is often considered a project with a beginning, a middle and an end, whereas the tool’s maintenance and animation will remain a constant mission. Providing resources over time will be one of the determining factors of success on the long run.
Collaborative platforms are often sold as easily accessible, technologically affordable with a simple user interface. Project teams tend to underestimate the internal obstacles linked to the change of work habits and the creation of new practices lead by the change of tool. These activities are time consuming and require special energy. The success of the approach will depend on the acknowledgment of the project team by the rest of the organization, encouraged by the management facilitating their initiative.